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Two pupils get into a fight: one is fuming, the other is calm…

…so what does this tell us about their relative behaviours? Oliver Ward argues that students’ responses to stressful situations are the product of many personal factors that teachers should note

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Just as I was helping students to hone their description of fluvial processes in the lower river course, a breaktime altercation spilled over into the lesson. Two pupils were accusing each other of bullying. One of them, Robert, although he was audibly challenging his classmate, remained seated and outwardly focused. The other pupil, David, was initially verbally and then physically aggressive; he could not be calmed and after a short period of time he left the room, visibly upset.

Later in the day, the process of restoring the pupils’ relationship took place. Both students gave a similar ...

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