The way we, as adults, manage the behaviours we are faced with on a daily basis is key to the success of any programme. In fact, we need to remember
Even the best behaviour management programme will not guarantee good behaviour
So where should we be starting? With ourselves is the simple answer. How do we react (or respond) when we are faced with what might be a personal attack in the classroom or on the playground by a child? Do we get emotionally involved, feel stressed or perhaps just get angry? This is an important starting point as I think that many times, incidences escalate because of teacher response. If a child can see that they are 'getting to you' or hitting the right emotional buttons, then the game swings in their favour. Many of our most challenging children live their lives aggressively defending their position. It's what they have had to do at home, with siblings and out on the streets in the evening and at weekends. It has become a habit and habits can change, they just take lots of time, consistency and good support to achieve the changes needed. If we respond like with like and join in the battle, we will probably end up very frustrated.
There is no magic wand for challenging behaviour but there are many supportive strategies that can prevent or reduce its occurrence and impact
So what's the best way forward? First, it's really important to have a solid behaviour programme that caters for all the children, including the most challenging 15%. You need to know all the pathways available to you and the goal is to coach the children into using these pathways effectively to begin the process of building self-awareness and resourcefulness.
It should not be a battle of 'I'm big and you are small' and 'I can shout louder than you' - this only gets you embroiled in an argument where the opponent can be as irrational as they wish. Logic isn't the way forward, consistency and emotional detachment are the main attributes that make the programme work. It's not a big stick, 'You will do...' but more a suggestion that there might be a better way to resolve how they are feeling, accepting that they feel unhappy or angry and finding the time to help them untangle their emotions and make sense of their jumbled world. The children need to know that when the situation is resolved, they should be feeling a bit better about themselves. So, it's not a quick fix, but a slow, step-by-step process, involving the child at every level.
In my opinion, this is the only way the children will learn the skills they'll need later on in life
I'm OK - I'm not OK - I need help - Don't blame, resolve - build me back up - repeat