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Center for Teaching Excellence

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Verbal Judo for the Classroom


Are you prepared to handle a disruptive student in your classroom? Verbal Judo is a process of using one's words to prevent, de-escalate or end an attempted disruption. Whether in the classroom, office or even at home, Verbal Judo can prepare you for every verbal conflict and help prevent verbal disruption and maintain safety.

In a classroom situation, this could involve techniques such as remaining under emotional control during disagreements, maintaining professionalism in any context, using words instead of actions to achieve goals, avoiding language that expresses personal feelings during conflicts, employing empathy to stay engaged with people while maintaining self-control and safely taking action when words fail. Participants learn a collection of skills that can be put into use immediately.

About the Facilitators

Eric Grabski is a Captain with the University of South Carolina Division of Law Enforcement and Safety. During the course of his 29 year law enforcement career, he has worked closely with faculty, staff, and students to resolve conflict and maintain safety. Eric is a Verbal Judo instructor.

Alisa Cooney Liggett is the Executive Director of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity at UofSC. She has been active in the development of interventions for students in the area of substance use and behavioral health.


"I'd go to a two day presentation by the speaker on verbal judo, if he wanted to set one up. Also, the Student Care and Outreach Team lady is awesome! I've heard her speak at our TA session or something and wish I could find another video with her..." – Computer Science

"I thought this was an excellent seminar and very practical for anyone who is a GA or going into the field of teaching. Even beyond those scopes these tools that were taught would be useful for anyone as these situations arise in everyday life situations."– Art Education MAT

"I found this seminar to be one of my favorite. I thought it very beneficial."– College of Education Teaching & Learning

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