Documentation:ISW/Lesson Plan/Theme Session/Online/Challenging Classroom Situations

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This online module uses the ISW BOPPPS model as a lesson planning framework.

Online Module

Time to Complete

20-25 minues

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module you will be able to:

  • Identify and discuss certain common, root causes for challenging classroom situations
  • Develop at least 2 strategies for addressing, resolving or avoiding several challenging classroom situations


Personal Story: Resolved Challenge

Think about the most challenging classroom situation you have been able to successfully resolve, or have seen resolved by a teacher that you know. Please share your answer to the following questions, using the Comments text box below this page.

  • What was the course in which this challenge happened?
  • Briefly describe the challenging situation.
  • Describe how you (the instructor) succeeded in resolving the challenge.

Personal Story: Unresolved Challenge

What is the most challenging situation (unresolved) that you have encountered in your teaching, or think you might encounter? Please share your answer in a separate comment, using the Comments text box below this page.

Note: In face-to-face session, we will discuss your personal challenges and try to come up with possible strategies to deal with them, using a combination of resources, strategies and group discussions.


‘Conflict can arise spontaneously in any course, at any time, over issues or situations that cannot be anticipated. Some conflicts derive from misunderstandings about coursework or the teacher’s intentions and manifest themselves in behaviors that teachers find offensive or discourteous … Other conflicts are social or ideological in origin and arise when students believe that the instructor (or the other students in the course) embrace beliefs that are contrary to their own, which may give rise to feelings of alienation, hostility, and anger. If the instructor is unprepared to handle these conflicts when they occur, the crisis can derail the course and poison the atmosphere to such an extent that effective learning is no longer possible.’

The above is an excerpt from an article titled ‘Managing Classroom Conflict’ published by Center for Faculty Excellence in University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. This article discusses the origin of different classroom conflicts and strategies to deal with them, in terms of 3 essential approaches:

  1. setting expectations,
  2. developing social cohesion (for preventing conflict), and
  3. effective conflict management (when it arises).


  • Please read only one section of the above article (as assigned below), and
  • Summarize it in one page.
  • Write down one particular example of your own experience, where you have successfully dealt with a challenge using this method.

Please bring your 1-page summary to the session. It would be used in activities during our face-to-face session. Be prepared to share your example and explain the assigned section to members of the cohort.

Go Further

Best Practices: Preventing and Managing Challenging Classroom Situations, by Deb Wingert & Tom Molitor

Module Credits

This module has been designed by the Graduate Student Facilitators at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) at UBC-Vancouver