NQT Support 2

Last year I delivered some behaviour training and I did the same this year. This post summarises some of their questions.

On Thursday 22nd September, I delivered some training to a group of NQTs as part of our Academy Trust training programme. The session was great, very informal in terms of delivery style but well structured. At the beginning of the session, some of them put up post-its with particular questions that they would like answering. Rather than paying them 10 minutes lip service at the end, I said that I would respond to them as a whole by email so that they could be used as a starting point for further discussion if necessary.

This blog post is simply the questions that were on the post-its and the answers that I gave in the email. It seemed a shame to waste them!

A child who interrupts to correct/tell you how to do things

Some children just have to tell you everything that you do wrong. This can be frustrating but as soon as you let the frustration show, it will manifest itself. Being frustrated will not change the child’s behaviour. Speak to them about whether things are useful to know or vitally important. When they correct you, start threading in and asking whether what they just said was vitally important at that point or not. You may have to categorise with them. Keep doing this consistently and when they’ve got it, as soon as they start to interrupt you or shoot their hand up when you know that it is something that isn’t imperative, ask them whether it is vitally important or whether they can tell you at the end of the lesson because you’ll have time to listen to them. It will work in one of two ways – they will either get fed up of coming back and telling you at lunch that actually called John by the name of James (or something else pointless) or it will give them a more appropriate time to tell you. Some may just need to say it. If it is at an appropriate time, just thank them. This is then dealt with courteously and you can get on with your lesson.

A child keeps talking over me during input and when the policy is applied (amber in traffic lights), they sulk in a full-of-attitude way

If a child does this, it is simply learned behaviour to deflect from the real issue of their behaviour. Have a private chat with them and explain that when they do this, it is disruptive to the rest of the class and you will not allow it to continue. Explain that when they do it, you will not verbally reprimand them but you will write it down in a book on your desk. Every time they do this, write it down in the book without saying anything. Explain to them that if their name appears too often in a lesson in that book, there will be a consequence. Don’t tell them how many times or even what the consequence is, just leave it vague purposefully. You want to be as low key in class about this as possible and if you decide to keep them back, just say that you will see them at lunch. When the class has gone, apply the consequence separately so there is very little attention and tell them that it doesn’t concern you if this continues. Keep it as low attention as possible. When they are ready for your response to change, they will change their behaviour. When you start to see them react differently and accept you applying the policy with acceptable disappointment, speak to them again at the side and tell them that they’ve dealt with it in a much more appropriate way.

How should consequences for children with SEN be dealt with? New leaf, new day?

Children with special needs still have to be nurtured to behave in a socially acceptable way (in the realms of their special need) and although there are certain allowances, sanctions and consequences are absolutely appropriate. Your delivery of the sanctions may be different but the emphasis should be on clear communication so that they know exactly what they have done, why it is not appropriate and what is now going to happen to them. For children who struggle with language and communication, social stories may be appropriate and scripted language so that it is simple will definitely help.

Also on another note, I know that it is not always possible, but any consequences for any child, special needs or not, would be best to be delivered on the day or the very next day at least. Consequences should be like speed bumps… small and consistently applied because they then make people more likely to change their behaviour.

A child refuses to follow instructions and has now started to throw things towards other pupils. Also, no consequences seem to affect the child – i.e. minutes off playtime

If a child is refusing to follow instructions, first make sure that they are not misunderstanding the instructions. Once you’ve clarified that they understand, rather than giving instructions that demand them to follow immediately, start using take up time. Give the instruction, then leave it with the child and carry on doing what you are doing and if it safe, ignore them. After a short period, repeat the instruction and then leave them again. Keep on doing this. If they are not responding to your instructions anyway, the worst that can happen is they don’t respond to these. At the very least, you can get on and keep your emotions under check.

As for the throwing things, you can do a few things. You can move the other children, modify the room so that the child isn’t based near lots of ‘stuff’ or if you feel that none of the other things work, you could physically intervene to remove the child to keep the others safe. If the latter is your choice, speak to the behaviour lead in your school to find out a plan, discuss training with them, read The use of reasonable force by the DfE and talk to the parents to see if there is any strategies that they have other than you holding them.

The last part to this is the consequence part. Rather than issuing what you think is a consequence, just tell them that there will be a consequence but don’t say what it is. Wait until an appropriate time when they are going to do something they would like to do (go for lunch, use the iPad, choose an activity to do etc) and just as they are about to do it, stop them and tell them that they can’t do it/owe so many minutes etc because of the consequence earlier. Doing it like this takes away their ability to say that they don’t care and are not bothered because they were about to do the thing anyway! I had a group of girls in my class a few years ago that would hate to go outside in winter when it was -2 degrees. Minutes off playtime would have been a reward for these, not a sanction!

What should you do if all of the other adults involved with a child are not on the same page?

This one is easy. If you have a child who is struggling with their literacy, schools will put a plan in place to support with their literacy, stating who should do what to support and when. behaviour is no different – it needs planning also. If a child is misbehaving in a way where more than a few adults are regularly involved, they need a behaviour plan. Once the plan is in place and ti states how the child will be dealt with, everyone must stick to the plan. Speak to your behaviour lead about a positive handling plan or a behaviour plan.

