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How to Deal with Student Cursing

Learn how to deal with student cursing from education consultant Grace Dearborn in this Howcast video.


How to deal with students swearing in the classroom? There is two different things that might be going, there two different types of reasons why students might be swearing. One...especially the high school level, is you’re going to have students to swear as kind of a knee-jerk reaction, because they might be using a lot of curse words when they are with their friends. And that's their usual way of communicating, and they don't really mean anything by it. Right so if you are saying some in you given some information in a student goes, "oh sh" except there's this is it entity and that end of that sh right there. That wasn't intentional, so that will be dealt with differently than a student who is swearing directly at you, or at another student for the purposes of intimidation or aggression.

With the student who accidentally blurts out a swear word in the middle of the lesson, or while talking to you, or to the class. That's easily dealt with by saying, "that language is not appropriate in class, why don't you rephrase that." "What were you trying to say?" It doesn't have to be a big confrontation; it just has to be a reminder that in your classroom that language is an okay. Given the opportunity practice different language, it is appropriate and let it go and move on. If it's chronic with that student, but still not malicious or intimidating. You might need to have a one-on-one conversation with them about that, and about some other consequences that might come into play, if they don't start raining it in.

With students or swearing at you, or at another student for the purpose of intimidation or aggression, that student just has to leave the room. They have to go and they have to go now. But if a student is at me going, "what the F, what the F, and F this." You need to step outside. "Well you can't make me." "You can step outside your own, or I call security. It's up to you what do you want to have happen here." So the student has to be removed, intimidation and aggression, cannot be allowed in the classroom. Once you get the student outside, if the student can get the student calm, then you can have a conversation with him about what's happening. Why it happened. How it's going to be dealt with in the future.

If the student can't be calm in a moment outside where you go to talk with them, then they need to go up to the office or to a different location, where they have the time to calm down. So you can have a rational discussion with them about what's appropriate and what's not, and how it can be dealt with from then on in your classroom. But the key is, if it's aggressive, they have to leave right away. If it's a knee-jerk reaction is just part of the way they’re speaking, let it go, reminder them of what you want and move. Those are some ideas about dealing the swearing in your classroom.

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