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Anger Intervention. A Guide to Managing Anger in the Classroom. Charles D. York, MS ISS-Autism Consultant DoDDS-Europe. Anger Facts. Follows a predictable pattern of levels levels have observable characteristics Opportunities for intervention are present at every level

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anger intervention

Anger Intervention

A Guide to Managing Anger in the Classroom

Charles D. York, MS

ISS-Autism Consultant

DoDDS-Europe

anger facts
Anger Facts
  • Follows a predictable pattern of levels
  • levels have observable characteristics
  • Opportunities for intervention are present at every level
  • May be about something other than the situation at hand (lack of sleep, peer relationship problems, fight with parents, etc.)
the anger cycle levels overview
The Anger Cycle:Levels Overview

5. Outburst

4. Challenge

3. Refusal

2. Back Talk

7. In Control

1. Questions

6. Quiet Period

the anger cycle level 1 questions
The Anger Cycle:Level 1: Questions

5. Outburst

4. Challenge

3. Refusal

2. Back Talk

1. Questions

7. In Control

6. Quiet Period

the anger cycle level 1 questions1
The Anger Cycle:Level 1: Questions
  • Description
    • May be legitimate questions about an activity, missed information, etc.
      • “What are we suppose to be doing now?”
      • “Why do I have to go?”
      • “How does learning this stuff help me?”
    • May be an attempt to question your authority
      • “Why do I have to listen to you?”
      • “Who died and made you boss?”
the anger cycle level 1 questions2
The Anger Cycle:Level 1: Questions
  • The easiest way to prevent escalation from this point is simply to answer the question
  • Assume that questions are real. Do not assume the student is trying to “start something” or be manipulative by asking questions
  • Use “Reflective Listening” to maintain clear communication
the anger cycle level 1 questions3
The Anger Cycle:Level 1: Questions
  • Reflective listening
    • Let the student do the talking
    • Focus on what the student is saying
    • Focus on the student’s emotions (look at body language, sound of voice, etc.)
    • Restate what the student is saying to you to show you understand
    • Keep your answers short and clear
the anger cycle level 1 questions4
The Anger Cycle:Level 1: Questions
  • An Example: The Wrong Way

Billy: “Why do I have to go to the gym?”

Staff: “Billy, get in line.”

Billy: “But why? Why can’t I stay here?”

Staff: “Billy, I’m not putting up with this today. Get in line.”

Billy: “You’re not the boss of me!”

Situation escalates to “Back Talk”

the anger cycle level 1 questions5
The Anger Cycle:Level 1: Questions
  • An Example: The Right Way

Billy: “Why do I have to go to the gym?”

Staff: “Because the class is going to the gym. Is there a reason why you do not want to go?”

Billy: “I have a headache and the gym is really loud.”

Staff: “You have a headache. I can understand why you don’t want to go. I will ask Ms Johnson if you can stay in her room. Is that ok?”

Situation resolved

the anger cycle level 2 back talk
The Anger Cycle:Level 2: Back Talk

5. Outburst

4. Challenge

3. Refusal

2. Back Talk

1. Questions

7. In Control

6. Quiet Period

the anger cycle level 2 back talk1
The Anger Cycle:Level 2: Back Talk
  • Description
    • Student is showing his anger and trying to incite you to be angry
      • “You’re always telling me what to do! Why don’t you do it?”
      • “You don’t know this stuff either. How can you teach me?”
      • “You’re not a real teacher.”
      • “This is all just stupid.”
the anger cycle level 2 back talk2
The Anger Cycle:Level 2: Back Talk
  • Stay calm and in control
  • Be aware of your facial expressions, your posture, and how your voice sounds
    • Keep a distance of at least 3 feet between you and the student
    • Speak slowly and be friendly
    • Do not cross your arms or make yourself look “closed”
  • Redirect the student to the topic of the discussion
the anger cycle level 2 back talk3
The Anger Cycle:Level 2: Back Talk
  • An Example: The Wrong Way

Billy: “You’re not the boss of me!”

Staff: (moves in close, arms crossed, looking mean) “That’s enough! Get in line right now or you get detention.”

Billy: (Crosses his arms and throws himself in his desk seat) “No. I’m not going”

Situation escalates to “Refusal”

the anger cycle level 2 back talk4
The Anger Cycle:Level 2: Back Talk
  • An Example: The Right Way

Billy: “You’re not the boss of me!”

