Managing Classroom Conflicts – 5 Tips For Teachers

how to deal with classroom conflicts

Conflicts occur everywhere, especially in classrooms. You’ll witness daily conflict if you’re a teacher in charge of a class full of little kids. Every teacher has had their share of it.

Since there’s no way to run away from conflict or avoid ir, teachers must learn how to manage these classroom situations. Managing conflicts involves a robust use of conflict management techniques. By applying these techniques, the negative part of any interaction will be removed and civil discourse restored.

There’s no one-size-fits-all technique when it comes to conflict resolution. Rather, each type of conflict requires its own technique. For classroom conflicts, teachers need to start early to impress upon their students the need for peace and the importance of teamwork, which is a crucial aspect of teaching jobs and careers.

Teachers should understand however, that students are individuals with their own experiences, biases, and beliefs that will influence how they assimilate information and react to you.

Suppose students are taught about the benefits of civil discourse and cordial relationships early. In that case, there’s a chance that conflicts will be minimised from the outset. Even after all efforts have been made to mitigate conflict from the beginning, conflicts will still occur as they cannot be avoided completely.

However, if a conflict is not properly dealt with, it will negatively impact the student’s learning. Therefore teachers should apply the conflict resolution techniques below to best manage conflicts in their classrooms.

Managing Small Conflicts

Many things can start a conflict in a class, from one student taking another’s book without requesting it to another breaking someone’s pen.

In this kind of situation, the SOAR technique should be applied. SOAR is an acronym for Stop, Observe, Assess and React. Many teachers find this technique very useful in handling conflicts in their classrooms as it’s straightforward.

To best apply SOAR, the teacher should anticipate conflict and be ready to act in response. When Reacting, it’s best to do away with your biases, focus on the issue, not the person and maintain civility.

Also, do not dismiss their emotions. In fact, a great step in handling classroom conflict is acknowledging the conflicting party’s emotions, “I understand that you’re offended”, and using the situation as a learning opportunity for your students is a great way to handle it.

Techniques For Handling Larger Conflicts

Classroom interactions are often civil, and everyone benefits from civil discourse. Still, sometimes the interactions are not so polite, and fights might start.

In this situation, a teacher might be at a loss to maintain order in the classroom. Still, they could better manage the conflict by simply applying these conflict resolution techniques below.

Remain Calm

The first action for any teacher in a situation involving larger conflict is not to panic and to calm the students down. The teacher can instruct them to take deep breaths or recite the alphabet in reverse order.

Listen and Assess

Allow the conflicting parties to air the issues without interrupting. Actively listen to everyone’s story before reaching any conclusion or responding.

Assign responsibility

When the teacher has understood what caused the altercation, they should teach the students the need for accountability by holding the conflicting students accountable for their part in ruining the harmony of the classroom. This ensures that the students understand that such disruptive action is wrong and unacceptable.

Provide Solutions

This can be in the form of a discussion among the conflicting parties, the teacher, and the rest of the class. This could lead to a solution that benefits everyone.


To forestall the conflict from reigniting, the teacher should make the conflicting parties apologize and forgive one another. Here, a handshake or embrace might be suggested if both parties are up to it.

Additional Techniques

Conflict resolution aims to create an environment where everyone can enjoy the benefits of civil discourse and work together to achieve great results. Apart from the techniques discussed above, there are a few ways to maintain togetherness and friendliness among students.

Students should use affirmation phrases like ‘I understand how you feel, which can be used during disagreements to lessen misunderstanding and conflicts.

Regular reading sessions that revolve around empathy, peace, conflict resolution, and friendliness should be adopted. Also, students can be told to express their feelings in the form of drawings or writings. This will help them release pent-up emotions and provide the teacher with a better understanding of how the students feel.

Final thoughts

As stated earlier, there is no one technique to resolve all kinds of conflicts because conflicts are varied in nature. However, classroom conflicts can be handled with the above conflict resolution techniques, which have proven instrumental in conflict management.

Suppose a teacher identifies a conflict situation, acknowledges their students’ feelings, and responds appropriately. In that case, the conflict can be prevented from growing larger. Teachers shouldn’t view conflicts in the classroom as a challenge to their authority; instead, they should see it as a chance to educate their students about the benefits of civil discourse, friendliness, harmony, and the result of working as a team.

MORE – How to Best Resolve Family Feuds: 5 Tips To Keep The Peace

MORE – Top Tips To Balance Work, School, and Parenting 


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    Reply newbie Tuesday 27th November, 2012 at 10:03 pm


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