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Managing Defiant Students: What to Do When a Kid Says NO

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Show Notes:

Before we were educators, we dreamt about our students and how they would love and be engaged in all of the lessons and activities we created. But in reality, it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes, we have those students who are defiant and refuse to participate. Whether you’re a novice teacher, or frankly even a veteran teacher, a student’s refusal can stop you in your tracks. 

So what are you supposed to do when you have defiant students? This topic of how to manage defiant students has been asked a lot in the Classroom Management Club. I’ve never explicitly talked about this before on the podcast, so I wanted to take some time today to share with you steps you can take to help manage those students. 

While I provide and discuss my own experiences with managing defiant students, I also share some of the most foundational research on managing defiant behaviors throughout this episode. I particularly discuss work from Dr. Ross W. Greene, specifically his process for managing defiant students and their behaviors. What I love most about his approach is his desire to solve problems collaboratively with students, the importance of being proactive, and how effective developing skills are when managing behavior.

Instead of just talking about defiant behaviors, I’m actually giving you a step-by-step process you can implement when a student says “no” and refuses to do work or participate. This approach allows you to understand a student’s feelings and reasoning while still holding them accountable for their actions. I also share two components for preventing these defiant behaviors from even happening in your classroom. If you need help managing defiant students, take a listen to learn a new and effective approach!

Inside this week's show, you'll learn:

  • How to manage defiant students and what exactly you should do when a student says “no”
  • References of foundational research on managing defiant behaviors, specifically Dr. Ross W. Greene
  • A step-by-step process on what to do when a student refuses work and how to effectively react
  • How to have a conversation with defiant students and the most important question to ask them
  • The two components that are key in preventing defiant behaviors and how to implement them in your classroom

Links & resources mentioned inside this episode:

I hope this information is helpful as you prepare for your first, second, or third year of teaching. Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.

πŸ’› Lori

Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor

Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at and at

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