Staff: (Steps away from Billy and lowers arms to the side. Takes a breath, thinks about body language, and uses a calm voice) “I can see you’re upset, but we’re talking about the gym. Can you tell me why you don’t want to go?”

Situation resolved

the anger cycle level 3 refusal
The Anger CycleLevel 3: Refusal

5. Outburst

4. Challenge

3. Refusal

2. Back Talk

1. Questions

7. In Control

6. Quiet Period

slide16
Description
    • The student is challenging your control of the situation by refusing to comply with a direction
      • “I’m not going.”
      • “I’m not going to do that.”
      • Crossing arms, turning head, ignoring you
      • “Do it yourself.”
the anger cycle level 3 refusal1
The Anger CycleLevel 3: Refusal
  • Stay calm, cool and collected. Your behavior impacts the situation. If you are responding to the student’s anger, the student will become more angry
  • Give the student two clear choices that are reasonable and appropriate. Explain the consequences for each of the choices
the anger cycle level 3 refusal2
The Anger CycleLevel 3: Refusal
  • An Example: The Wrong Way

Billy: “No. I’m not going.”

Staff: (Shaking finger in Billy’s face) “You better get out of that chair or you’re going to the principal’s office and I’m calling your parents.”

Billy: (Staring staff in the eye)“Make me.”

Situation escalates to “Challenge”

the anger cycle level 3 refusal3
The Anger CycleLevel 3: Refusal
  • An Example: The Right Way

Billy: “No, I’m not going!”

Staff: “Billy, you have a choice. You can come with us to the gym, or you can wait for us in Ms Johnson’s room. But if you go to

Ms Johnson’s room, then you need to finish your homework.”

Situation resolved

the anger cycle level 4 challenge
The Anger CycleLevel 4: Challenge

5. Outburst

4. Challenge

3. Refusal

2. Back Talk

1. Questions

7. In Control

6. Quiet Period

the anger cycle level 4 challenge1
The Anger CycleLevel 4: Challenge
  • Description
    • The student is attempting to directly challenge your authority
      • “You can’t make me do it!”
      • “I don’t have to do that!”
      • “Pick on somebody else!”
the anger cycle level 4 challenge2
The Anger CycleLevel 4: Challenge
  • Try to remove either the student or the audience. The student may escalate faster if the other students are watching
  • Seek help if you think this will escalate further
  • Check your own behavior and make sure you are in control
  • Increase distance between the student and yourself
  • Restate choices
the anger cycle level 4 challenge3
The Anger CycleLevel 4: Challenge
  • An Example: The Wrong Way

Billy: “Make me.”

Staff: (Grabs Billy’s arm and attempts to pull him from the chair) “That’s it buddy, you’re outta here! And you won’t be coming back to my class!”

Billy: (Becomes irate and starts shouting profanity)

Situation escalates to “Outburst”

the anger cycle level 4 challenge4
The Anger CycleLevel 4: Challenge
  • An Example: The Right Way

Billy: “Make me.”

Staff: (To class) “Class, line up in the hall. I will be right there. (To Billy) “I need you to choose. Will you come to the gym, or will you go to Ms Johnson’s room.”

Billy: “Fine! I will go to Ms Johnson’s room.”

Situation resolved

the anger cycle level 5 outburst
The Anger CycleLevel 5: Outburst

5. Outburst

4. Challenge

3. Refusal

2. Back Talk

1. Questions

7. In Control

6. Quiet Period

the anger cycle level 5 outburst1
The Anger CycleLevel 5: Outburst
  • Description
    • The student is no longer able to maintain control. May take two forms: Verbal or physical
      • Verbal Outburst- Student screams, yells, shouts profanity, cries, etc.
      • Physical Outburst- Student attacks, kicks, throws, breaks, runs, etc.
the anger cycle level 5 outburst2
The Anger CycleLevel 5: Outburst
  • If the outburst is verbal:
    • Keep a space between the student and yourself
    • Allow the student to vent
    • Do not attempt communication at this point
    • Wait for the episode to progress naturally to the next level; the “Quiet Period”
the anger cycle level 5 outburst3
The Anger CycleLevel 5: Outburst
  • If the outburst is physical:
    • Remove the other students from the room
    • Exit the room yourself, and attempt to maintain visual contact with the student
    • If your school has a Crisis Response Team (CRT), call the team and implement Non-Violent Physical Crisis Intervention
    • If your school does not have a CRT, maintain observation and wait for the student to move into the next level; the “Quiet Period.”
the anger cycle level 5 outburst4
The Anger CycleLevel 5: Outburst
  • An Example: The Wrong Way

