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Food for Thought A childs current behaviour often reflects an essentially sane response to an untenable set of life circumstances. Bray 1997 (Quoted in.

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Presentation on theme: "Food for Thought A childs current behaviour often reflects an essentially sane response to an untenable set of life circumstances. Bray 1997 (Quoted in."— Presentation transcript:

1 Food for Thought A childs current behaviour often reflects an essentially sane response to an untenable set of life circumstances. Bray 1997 (Quoted in Visser, J and Rayner, S (1999) Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties : A Reader. QEd.) It must be recognised that the area of pupil behaviour is highly emotive. It challenges teachers sense of their own professional competence and both teachers and parents self-esteem... emotions often get in the way of constructive planning. Peter Gray and Sue Panter, Support for Learning, Vol 15, No 1.


3 What does a child need to be able to do to learn in a classroom? Feel safe, willing to take risks Have good self-esteem Be able to seek help without expecting ridicule Be able to concentrate, be in the flow Be able to manage frustration, anxiety, disappointment Have a capacity to bear not knowing Be able to wait for attention Be optimistic and have a positive attitude to a problem

4 Where do you learn this? Some childrens life experiences will have taught them other skills and other responses Some childrens experiences of adults will have been very different to the nurturing environment which creates the conditions for learning

5 Why good practice for behaviour management sometimes fails Life and circumstances has taught some young people a different lesson and what they need to do outside school, which is inappropriate inside school, keeps them safe How do young people know what a target actually means? E.g. What does it feel like to be concentrating? What lets them know that they are doing this thing called focusing? They may have had very few experiences of the target behaviour, either from a shared experience with a thinking adult or on their own in a calm environment. Children and young people need adults to help them make sense of their experience and name the experiences they are having.

6 Why learning can feel dangerous Learning requires us to feel positive about ourselves Learning requires taking risks Learning requires trust in relationships Learning requires taking in and some children feel they are not worthy or too full up with other stuff It involves letting go of hypervigilance

7 Some teaching thoughts Concrete, mechanical tasks can provide calming left brain activity Stories and metaphors can be containers Resilience of the task Reframing of behaviour Noticing attacks on thinking Be aware of being pulled into the counter- transference, controlling, punitive

8 The Learning Triangle Relationship Pupil Teacher Task

9 Strategies for dealing with an ambivalent/resistant attachment pattern in class Avoid colluding with need for constant teacher involvement and thus over-helping Acknowledge in your words and strategies that you understand their need to check you can remember them when you are not directly engaged with them Set clear time-limits for when you will come back to them Do the first 3 questions and I will come back and check If you do not come back on time, name the anxiety I am sorry I was not able to get back to you, maybe you thought I had forgotten you, but I had not Encourage them to Trust your own brain

10 Strategies for dealing with an avoidant attachment pattern Avoid the temptation to build a relationship too soon, this feels dangerous to these pupils Develop the relationship through the task e.g comment on the characters, themes in the tasks/stories rather than the pupil Allow the pupil to keep internal control even of praise e.g.You must be pleased/proud of that Use groupwork where the pupil can have input into the research/reading and not have to present directly to the teacher Make use of metaphor work with stories/drawings/dialogues/ cartoons If you feel ignored, remember Its not meant for you.

11 The Brain Stuff A lack of attuned, sensitive care can cause babies and young children to have abnormally high levels of stress hormones, including cortisol, in their bodies. High levels of cortisol are known to significantly impair the growth and development of the babys brain and body. High cortisol levels can affect a childs ability to think, to retrieve information and to manage his or her own behaviour. Significant parts of their brains are not hooked up The flight-and-fight response triggered by the oldest part of the brain is over-used. The adolescent brain offers another chance for pathways to be re-wired. Recent research show the plasticity of the brain. Repeated experience will change the neurology. Tip Teach your students about the Triune Brain – the reptilian, mammalian and neo-cortex thinking brain.


13 Bion - containment How can we contain the overwhelming and powerful feelings and withstand the onslaught? How can we show pupils that they are held in mind? We learn to think by being thought about

14 Managing yourself and your feelings Make it clear that emotional health is as important as physical health. Pay attention to your own emotional state and have strategies for getting into a positive state for teaching and learning. Share these strategies with learners Learn to listen to the feelings underlying communications with you. Noticing attacks on thinking Be prepared to name the feelings, particularly the overwhelming emotions.I wonder if you are now feeling disappointed and let down. Pay attention to unconscious defence mechanisms. Try to break patterns.

15 Classroom management Breathing - low, slow breathing is calming. Be aware if you are holding your breath in confrontations - breathe! Notice if child is holding their breath. Separate description of behaviour from interpretation of it. Comment on the behaviour not the person. When you look out of the window when I am giving instructions, it makes me think you are not listening Give positive reinforcement for good behaviour, particularly if the student has just been misbehaving. Take care to notice when they are NOT doing the inappropriate behaviour and find a time to praise them for that. Take opportunities to develop rapport e.g. personal chat, remember something about them Acknowledge the positive intention behind a behaviour e.g give misbehaving student a job so they are involved. State it You can be very funny and witty without needing to be rude and put people down.

16 Classroom management Use the language of need rather than obligation. You dont need to be like that in here. Focus and comment on pupils who are doing what is required. This table is ready, great. Use thanks at the end of an instruction John, I need you to move over here, thanks. Build in perceived choices where possible. OK, you can do this alone or in a pair Distract, deflect at the point of conflict. Ignore secondary behaviour e.g sighing

17 Classroom management Tell students what you want them to do, not what they shouldnt do Be aware of the state you are creating, walking around when asking for quiet can create the opposite state. Give instructions on a need to know basis, demo and visual. Avoid use of sequencers e.g.Before..Give actions words last. Think about how you are standing. Freeze body when giving instructions, weight evenly distributed, toes forward for getting attention. Be consistent with your use of space. A place at the front where everyone can see for instructions, another spot for discipline to create spatial anchors

18 Want to know more? Marie Delaney The Learning Harbour, Crosshaven, Co Cork, Ireland the Teaching the Unteachable, October 2008, Worth Publishing What can I do with the kid who… Worth publishing. British Council CiSELT course Dealing with Difficult

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