Sometimes, it helps to have an idea of how to respond to student behavior in a way that encourages students to own their actions, does not create a power struggle, and is consistent and effective.

Relationship Skills and Our Role as Teachers and ParentsWhen using these scripts, issue each statement in a calm tone of voice, with normal voice volume. Be careful not to get into the student’s space; rather, convey non-threatening yet self-assured body language.

Here are some suggested student behavior scripts for you to try. I can’t guarantee that they will work for all students, though they have worked well for me. Use your professional judgment when using them and remember that every student and situation is different.

For student behavior that is disruptive or argumentative:

“Eric, that’s disrupting. Yelling out ‘A bunch of idiots are sitting on the porch!’ could be offensive to some. Is there another way you can say that same thing in a way that may not be seen as offensive?”

“Eric, that’s arguing. What do you need to do if you think someone is ‘getting into it with you’? You need to make a good choice here.”

“Eric, that’s arguing. You need to immediately stop in [five to ten seconds] or you will be … [state consequence].”

For students who are refusing to work or participate appropriately:

“Eric, that’s refusal. Might ____________ be a better choice?”

If Eric responds positively, ‘notice’ the positive choice (reinforce).

If the behavior continues…

“Eric, that’s continued refusal. What is it you were asked to do? Please make a good choice for yourself so the **adults** don’t have to make it for you.”

If Eric responds positively, ‘notice’ the positive choice (reinforce).

If the behavior continues…

“Eric, that’s continued refusal. You need to do what you were asked to do, or… [state the consequence].”

You can find more scripts that address tardiness to class, difficulty setting down, bullying, and verbal attacks against a teacher, in Paraprofessionals and Teachers Working Together.

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