I completely agree with you. Humour is also a good tool to use if used in the right way. There are many things an individual teacher can do to diffuse a difficult situation. I also agree that children have free will, and, given the opportunity, they will use it in the best way possible. In my classes, I have used many techniques to show the students that their choices are important and they can make good ones, and this has often disarmed many a situation that could have escalated into something terrible. My point is that there are a few children that even the most disarming and talented teachers have no luck with. There are a few children that are failed by the system because there is no provision for them, or the provision is a short term solution to a long term problem. I think your ideas are great, but I still think that those children who simply cannot cope with the demands of a large secondary school are being failed by a system which does not provide them with the education they deserve. I have seen children at 11 show that they have lost all faith in the adults around them - including their own parents, and yet they are left to roam the corridors because teachers will not let them into classes. Or they are placed in the seclusion room forever by SMT who cannot, or will not deal with them. These children are totally failed. Saying that you can simply negotiate with these students in their current frame of mind is a nice idea, but also a little naive IMO. Obviously I do not know who you are and how effective a practitioner you are, and vice versa, but I have watched the most incredible teachers fail to engage with some of the most desensitised (sp), disenfranchished, fu*ked up kids imaginable and it angers me to read your offerings such as the rather obvious 'follow up with your consequences' advice. You are not getting the point. Some of these students are beyond mainstream education and it needs to be recognised. It is not fair on the rest of the students, and it is not fair on them. Some of these children are emotionally and mentally damaged, and need long term help if they are to reach their potential. Some of them come from shocking home lives, and need more help than the average teacher can or will, or indeed should have to, give them. Rule number one: Be cool. No sh1t. 'An appeal to fairness tends to work.' For the majority, probably. But for the small minority who have been abused, grossly neglected, and generally fuc*ed up by every adult they have ever known, they may not know from experience what fair actually is.