Three Key Steps in Managing Playground Fights

How to Manage Playground Fights

How do you stop playground fights?

The truth of the matter is that sometimes you can't. Playground fights can still happen within metres of a teacher.  Even when you try to be proactive when on duty playgrounds fights occur.

Doing duty is like a cop on the highway. If you are highly visible am constantly roaming, you will preempt a lot of playground dramas from even starting.

If you do playground duty like a shag on a rock, you might find playground duty tough.

However, sooner or later you might be called upon to break up playground fights that happen on your watch.

Although teacher training courses might prepare teachers in the content know-how and delivery, few courses put much energy into giving new teachers expertise in managing student behaviour. You may not be prepared for the drama of playground fights.

Crisis Management in the Playground

Certainly, Managing Student Behaviour, in what is already a high-stress profession, remains the most significant stressors for teachers.

Playground Fights Crisis Management

Let me just set the record straight. Playground Fights count as a Crisis.

Consequently, you need a Crisis Management Plan.

Playground fights are not easy because you are dealing with students who are not always rational.

A Crisis Management Plan makes sure YOU are rational and prepared when you encounter playground fights.

Take the CRISIS MANAGEMENT QUIZ to see how prepared you are?

Playground Fights - STEP ONE - DISTRACT

Firstly,when encountering playground fights, DISTRACT students from hurting or hitting - what ever is occurring.

This might be a whistle or calling out. (Water on the fighting dogs!).

The aim is to get the offenders to focus on you, not each other. ("I'm here gentlemen/ladies. Look at me!" - repeat this calmly.).

If you can use humour, now is a good time to apply it. If not - DON'T.

When it comes to playground fights, never get in the middle, no matter how big you are. You might find yourself dropped by a wayward kick from a student and then you will be in REAL trouble.

Would you Like Solutions to Your Classroom Problems?

Playground Fights - STEP TWO - DIFFUSE

Secondly, DIFFUSE the anger by NOT being angry yourself. (Riots develop when both sides are angry.)

Avoid shouting or panicking.

Be calm - at least sound calm.

Keep your directions short and clear. Never give more than ONE direction at a time.

"Bill, thanks for standing over there."

"John, thanks for putting your hands down."

Repeat if necessary but do not change the directions.

"OK. Let's sit down and face opposite directions."

Having students sit on the ground really has a calming effect. (Watch what NYPD do).

After all is calm, handcuff them to the nearest pole (joking).

Experts say you should never hit a kid in anger.

Well, when is a good time?

Roseanne Barr

Playground Fights - STEP THREE - DISPERSE

Thirdly, DISPERSE.

You only need the offenders.

Chase the watchers away. (Move on citizens. Nothing to see here)

When dealing with playground fights you need to concentrate on those involved, Move those who are not involved to get them out of your area.

The last thing you need is a group of bystanders interfering with your actions.

Playground fights - And then ...

cartoon playground fights

The next step depends on your level of authority. If you are comfortable dealing with the offenders at this point, then do it.

However, you are probably left with angry kids. You also need the skills to manage students while angry.​ CLICK HERE for support in managing angry students.

I suggest, if you are a relief teacher you probably need to pass the offenders over to some one in authority.

Behaviour Management, unfortunately is critical to a teacher's role.

Some days you might think behaviour management is all that you do.

One day, maybe not in the too distant future, you may encounter the FERAL CLASS.​ 

That will be time you think the teaching gods that you have this handy resources in your hands.

Crisis Management Feral Class
behaviour management strategies

Would you like more ideas on How to Manage Student Behaviour?