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Classroom Discipline: Button Pushing

Push once © by James Cridland

Classroom discipline can be easier if teacher teach students about button pushing which produces unproductive conflict. What do we mean by button pushing? Godwin gives us insight into button pushing that happens in the classroom. You have probably seen it many times, it's when someone finds what irritates a person,  and then, purposely irritates that person. Buttons are places where individuals feel insecure, weak, or easily threatened.

Work is not accomplished, conflict escalates, people feel threatened - that is all from button pushing. Button pushing can happen face to face, or virtually. When bringing others together in a classroom, teachers must be aware of button pushing. They must recognize it and know how to help students recognize button pushing.

How do you recognize that buttons are being pushed? When you hear the phrases:

  • That is one of my pet peeves.
  • He's on my last nerve.
  • That really gets to me.
  • She has issues.
  • She wears her heart on her sleeve.
  • He really took offense at that.
  • I think I touched a nerve.
  • I've been stabbed in the back.
  • He just bit my head off.
How do you have classroom discipline without button pushing? Help students understand buttons are being pushed and how to react. Help students understand that most of us either fight or run when buttons are pushed. But, we have a third choice - to work through the conflict. There will be conflict and buttons will be pushed in any type of classroom setting. When teachers teach students how to positively deal with conflict by recognizing buttons, then classroom discipline will be easier and more effective.

Do you need help with classroom discipline? Check out our blog for other great classroom management tips!

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