Teacher-Student Conflict Resolution

Method III in the Classroom

Situation: Brad, a boy in a second grade class, has been disrupting the class for some time by refusing to remain at his seat or in a reading group. Miss Stein, the teacher, has sent several strong I-Messages concerning her need to be able to teach the class without interrupting herself to deal with Brad, but to no avail. Finally, she decides that a conflict of needs exists and resolves to try Method III.

The class is busy and Miss Stein has time to talk to Brad who is looking out the window.

Miss Stein: Brad, I think we have a problem that I’d like to solve. I’m really tired of yelling at you to stay in your seat or come to the story group. Sometimes you’ve even left the story group and I’ve had to go get you and leave all the other children just sitting there.

Brad: I don’t like reading.

Miss Stein: I see. You just hate to read.

Brad: Uh huh.

Miss Stein: I think I understand, but I still hate to keep yelling at you and chasing you around to get you to sit in your seat.

Brad: I don’t want to sit in my seat today. All I do is just sit in my seat all morning.

Miss Stein:
You really get tired of that.

Brad: Yes. I like to walk around and stand over here.

Miss Stein: You would rather move around and be near the window than sit in your seat.

Brad: Yes. I don’t like to sit over there. It’s too crowded.

Miss Stein: If I understand, Brad, the thing you don’t like about your seat is that it is too crowded there.

Brad: Uh-huh. I can’t get out.

Miss Stein: You feel hemmed in.

Brad: Huh?

Miss Stein: You feel like you can’t get away.

Brad: Yes, I can’t get away. When I’m in my seat I can’t get away when it’s time to leave.

Miss Stein: When everyone goes out you have to stay behind.

Brad: When it’s time to go home, I’m always last.

Miss Stein: You hate to be the last one in the line all the time.

Brad: Yes.

Miss Stein: You would like to be the first one in the line sometimes.

Brad: When I stand over here and it’s time I can be in front.

Miss Stein: I see. (pause) I have an idea, Brad. Do you think you would mind sitting in your seat if we move your chair over by this window?

Brad: Right here (pointing to where he is standing).

Miss Stein: Yes. Right here. Then you could be the first one in the line sometimes instead of always being the last one.

Brad: Okay. And I’ll sit here and do my work.

Miss Stein: And you will stay in the story group too because you know you will have your chair here by the window?

Brad: [silence]

Miss Stein: You don’t seem to like that idea, staying in the reading group.

Brad: No. When I’m in the story group it’s too crowded too.

Miss Stein: You’re afraid that when the class is over, if you’re in the story group, you’ll be left behind again.

Brad: Yes. It’s way up there (pointing to the front of the room where the story groups meet). I can’t get out.

Miss Stein: It’s too far from where you line up.

Brad: To go out.

Miss Stein: You would like to be closer to the door.

Brad: (smiling) Yes, and if we have a fire drill I can be by the door.

Miss Stein: I see, you would like to be by the door in case we have a fire drill or a real fire. That’s what would make you feel good.

Brad: Yes.

Miss Stein: Well, I have been thinking of moving the story groups to that table in the back of the room by the door. If I did that do you think you would be able to stay in the group?

Brad: Yes, I’ll stay in the group.

Miss Stein: Well, it looks like we have solved our problems, Brad. We’ll move your seat over here right now and tomorrow we will have our reading groups in the back of the room at that table. Then you will be able to stay in your seat instead of wandering around the room and you’ll stay in the story group.

Brad: Okay.