Sometimes, when students are giving the politically correct answers instead of what they actually believe, persisting past the obvious will usually yield results. Likewise, if the group is getting off task in some way, redirection will often get them back on target. If that does not work, a more severe response might be needed. Doing something unexpected or outrageous like threatening to leave or throwing a small, harmless object at someone might startle the class back to the task at hand (Lakey, 2010).
I often had difficult classes with several behaviorally challenged students. When I asked one principal why I was always so “lucky,” she answered that she assigned those kids to my class because she knew I would not walk out on them and really believed that the highly structured nature of my class would help them.
The composition of my class meant that sometimes a lesson would get out of hand. There were so many interruptions that I could not get anywhere educationally. If redirection or a stern call to order had no results, I would announce that whatever part of the lesson remained unfinished when we ran out of time would go home for homework or would be done in lieu of other fun activities like recess or Fun Friday, a time when kids could play educational games or do structured art projects unless they had missing work to do. Then I would return to my desk and check my email or start grading papers while keeping an eye and ear on the class. Sometimes I turned off the overhead lights.
Before too long, students would start shushing each other. When the class had been quiet for a full minute, I resumed the lesson.