Dealing with Resistance and Anger in Schools


Resistance in class can be very infuriating to the teacher. However, with proper handling, even the most notorious source of resistance can change to become an excellent student. This change requires the teacher to be creative in handling resistance. Otherwise, using old tactics because they have achieved desired results with other learners may cause more problems. At the same time, it is important to teach children methods of dealing with anger. Several methods such as labeling their emotions and understanding them can work very effectively.

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Descriptors and the Key Points

  1. Causes of resistance, methods of intervening and anger management in children
  2. Students are likely to exhibit resistance towards their teachers. They may also be unable to manage their anger correctly, leading to violent responses to their teachers, classmates, friends and family members. Teachers should come up with the best ways to intervene whenever the learners become resistant or unable to control their anger. They should teach them the best ways to handle these situations.

Summary of Article One

This article, “Oppositional students or oppositional teachers: Managing resistance”, was written by John Maag. The writer argues that teachers sometimes think that their students are resistant to them, yet they (teachers) are the ones being resistant. His conception of teachers’ resistance is evident in their inability to come up with new ways of dealing with resistance among their learners. He blames this situation on having confidence in solutions that have successfully worked for some of the students in the past. According to Maag (n.d.), some teachers believe that commonly used solutions will always apply to all learners in whichever situation. He advises teachers to free themselves from “tested” solutions and be ready to come up with new solutions depending on current conditions (Maag, n.d.). He proposes several methods of dealing with resistance. Among the methods are providing a worse alternative, manipulating the students, adopting new patterns of behavior, accepting the resistance and amplifying deviation (Maag, n.d.).

Summary of Article Two

Marian Marion’s article, “Guiding your children’s understanding and management of anger”, talks about the best ways for children to manage their anger. According to the author, anger has three components: the emotional state of anger, the expression of anger and understanding of anger (Marion, 1997). The writer argues that anger starts as an emotional manifestation of displeasure due the blockage of goals by some individuals (Marion, 1997). It then moves to a stage where it is expressed in different ways, violent or nonviolent (Marion, 1997). She observes that the third component of anger, understanding of anger, develops after the other two, since it depends on the ability to understand one’s emotions. This element develops later in the life of a human being (Marion, 1997). She proposes various factors as contributing to the understanding of anger. They include memory, self-referential and self-regulatory behaviors and language (Marion, 1997). Lastly, she puts forth some methods of controlling anger. They include creating a safe emotional climate, modeling responsible anger management, developing self-regulatory behaviors in children, encouraging them to label the feelings of anger, advising them to discuss anger-arousing activities and exposing them to appropriate books and stories (Marion, 1997).

Thoughts, Reactions and Criticism of the Article

I agree with Maag that many teachers prefer using methods that have been handed down to them by their predecessors in dealing with resistance in their classrooms. Teachers are supposed to be creative in their attempts to solve problems in their classes. They should always be dealing with every difficult situation basing on the variables at hand. This knowledge is going to have an enormous impact on my decision-making in class and my general undertakings as an educator. Though I do not believe that all the commonly known methods of dealing with resistance are wrong, they should not be used blindly. Henceforth, I will be analyzing the suitability of any of these old methods before using it in my class.

Otherwise, I will always be striving to come up with my solutions, whose credibility will be judged according to the situations at hand as opposed to what other people have done with them in the past. This argument is very similar to the opinion I have always had about the inheritance of solutions in solving school problems. Despite not having done anything about it, I always believe that since times and the problems that students and teachers experience change, the methods of handling such problems should also change. In my school, the teachers always report all cases of resistance to the principal. I believe I should talk to them about the need to come up with their ways of handling such cases without necessarily involving the principal.

Marion encourages parents and teachers to teach their children or learners how to manage their anger. I agree with her that anger is manageable, and teaching children how to manage it prevents a lot of trouble from occurring. I also believe that teaching my learners anger management tactics can reduce the number of violent incidences that are likely to happen in my class. Once each of the learners can manage his/her anger, there will be very few cases of fighting, name-calling, cursing and the use of insults against each other. It has always been my belief that though no one can avoid getting angry at some point, expressing anger violently is worthless. Reading this article has given impetus to my belief, and I am sure it will help me grow professionally by making me a better class controller. It will radically reduce the number of incidents in my class.


Maag, J. (n.d.). Oppositional students or oppositional teachers: Managing resistance. Beyond Behavior, 7-11.

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Marion, M. (1997). Guiding your children’s understanding and management of anger. Research in Review, 52(7): 65-69.

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