Different Kinds Of Teacher-Student Arguments And How Teachers Can Deal With Them By Robert Bacal

Not all arguments that occur in class between teacher and student are destructive. In fact, the right kinds of disagreement can be used by teachers to teach critical thinking skills, and help students understand that not everything can be explained in strict black and white, oversimplified ways.

On the other hand, when students argue, not about issues, but are trying to disrupt the class, there is a problem, because those are not often constructive learning experiences for anyone. Or, when class arguments become power struggles, particularly with defiant children, that's not often constructive either.

The First Kind: Students Expressing Disagreement, But In A Reasoned Way

There's a growing awareness that critical thinking, and communication skills are important for children to learn, and to do that, students need to "test" their thinking against other people. Provided the student is trying to establish a position on an issue, even when the teacher disagrees, that's a learning opportunity for everyone.

Teachers, though, need to avoid feeling personally attacked, or feel that their authority is being challenged when a student disagrees in this way. Think of it as a student flexing his or her intellect, regardless of age. Yes, the child may be wrong. But it isn't always necessary or wise to PROVE the child is wrong, particularly when it comes to expressing opinions.

The Second Kind: Student-Teacher Arguments That Disrupt

The second type of argument teachers encounter tend to disrupt the classroom, either because the student is arguing something that is only of interest to him or her (e.g. getting a grade increased, or making excuses for not doing homework - trying to get away with something), OR arguing simply to argue. The latter is quite common for teenagers who seem to relish the idea of exercising attempts at power, and flexing their wings a bit.

In these cases, the "arguments" need to be closed down, or at least, entertained out of the view of other students. Not only does this decrease disruption, but it also removes the "audience factor", kids showing off in front of their peers, which often fuels these kinds of arguments.

Handle These Different Types of Arguments

Teachers need to handle these arguments and disagreement differently, because they are quite different things, motivated by different student needs, some constructive some not.

Below you'll find some excellent articles, complete with advice and examples on how to respond appropriately to these different events.

Arguments can be opportunities for the entire class to learn, provided they are handled well, and without teacher ego entering into the equation.


Top : Students Who Argue With Teachers - Dealing With :

Argumentative students, regardless of age, can drive teachers crazy, and disrupt the class, particularly if teachers get drawn in, and handle it badly. Here's some ideas on how to deal with student arguments.

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