What are the parameters for putting a child on a positive handling plan?

A positive handling plan is used to prevent the risk of a child needing to have restrictive physical intervention applied to them by a member of staff. It is basically a risk assessment which highlights the things that have happened in the past which have led to these situations as well as outlining how to deal with the child in terms of physical and non-physical responses.

Despite this, I have found myself increasingly using these plans for children who are not at a risk of physical intervention but whose behaviour is disruptive and where staff are not dealing with them consistently. A positive handling plan may (and should) get staff to respond to the child in a consistent manner. Again, speak to the behaviour lead in your school if you are concerned.

I have a really fussy class who chat too much, volume level too high and transition isn’t too good. Any advice?

Chatting too much is subjective. There are many fabulous lessons where the noise level is higher but for the run of the mill lessons where you want a little less chat, I would suggest trying to use some music. Have you ever taken your class to an assembly where music isn’t playing when it usually does? They’re awful. The noise sets an expectation – the expectation that the music should be heard. This isn’t absolute silence but it should be heard. Start by explaining that when the music is on, the noise needs to be down and anyone who can’t do this will have to have a consequence. Start by doing small stints of music when they are writing, maybe ten minutes of music. After the music is finished, stop them and discuss. How did it feel when the music was on? How did this impact on their work? If it went poorly, use this to discuss and be honest. If it’s a few individuals, being them back at break and/or lunch as well as a sanction. Do it everytime until they are not an issue. As it starts to improve, build up the music so it is on for longer. They soon get used to this and it becomes a really pleasant environment and becomes a peaceful time of the day. It’s not a quick fix but a definite to invest in!

Transition around the classroom needs teaching if it is poor. I use 1-2-3. I explicitly teach them. 1 is get ready and be quiet, 2 is stand up, I give them the instruction and 3 is execute it. If I want them to move from the chairs to line up for assembly, I would usually say something like, “1, 2 and when I say 3, I would like you to line up quietly for assembly. 3.” It needs explicitly teaching. Get them all to do 1, quietly. Get them to look at each other. If someone isn’t doing it, keep doing until it is right. When they’ve got this, link it to 2… and then 3. Once they’ve got it, tell them that this is the expected level and run through it for 2 weeks solid with no voices while it’s happening. After 2 weeks, the routine will become habit, providing you apply it consistently, insistently and persistently.

How to manage a child who refuses to follow instructions and do work

I’ve spoken a little bit in a previous one about not following instructions so I wont go over that part again but I will address the refusing to do work part. Explain to all of the children, that no matter what, every piece of work will get done in class. Make this the expectation. Explain that you will give them ample time in class and if they don’t get it done, they will have to do it in their own time. This is aimed at the 1 child but delivered in this way will not hurt. If they don’t then do the work just explain that you accept their decision to not do any work in class, but they can do it at lunch/play. This is fine. There will be a period where you will have to be in to supervise because they will test you. When they realise that you will not falter from this approach, tell them that if they ever want help in class to get their work finished at the same time as everyone else, they just need to ask. Keeping others in like this as well will help to create a culture that the target child can accept and they know it is not a singling out approach – just that their behaviour is not tolerated from anyone.

How should I manage conflicting personalities in my class?

People will always have others that they don’t get on with, this is fine. Tell the children that this is fine. Tell them that there will be adults in the school who get on really well with each other and that there are probably adults in the school who don’t particularly like each other. This is real life. Ask the kids if they would be able to tell from the adults behaviour? The answer is no because to be a functioning member of society, you have to get on with people you’re not keen on. Give them both an agreed way that if someone does something they don’t like, and they can’t sort it among themselves, that you will mediate (so to speak). In a controlled way, you can teach children to tolerate each other when they fall out. Don’t force them to apologise because if they haven’t done it off their own back, the apology is worthless. Just get them to reflect.

As for practical things, put them in controlled positions in class where they have to work with people they conflict with sometimes. I once had a class where the kids said that they couldn’t work with x, y or z or their parents said that they couldn’t sit near x, y or z. I used to, “Thank you for letting me know. If it gets difficult while you’re working with them, ask me for some help and I’ll make sure you’re both ok.” It caused me problems sometimes but it helped me to build tolerance so was worth it in the end. Telling them to just stay away from each other andsitting them away from each other teaches them nothing and they will continue to struggle.

When a child doesn’t want to do something, they hide under the table and kick people and refuse to come out.

If it happens in the first instance, move the children to another seat/table so that it is safe for them. If it is repeated behaviour, you may need to physically intervene to stop this. If this is repeated I would also speak to your behaviour lead and sort a positive handling plan for this child. The behaviour cycle needs to be broken and you will likely have to use a lot of what I’ve spoken about in all of these other parts but I would prioritise scripted language and take up time, as well as the part about what to do if they refuse to do work.

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Posted on September 24, 2016, in behaviour, Education, nqt, positive behaviour, praise, restraint, role model, routines, training and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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