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.
As educators working in schools, our primary job is to impart knowledge to others. Maths, literacy, scientific skills et cetera. There are many other elements to the job but the only thing that we should be doing when directly working with children is to educate them, to teach them something. This may be something academic but it can also be a whole plethora of other things, such as how to ask politely for something, how to share, how to resolve their issues, communicate… In fact, every time we interact with children, we should always teach them something.
“The words you use are as powerful as the message you are trying to convey – do you always know what to say when under stress?”
I started my current post at the end of April this year. I left the safety of the PRU that I had worked at for the last 4 years to pick up my dicey relationship with mainstream. Last time we broke up, we ended terribly and I was convinced that I would not return. I loved working in a PRU. Children with EBD issues are some of the most challenging and rewarding people who I have been fortunate to work with and it was down to them why I have managed to convince myself that I need to acquaint myself with my former life – a classroom teacher.
I was asked to immediately re-write the schools behaviour policy, in fact, I was asked to rewrite it over the half term before I started. I did it, not knowing the cohort of staff, children and their strengths and issues – it was done in a top down manner. The head that I work for is inspirational and after a series of poor HMI visits and becoming a sponsored academy, she was appointed. She is driven and looking back now, the fact she asked me to re-write it so early into my tenure is not surprising. The issue is… how would the rest of the staff see it? The staff haven’t seen the majority of it yet to be fair because I was asked to re-write it and then try it out in the year group where I was appointed. The chaps that worked in the other 2 classes are very willing so it did not take a lot to convince them. The rest of the staff…. I’m not so sure. The one thing that I did tempt them with was scripted language.
I came from a class of 7 children and I have ended up in a school with 21 classes (including FS2) and the first obstacle that I have hit is consistency. There are many types of adult in the school I work at. There are experienced ones, NQT’s, staff who have worked at the same school for decades, some who want to change, some who will find it hard to change and so on. In many walks of life, mainstream included, a diverse workforce is a benefit. The experiences they offer, the different expertise areas they have however in terms of supporting and promoting consistency, sadly, the diversity is detrimental. I soon found that the first port of call was to test the water with scripted langauge. I stood there with a sea of faces looking at me and introduced the term assuming that they already had some prior knowledge; they did not. I rolled it back.
What is scripted language?
These are the scripts that I offered our staff to help them to work consistently.