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Thursday 5 July 2012

How to handle behaviour problems with love Linky!

A Little Magic
This is a subject close to my heart. I absolutely believe that teaching and behaviour management go hand in hand. I have taught mostly in the "tough" schools, you know those schools that when you say where you are teaching people say, "Oh, really, hmmmm, well good luck with that."
At my previous school I was privileged to be part of the School Wide Positive Behaviour Support (SWPBS) team. This really cemented with me the idea that we need to explicitly teach the desired behaviours that we want our students to display, through lessons delivered and modelling appropriate and inappropriate behaviour. The success we saw at our school was amazing, the key is in being persistent and consistent. Students knew that if they went to another classroom the rules, consequences and rewards would be the same, there was no way they could get away with "Mrs ...... lets us do this." Even though I am not at a school that uses the SWPBS philosophy anymore I use what I have learnt in my current classroom, here are just a few things
  • Explicitly teach behaviour with planned lessons
  • Follow through on consequences and rewards
  • Make sure that on your behaviour charts children move DOWN the chart rather than up when they have warnings.  I know this seems petty but I had a revelation when I heard my kinder children talk about moving up the chart to get to the top.  All my students started at the bottom of a triangle on Cool Dudes and then moved up the triangle through, Warning,  Cool Down (which was a reflection time), Time Out, then Exit.  We had a 3 step procedure but I put in an extra step for my kinders.  After I heard children talking about getting to the top being red I inverted my triangle so that they moved DOWN the chart they got the idea.
  • Make sure that children always start on a clean slate when they have worked through the consequence.
  • Inform parents of your Responsible Behaviour Plan, get them to sign it and retain it, so that when you have THOSE conversations with parents you can remind them that they were informed of the policies.
  • Finally remind students daily of expectations, set the boundaries and stick to them.  
I found that my students were happier when I put firm boundaries in place and reminded them that being polite, courteous and kind to each other was an expectation and as such was not rewarded.  I also made sure they would know that they would be treated in this way from me.  I like to use this analogy; if I am driving my car and the speed limit is 60 km and I am doing 60 km, the police do not pull me over and tell me what a wonderful job I am doing by doing the correct speed limit.  Why?  Because it is an expectation.

My classroom is always calm, quiet and happy because I am up front with my students about behaviour expectations, rarely do my students end up at the Exit point.  If they do I investigate and usually it hinges on something external to the classroom. The other thing I try to remember is "Is this the classroom I would like my own children to be in?  Is this how I would like my own children to be treated and managed?"  These questions are key to me and my students. 

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