Date
01 April 2020

Use de-escalating behaviour strategies

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Respond safely to challenging situations’

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Consider safety first

Consider safety first

Create space and time.
  • Remove the audience – ask other students to take their work and move away.
  • Give the student physical space.
  • Name the emotion in a calm even voice: “You look really angry”, “I can see that you are very frustrated”…
  • Wait.

Source: Guidelines for registered schools in New Zealand on the use of physical restraint (opens in a new tab/window)

Take a stepped approach

Take a stepped approach

If the student becomes more agitated, show patience and give them your guidance and direction to increase their sense of security.

Ensure your language is concise and short:

  • Calmly and clearly tell them what to do (avoid arguing with them).
  • Where possible and appropriate, give them a choice, then some time to respond.
  • If necessary, redirect them to another activity, move them to another de-escalation space, or remove them from the activity or room to calm down. Follow your school’s policies in such instances.

Think ahead checklist

Think ahead checklist

Take a “no surprises” approach and be prepared.
  • If escalation occurs, move further away.
  • Make sure you have an exit plan.
  • Constantly reassess the situation.
  • Send for help if necessary.

Source: Guidelines for registered schools in New Zealand on the use of physical restraint (opens in a new tab/window)

Reflective questions

Reflective questions

Adapt for your own context.
  • What de-escalating approaches do you regularly use?
  • What de-escalating spaces do you have available to you?

Useful resources

Useful resources

File

Guidelines for registered schools in New Zealand on the use of physical restraint

Read time: 28 min

Publisher: Ministry of Education | Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga

Download PDF

File

Responding to non-responders: Managing escalations

Publisher: OSEP Centre on Positive Behavioural Intervention & Support

Download PDF (692 KB)

Website

De-escalation spaces: Helping students manage emotions

Publisher: Edutopia

Visit website

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Respond safely to challenging situations”:

Return to the guide “Behaviour and learning”

Guide to Index of the guide: Behaviour and learning

Strategies for action:

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