Managing Children\\\'s Behaviour Should Be a Team Effort!
Nov 14, 2009 Classroom Management 3093 Views
It's hard to listen to someone who's at the end of their tether - had enough - unsupported - growing increasingly disenchanted with their lot...
I've worked with a Classroom Support Teacher in a local school for a year - I'll call her Sam. She's been so keen to learn to manage children's behaviour. She knew she had to learn the techniques but wanted to do her best for the children she was supporting. I've got to know her really well over the year - she's been a great student. She's worked in my classes, observed, copied, talked, practised, thoroughly enjoying increasing her skills and getting increasingly good results.
I have two boys referred from Sam's school - both from the same class - this sets warning bells off for me. Why was one teacher given two extremely challenging behaviour problems? There were two year five classes so why wasn't the problem spread? Why did the school wait so long to ask for help - at the point where the behaviour was totally out of control?
Anyway - the boys came to the PRU - they're fine because I'm so confident in my behaviour management techniques - they're so well established that they're second nature and instinctive. But without the boys' behaviour being managed effectively in school they won't transfer the behaviour they demonstrate in my classes.
As Sam was so keen to learn school were quite happy to put the responsibility on her - and then promptly forgot that this is a whole school problem. One person shouldn't be expected to take this on - particularly when they don't have teacher status. What did everyone else in the school do? Nothing... nothing at all. If the boys misbehaved at breaktime, lunchtime or any other time they called for Sam. The boys just learned (well, actually were taught by the non-action of most of the adults!) that nobody but Sam was prepared - or able - to manage their behaviour. When she wasn't there it was chaos. All the adults had got into the habit of looking the other way and doing nothing when they saw problem behaviour - needless to say, these two boys aren't the only problems in the school! Far from it...
Although Sam's perfectly competent and increasingly confident in managing (more importantly preventing!) challenging behaviour, with others reneging on their responsibilities the boys have received mixed messages about discipline, expectations and consequences.
As a result Sam feels undermined, unsupported and her colossal effort unappreciated.
One of the boys was sent home a couple of days ago for swearing at a dinner lady. Sent home! What message does that give? Behave appallingly and you get the afternoon off school... Oh heavens what is this head teacher thinking of? Well he's thinking of avoiding having to confront and punish an extremely rude little boy and making his life thoroughly miserable for a few hours - that would make him think about watching his language when talking to people. And he should be told that if he was so rude and abusive again then there would be more consequences put into place.
I'm writing this because Sam's just phoned me at home - no, I don't mind. I'm happy to be available to people I work with. But the reason she rang was that when we talk on the phone at work she's uncomfortable to speak openly due to other people being around. That's bad. It's disturbing. But it's not unusual. Staff who feel they are subordinate feel unsupported by weak management - the problem is everywhere. Lack of behaviour management skill abounds. Team work exists only in the written form on a 'behaviour management policy' filed away and largely forgotten about.
Anyone can learn to manage children's behaviour. It's not that difficult - in fact it's surprisingly straight forward. Read the book, follow advice, practice the techniques and implement them consistently. Behaviour Bible gives you all you need. I follow my own advice every working day.