University of Minnesota
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Welcome to the University of Minnesota's video workshop on managing difficult situations in the classroom. The goal of this experience is to help you think through challenging situations you may encounter in the classroom and to see and hear a variety of teaching consultants address the situation.

Why "Managing" Conflict?

Managing a classroom well — balancing your instructional authority with your students' concerns — comes with experience. Sometimes painful experience!

Small problems poorly handled can distract you from teaching well and cast a pall on the semester. And while many are ready to complain about situations, we don't often engage in constructive talk about how to manage and minimize the troublesome issues when they arise.

What do you do when a student:

  • complains about a grade
  • doesn't think she will ever "get" the concept
  • misses required work because she has a sick child
  • disputes your directions
  • asks you to meet off-campus

Many of these situations can be avoided with planning and others simply need to be addressed at the moment.

How to Use the Workshop

Select a scene and you'll have a chance to view an encounter between a student and an instructor. (You may need to wait 5-10 seconds for the round video "start" button to appear.)

Following the clip, you'll likely want to think about how you might have handled the situation—there's no single correct approach. After you've formulated an opinion, you can choose to listen to several teaching consultants to see how they might have worked with the student to resolve the conflict.

Transcripts of both the scene and the advice are available on every page and further resources can be found on the workshop's resources page.

Contact Us

If you have any comments or questions about this tutorial, please email us at