Billy: (Becomes irate and starts shouting profanity. Grabs a book off his desk and throws it across the room)

Staff: (Grabs Billy’s arm and attempts to subdue him. Staff and student fall over the desk and into the student seated at the next desk)

Situation is chaos and risks injury to students and staff

the anger cycle level 4 challenge5
The Anger CycleLevel 4: Challenge

NEVER attempt a physical intervention unless you have been trained and approved by DoDDS in NonViolent Crisis Intervention (NVCI)

the anger cycle level 5 outburst5
The Anger CycleLevel 5: Outburst
  • An Example: The Right Way

Billy: (Becomes irate and starts shouting profanity. Grabs a book off his desk and throws it across the room)

Staff: (Students are already in the hall, staff member moves far away from Billy and exits the room. Holding the door open, staff observes. Sends one student to the classroom next door to get the teacher, another student to the office)

Environment made as safe as possible

the anger cycle level 6 quiet period
The Anger CycleLevel 6: Quiet Period

5. Outburst

4. Challenge

3. Refusal

2. Back Talk

1. Questions

7. In Control

6. Quiet Period

the anger cycle level 6 quiet period1
The Anger CycleLevel 6: Quiet Period
  • Description
    • After every outburst, the student will reach a “quiet period” in which their emotional status is below their average state
    • Usually represented by being quiet, lack of energy, sometimes crying, moving to a protected area, etc.
the anger cycle level 6 quiet period2
The Anger CycleLevel 6: Quiet Period
  • Give the student space and time to calm down
  • Quietly offer support
the anger cycle level 6 quiet period3
The Anger CycleLevel 6: Quiet Period
  • An Example: The Wrong Way

The struggle has ended. Billy is exhausted and breathing hard. He is sitting against a wall in the back of the room.

Staff: (Shouting) “Are you happy now? See what you’ve done?” If anything is broken, you’re paying for it!”

Emotions remain high, relationships are damaged

the anger cycle level 6 quiet period4
The Anger CycleLevel 6: Quiet Period
  • An Example: The Right Way

The room is trashed. Billy has quit throwing things and is standing in the middle of the room. Staff enters, but keeps a large distance between them.

Staff: “I can see you’re upset. Why don’t you have a seat and cool off. I’m going to sit at my desk and grade some papers.”

Student has the space and time needed to calm down

the anger cycle level 7 in control
The Anger CycleLevel 7: In Control

5. Outburst

4. Challenge

3. Refusal

2. Back Talk

7. In Control

1. Questions

6. Quiet Period

the anger cycle level 7 in control1
The Anger CycleLevel 7: In Control
  • Description
    • The outburst is over, and the student has regained control
    • Still a sensitive time, and care should be given not to re-escalate the situation
the anger cycle level 7 in control2
The Anger CycleLevel 7: In Control
  • Invite the student to rejoin the class
  • Ask the student to clean up any messes or damage caused
  • Ask the student which of the choices they have selected
the anger cycle level 7 in control3
The Anger CycleLevel 7: In Control
  • An Example: The Wrong Way

(The principal has entered the room. Students are still quiet from the shock)

Staff: (To principal)“Mr. Smith, look what he’s done this time. He could have hurt the other students! I want him suspended.” (To Billy) “You better get up here and start cleaning up this mess!”

Staff creates a hostile environment. Billy remains angry and non-compliant. Relationships are damaged. No resolution occurs.

the anger cycle level 7 in control4
The Anger CycleLevel 7: In Control
  • An Example: The Right Way

Staff: “You seem pretty calm now. Let me give you a hand and we will clean up this mess. You were really upset. When you’re ready, I’d like to talk about what happened.”

Student repairs damage, an opportunity for discussion is opened, and the student is made aware that the behavior has not impacted his relationship with staff.

review
Review
  • Anger follows a predictable and observable pattern
  • There are appropriate interventions for each level of the anger cycle
  • You are an active participant in the cycle, and can escalate or de-escalate the behavior with your actions
review1
Review
  • When a student reaches the outburst level, they are no longer in control of their actions
  • The key point during an outburst is to create the safest environment possible to prevent injury
  • NEVER attempt a physical intervention unless you have received training from DoDDS in NVCI
the end
Chuck York

ISS-Autism Consultant

DoDDS-Europe

DSN: 338-7759

Comm: 0611-380-7759

E-mail: chuck.york@eu.dodea.edu

The End