The recent stabbing to death in Chennai of a teacher by a Class IX student raises serious issues on teacher-student relations. That matters can go to such extremes is alarming. It goes without saying that effective classroom management practices can be useful.

Clearly state the rules

Be consistent

Show students you care about each of them

Be flexible

Provide students with opportunities to make meaningful choices

Do not let rigid interpretation of rules skip common sense

Notice any variances in student mood, behaviour

Avoid confrontation in front of other students. (Instead, say “let's talk after class.”)

Validate students' perspectives and avoid blaming

Don't make assumptions about causes of problems; consider underlying issues

Link daily lessons to the life and needs of students; demonstrate relevancy

Create expectations of success for all students

Give students specific feedback on what they did right

Build on students' strengths

Possible precursors

to violence

A break-up with boy/girlfriend

Death/suicide of family member, friend, classmate, or community member

Parent separation and/or divorce

Public/peer humiliation

Exposure to violence, aggression, bullying, and/or gang conflict

Abuse (physical, sexual, and emotional)

Economic stress

Strained relationship between teacher and students

Academic stress

Responding to

warning signals

Acknowledge the student (e.g., “It seems like you are upset,” “What can I do to help you?”) and offer help and support

Consult with school personnel

Use a calm, positive tone when redirecting student conflicts; avoid confrontational language

Give students two or three choices of academic tasks to manage behaviour and increase success

Show encouragement when students struggle with social and/or academic issues

Use verbal praise intermittently in class and when students become reengaged

Restate expectations and classroom rules

Make certain that you are reinforcing the targeted behaviour you desire in your classroom

Use humour, but not sarcasm, to defuse conflicts

Some tips

Note any change in students' emotional and/or behavioural functioning.

Always consider social, cultural, and linguistic factors when judging student behaviour.

Remember you are not alone! Talk with a trusted colleague, mentor, administrator, or union representative and get outside assistance when needed.

(The writer's email ID is

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