April 06, 2011
The best strategy I have found for students who always have to have the last word is the "broken record" technique. They want an argument, but if you just repeat the expectation instead of explaining, defending, etc. you will usually avoid the argument. Just calmly and quietly repeat the directive or expectation until it is followed. "Students who are in line and silent will be dismissed for lunch." If they talk back or make a comment, just wait for them to comply. If needed, repeat the directive. Sometimes, you need to let them have the last word, even though it is annoying to do so. As long as they comply, move on. These are often students who, when arguing with a classmate, need to have an adult say, "I can tell you guys don't agree about this. It's okay to disagree. Sometimes we need to just accept that we don't agree and move on." Then help them know what to do next.