Two Words to Defuse any Student, Anywhere, at any Time
TAGS: Brian MendlerTeacher Learning Center

Today I am focusing on two words guaranteed to defuse any kid, anywhere, at any time. The words are, “I’m sorry.” Don’t be afraid to say them to kids. Sometimes you have to say them over and over until the student is calm.

Teacher: I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry.  The second the student calms down look at the kid and say:

Teacher: Have you ever made a mistake in your life?

Student: Uh Yeah!

Teacher: And when you say you are sorry don’t you want people to forgive you?

Student: Yeah!

Teacher: Well I am just like you. Sometimes I make mistakes too. Sometimes I say things I don’t mean. Sometimes I am impulsive just like you. I need to do a better job talking to you. I know when I call you out in front of your friends you get angry and lash out. I am the same way sometimes. I need to do a much better job handling my emotions.   Right now, the best I can do is apologize for my mistake. Now that you know how I feel, is there anything you think you can do differently next time instead of calling me an @#%$&?

First, put yourself on the same team as the student by showing how similar you are. Once he believes you are on his team he will allow you to coach him. The next phase is to give him specific strategies to use when angry and then to practice those strategies.

If you want to defuse, say you’re sorry even if you don’t think you did anything wrong. For example substitute, “I’m sorry if I said or did something to get you so mad. Maybe you can tell me what I did so I won’t make the same mistake again.”

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