Something Old, Something New

This year a student has been placed in my class who has in the past exhibited violent behaviour towards her classmates as well as the adults in the room. In order to prepare me for dealing with her, my principal sent me on a workshop yesterday to learn a way in which to deal with the child if she has a violent episode. The CPI training focuses on nonviolent crisis intervention and has, at its core, the safety of all the people in the room.

As a teacher what you want is to prevent the child’s behaviour from escalating. We were reminded of signs that we, as people who work with children daily, already know. She showed us an interesting video to remind us of the importance of non-verbal cues:

The instructor mentioned some techniques that can be used to calm a child down: holding a hand, a stroking, or even giving a hug. I could not help but notice the irony of this as when I was first hired with the board, we were told not to touch the children under any circumstances. I do prefer the message given yesterday as it acknowledges the healing power of touch and how we, as humans, crave the touch of others.

In the afternoon, we were introduced to ways in which to deflect the violence aimed at our bodies. We were also given permission to move away and remove ourselves from the situation that could harm ourselves. We were shown holds to contain a child if necessary – holds that are to be used as a last resort. We practiced them for a while. I do feel, however, that I need to practice it some more. And I hope I never have to use them!

I found it interesting to speak to the other participants at the workshop who are all special education teachers. Their job is to deal with a group of children every day who may display violence. They are accepting of this part of the job and seem adept at dealing with it. I could not help but think as I was speaking to some of them that the CPI training is what an ordinary classroom teacher like me needs as not all children who display violent tendencies have had their behaviour officially documented (especially in the younger grades).

Yesterday was an interesting day. I was reminded of things that I already new; and learned a few new things. Hopefully the CPI training will help me cope with a volatile child in my classroom.

What are your thoughts on non-verbal cues?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

14 thoughts on “Something Old, Something New

  1. Thanks for sharing this, just another example of how “teaching” goes so much further than books and study. Teachers are expected to deal with behavioral issues that should be addressed in the home, but since too many parents have shirked that responsibility, it falls to you…I hope that you are successful in focusing this student on study…good luck to you and thanks for sharing this valuable information.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a special education teacher and a lot of my students have aggressive behaviors (I’m actually out on worker’s comp due to an injury). We’re restraint trained, but in the MANDT method. Our students are lower functioning so it works better for us. Non-verbal cues are pretty much all I have to go off of (all my students are non-verbal) and it is SOOOOO important to know those cues and to recognize them. It’s amazing how much they can tell you!!


  3. Thanks for sharing and reminding us that teaching sometimes requires a teacher to step out of her comfort zone. I can imagine that you had an interesting day learning these techniques and refreshing your memory on some of them. Best wishes.


    1. It was interesting – but I am hoping that I never need to use them. My wish is to always de-escalate the behaviour before it turns violent and I hope to teach the students that when they are feeling angry or frustrated, to work at calming themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

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