Flipping Power: Behavior in the Classroom

Activities & Lessons


Teacher Sustainability & School Policy



60 minutes.

Human Restoration Project CC-BY-SA

May 2023

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This activity aims to help teachers handle disruptive behavior by promoting positive relationships and creating a supportive learning environment using humane strategies.

video overview

overview & purpose

The purpose of this activity is to help teachers address behavioral concerns in a humane and effective manner, by exploring alternative strategies that prioritize positive relationships, shared power, and a supportive learning environment. By doing so, the goal is to promote better outcomes for both the students and the teacher.

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lesson / activity

As a teacher, negative student behavior in the classroom can be a challenging and complex task. At times, it may be tempting to rely on punitive measures to address disruptive behavior, such as detention or suspension. And we must recognize too that many of these “behaviors” are in response to punitive, dehumanizing systems to begin with. These can be combated.

By taking a humane approach, teachers can share power with their students, foster positive relationships, and create a supportive learning environment. In this activity, we will explore various student behavior issues and discuss humane strategies for addressing them.

The Situation How I may have responded in the past, or what our school expects: What the student may be going through: How can I change my practice?
A student has fallen asleep in your class while you are lecturing.
You pose a question to the class and no one seems to respond.
A student spent many weeks on an assignment, but failed.
It’s time to begin your lesson, but a student won’t stop talking about their awesome weekend.
A student needs to use the restroom during class.
A student forgot their class materials for the day.
You’ve planned a great project but one group doesn’t like the idea.
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