Soul of a society?


Managing challenging behaviour…..

I went to a PD day last Saturday at uni, and came home with my head buzzing.

I was always going to be interested in presentations about managing challenging behaviour. At the outset though I have to say that although I have two kids, I haven’t really had to deal with challenging behaviours, more like just typical teenage behaviour. But the prospect of possibly one day working and teaching in a high school or college means that I know I will…

Ian Luscombe presented in the afternoon. Ian is the principal of Redbank School in Sydney. Redbank is the only Education and Health facility in NSW that enrols students from Preschool to Year 12 – and children and young adults who are experiencing emotional, behavioural or psychiatric difficulties.

Ian is one of those great dynamic speakers, interesting, funny, walked (or strode?) around a lot. One of those speakers you remember!

My notes from his presentation.

* It’s still about good academic instruction.

* Get them above the line. Above the line is responsibility, ownership and accountability. Below the line is blame others, denial and make excuses…

* There always has to be a link between behaviour and consequences. Validate their feelings.

* Set up a structure, be explicit about the behaviour expected

* Teach behaviour as you would an academic subject (as per consistent behaviour management across the school. Done well – programs like this can take 3-5 years.

* Don’t make assumptions about behaviour

* Manage the student’s environment and you can manage the behaviour. Environment – physical – get that right, social – how do we relate to our students eg. greet our peers.

* Important in schools if the adults can be the teachers. If we can get the adults under control, we can generally get the students under control.

Two easy environmental controls

  1. increase the opportunities for students to respond –  examples: question groups, wait time
  2. increase the rate of praise – ratio of 1:12, where 12 is positive, praise – can include non verbals

* Give each child one positive per day – for some kids that can be hard!

Kaplan and Kaplan 2008 – gazing at nature scenes can improve/increase focus and attention

* See Academy of Neuroscience and Architecture – building intellectual bridges between neuroscience and architecture

* Stress kills brain cells

* See Doorways to success site – setting up environments to enable success

*Gestures and movement of teacher facilitates learning of new concepts

*Physical exercise – 30% increase in academic scores when regular exercise

* Go for a walk at lunch – it creates new brain cells

Why do kids muck up?

* Think about a picture of a snowball rolling down a hill…getting bigger and bigger. You want to try to stop the behaviour near the top, not at the bottom when the snowball is huge.

* Muck up to recreate their home environment. Child will try to alter school environment to recreate home environment (and if always in trouble, undervalued…). Teachers reconfirms their world view.

* We need to model a different world view

“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”  C K Chesterton (never heard this before…)

* Discipline must be consistent, non punitive, monitor. In dysfunctional families discipline is inconsistent, punitive and there is a lack of monitoring.

* Kids test for rejection – they try to find your Achilles heel. Some kids have had a lot of rejection in their lives, and will muck up to test, often tend to do it when they like you and you are developing trust

* Bullying Roberto Parada- Parramatta CEO. teachers only see 4% of bullying that occurs in schools.

Information retained after 24 hours- David Sousa 2001

  • 5% if by lecture
  • 10% reading
  • 20% AV
  • 30% demonstration
  • 50% discussion group
  • 75% practise by doing
  • 95% teaching others

* Ask yourself – what do I want the child to get out of this interaction with me? – fair, firm, honest, non-emotional.

* Use head (not gut) for rational and non-emotional response. Acknowledge emotions, but make sure behaviour management is not based on them. Planned response, planned language example – when student pushing all the buttons “You have been given an instruction, you need to follow that instruction, there will be consequences… and I’ll get back to you…” It’s OK to walk away at that point, best to, and then follow through at a later stage when emotions are in check.

* Positive feedback is the most powerful consequence for affecting behavioural change.

* Let noncompliance be OK – on an emotional level. Will be stressed and ineffective if use emotions to guide…

* Feed emotions (gut) through your head…

OK, so some great stuff there, and as I said – Ian was an interesting, knowledgable person – very easy to listen to, and he obviously had a lot of experience behind him.

I can’t help thinking that being a high school teacher is even harder than being a primary school teacher as it’s harder to build up those relationships with students? I suppose this is also true of relief teachers. And then today – in my ‘Social and Cultural Contexts of Education’ we spent the lecture looking at the feminization of teaching.  All wonderful, wonderful food for thought.

Again – I find myself enjoying the journey… Must, must get some actual teaching exposure though, sooner rather than later. My first  teaching prac opportunity is for a month next May. #yay #wah


One Response to “Soul of a society?”

  1. Well…thank you very much Kate!

    Warm Regards

    Ian (Luscombe)

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