Hot Moments

Dealing with tension and emotion-laden moments in the classroom
Students in classroom with laptops, discussing
Two figures talking with a thermometer in between them
Puckung graphic design factory, Iconfinder, edited by Samuel Whitcomb

Many teachers experience so-called hot moments when the classroom atmosphere is heavy with tension and students (and/or the teachers) start to feel uncomfortable. Hot moments can occur when divergent opinions collide, views are aggressively voiced, or nuanced understanding is lacking. They happen when students do not feel equally invited to share their perspectives or when teachers feel unsafe. This toolbox aims to provide teachers with the knowledge, recognition, encouragement, and some ways to deal with hot moments.

- Re-define hot moments as opportunities – They are emotion-laden moments before learning stops, which can still be redirected into a learning experience.

- Create a safe learning environment with discomfort – A safe learning environment allows room for discomfort but still maintains that everyone is just as ‘worthy of respect and consideration as anyone else and are fully competent to participate in society as any other.’ (External link)


- See teacher discomfort as a call for reflection-in-action - Instead of looking at the discomfort as an undesirable feeling that needs to be resolved or disregarded, they are signals. Consider it a signal that calls reflection, for a time-out, and taking a helicopter view of the situation.


- Share the Value of your Experiences - Share your experiences with your colleagues and help cultivate a culture of collectively growing and gaining confidence to act during hot moments. Sharing your situations and listening to others helps to put your own experiences into perspective. This way the teachers feel more confident to take the lead in hot moments and resolve them in a more constructive, compassionate way.


- Be Patient - Acquiring and refining the professional and personal skills that help us deal with hot moments is hard and takes time. Situations are unpredictable; they can be steered in various directions, but only to a certain extent. Be persistent and patient and, above all, be compassionate, towards others, but most importantly, towards yourself.


For research contact - Marieke Slootman at -, and for workshops about “hot moments” contact - Siema Ramdas at -

The full document outlining "hot moments" and how to deal with them is provided below.

- You’ll be able to think ahead and plan specific strategies about how you might handle a sudden eruption of tension or conflict in the classroom and what aspects of your course content might produce them.

- How to acknowledge and reflect on the tension created in the moment, yourself, and guide your students to do the same.

- How to use the intensity of the hot moments to facilitate students’ learning.

- Be able to create and connect with your support network.

For contact about the research: Marieke Slootman,, and for contact about workshops about “hot moments”: Siema Ramdas,

The full document outlining "hot moments" and the ways in which to deal with them is provided below:

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes