It seems to be the main topic of conversation around school – who is misbehaving, absconding, not following adult instructions….? The list goes on. If you listened to the conversations you would think we were in a BESD special school rather than a school that only a couple of months ago OFSTED rated as Good. Yes Good for everything including behaviour management.
If you could look past the handful of children who are not doing what they’ve been asked then you would see amazing learning, children on task, children asking questions, children using laptops, children listening to stories, children doing exactly what you would want them to do. Like everything in this life, or so it seems, the actions of the minority seem to dominate the actions of the majority. What a shame.
What can we do? We have some brilliant teachers who are putting all the strategies that the now defunct Behaviour Support Service have previously suggested. There are visual timetables, there are whole class reward systems, there are individual reward systems, there are differentiated lessons so that all children are being appropriately challenged, there are practical resources available, there are routines, there is a limit! Teachers know that if necessary SLT will come and take children for a chat, to work for a short while, to work for a whole session. Some children have had internal exclusions for a whole day – it’s very boring – they are told that they need to work independently as we also have work to do. Some have become so unsafe that they have had short, fixed term, external exclusions; some are mortified (and so are their parents), some are not.
We need to think creatively. We will not give up on these children. We will help them to turn their behaviours round so that they can receive the education to which they are entitled and so can the majority. In the meantime we will keep on being consistent, we will keep on teaching lessons that are appropriately levelled and in a variety of learning styles. We will make more efforts to notice the good behaviours and the majority who are doing the right things.
We will remember to tell those children that we don’t dislike them just their behaviours. We will remember that we only have these children for a small fraction of their day and whilst they are with us we can show them how we expect them to behave. We will support each other to help them however hard it sometimes seems. As Marjorie Boxall said, “All behaviour is communication,”; we would just appreciate if they would communicate slightly differently.