Teachers, Kids\\\' Behaviour Should Be on Your Terms, Not Theirs!
Jul 14, 2010 Classroom Management 2960 Views
Adults should set the terms when dealing with kids' behaviour... Ok, I know that sounds pretty obvious. Adults usually think they are setting the terms on kids' behaviour but the reality is often very different...
Let me offer an example of what often happens...
This example concerns yet other kid who has been presenting severe and challenging behaviour in school and at home for years.. There are thousands of such kids these days...
The Uncle Tom Cobbley brigade had been in evidence as usual - in full flow offering their pearls of wisdom in the form of writing stories (oops sorry, reports), but hey, guess what? None of these story writers were prepared to get into the thick of the action to offer any actual physical, practical support. Not for them to get onto the front line and show how it's done, oh no... They simply sit on the side lines throwing in 'their advice' but it would be far more credible if they got in to prove that it actually worked, wouldn't it? But perhaps that's far too much to expect! And the bottom line is that so much of their advice doesn't actually work in the real world...
So, when it all goes completely wrong they finally admit there's a crisis (although anyone with half a brain would have noticed the situation was at crisis level years ago), they call yet another Uncle Tom Cobbley meeting. Of course all these people had met many times before. Month after month in fact... So in this example everything had totally failed and now they had a 10 year old boy who had been a major problem in school (and home) since before he was 5... A crisis that could have been avoided! Oh well, what's new...
And now? Well, he's totally out of control in school and at home. Everyone is frantic. There's a lot of talk about this or that being wrong with him... Again, not a word or notion that they may have been getting it wrong for years. Oh no, perish the thought. It has to be the child's fault. Stands to reason, doesn't it?
So, what's the difference at this latest meeting? Well, they had an extra person sitting around the table this time. Guess who? Yes, you're right.... me, throwing spanners in the works by asking questions and raising issues that no-one has bothered to think about previously.
Such situations usually go along the following lines...
(UTC = Uncle Tom Cobbley and all)
Question 1 -- Why has this child's behaviour been allowed to continue and deteriorate for so long without effective behaviour management strategies being used?
UTC -- Well, his behaviour hasn't been allowed to continue and there has been input and advice.
Response to UTC -- But the appalling behaviour has continued and has now deteriorated alarmingly. Surely if the input had been effective then there wouldn't have been the level of deterioration that is evident now.
UTC - Yes, it has now deteriorated but his behaviour did improve at times.
Response to UTC -- Well, if his behaviour improved why weren't the improvements sustained over time and why did it deteriorate later?
UTC -- We don't really know the answer to that because there wasn't a reason for his behaviour changing and deteriorating again.
Response to UTC -- If that's the case then it appears then that the adults haven't been in control of the child's behaviour at any stage and the child has simply been allowed to behave as he wants to at any particular time. Would those here agree with that?
UTC -- (At this stage there's a lot of paper shuffling and people gazing downwards!) - Um, yes, it could be suggested that happened.
Response to UTC -- Well, if that's what's happened, and it certainly seems to be the situation, then it has to be accepted that the adults have not, at any stage, been in control of this child's behaviour. He has been allowed to pick and choose how he behaves at any particular time. He hasn't necessarily been conscious of this happening but that lack of adult control has resulted in the child's appalling behaviour not being challenged and changed when a period of deterioration started.
UTC -- (Nothing - there's usually pretty much silence at this point.)
Child's Father -- That all makes sense, you're right! Can anything be done to change things?
How difficult it must be for any parent to be so honest! Having to face the fact that you've got things so wrong with your child's upbringing. However, the positive aspect is that they're willing to start work to put things right and get his behaviour back on track.
So what's the lesson in a case like this?
It's simply that children's behaviour has to be on adult terms not the child's terms. It's vital that children in schools have to follow the adults' rules. Too often, unfortunately, it's happening the other way round!
When a child's behaviour isn't challenged and they end up getting their own way by behaving badly and riding roughshod over teachers' (and parents') rules, then it's the kids that are training the adults rather than the way it should be. Basically the kids are in control rather than the adults... The road to disaster...
Remember rules and discipline are just forms of training kids so they know how their world works. It's vital that the adults discipline (train) the kids, and not allow the kids train (manipulate?) the adults!