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Classroom Management


Framing—A Strategy for Responding to Challenging Behaviour

According to classroom management experts Richard Curwin and Allen Mendler, framing (or reframing) is a way to respond to challenging behaviour based on the assumption that the motivation for a particular behaviour is positive, but expressed in a negative way.

Framing is the best strategy for responding to any difficult situation. It de-escalates rather than escalates conflict.

Steps in Framing
  1. Assume that no matter how bad the behaviour, the student is not motivated by negative forces.
  2. The response identifies the problem behaviour.
  3. [Framing] often involves a question.
  4. [Framing] invites rather than commands a response.
How to Frame Responses
  • Ask questions.
  • Be calm.
  • Give the student space.
  • Avoid becoming personal; focus on the behaviour.
  • Use nonconfrontational tone of voice and language.
Diffusing Statements

Use diffusing statements to de-escalate power struggles.

  • I think I understand what you are saying. Let me rephrase it. Am I right? Is this what you mean?
  • You are right—I know I cannot make you say you are sorry; however, we do need you to apologize because in this school we believe that it is important to respect other’s property.
  • Do you think this way all the time? If so, can we talk about it after class?
  • You are dealing with something I do not know about or understand; I worry that this will hold you back. Is there anything I can do to help you? Please come and see me after class.
  • I would appreciate it if you could sit down now.
Collaborative Problem Solving

Five-step process:

  1. Seek to understand—“What’s up?”
  2. Clearly define the problem—“I noticed that you were having difficulty _____________.”
  3. Ask the student, “What can we do to solve this problem?”
  4. Determine a course of action.
  5. Determine future consequences.
Strategies for Addressing Challenging Behaviours
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