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 part of my current role, I am responsible for behaviour in the cluster I work in and I am an accredited Team Teach instructor. I have been trained in Team Teach for the last 7 years (four of that while working in a PRU and three years in my current mainstream) and I have been an instructor for the last year. I, alongside my colleague, have trained around 150 staff in our Multi Academy Trust and I will be training another 20 or so in September. One of the biggest problems that I come across as the behaviour lead for the cluster I work in, is when some people are trained in schools and some are not. Usually, the majority of staff, who have not had any formal training in positive handling, see themselves as not being allowed to physically touch or restrain children. This is simply not the case and this has caused schools so many problems. Knowledge is power… or so they say. This blog post intends to be my outlook on the restraint, risk and reduction as well as a link to some formal documentation.
Power to use reasonable force and duty of care
All members of staff who work in a school have a legal power to use reasonable force. There are set reasons when staff could use reasonable force because whenever anyone physically handles another person, it must be a legal use of force. You can’t normally physically touch another person without their consent. If I was to walk down the street and take hold of someones arm against their will, they would have a right, and possibly should, press charges for assault. In schools, we act under exceptional circumstances and if the situation presents itself, we can step outside of this norm. The DfE, in their non-statutory guidance, states that reasonable force ‘means using no more force than is needed.’ The term force, in the contexts of reasonable force is deemed when the force is applied to control of restrain.
“If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”
I have spent a large proportion of September training staff at our school. We have had quite a lot of new staff start and many of the current staff have moved year groups. Although this has helped revitalise many of the staff, it has highlighted a wide range of issues around consistency hence, a jam packed training schedule. I delivered my first actual INSET yesterday based around the key changes to our behaviour policy. It was an odd situation. There were lots of periods of silence part from opportunities that I gave for them to speak. The training based around reminding staff about the conflict spiral and scripted language (both two things that I have blogged about), our 3 new school rules and then sanctions and praise. Although my training style was slightly informal due to a didactic style not being appropriate, I felt that maybe the staff had not bought into it. As I got in today though, I was pleasantly surprised as I was given good feedback from staff from all levels of hierarchy in the school. I think this is a good sign…