The heading is hard hitting. Am I saying that if kids’ behaviour isn’t good then you’re not managing them correctly?? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. In the whole school or in your own classroom if you have behaviour problems and you want to improve the situation but it isn’t happening then you have to change what you’re doing. The good news is that this can easily be done – yes, I mean it!! Any one of you can learn the strategies you need to manage children’s behaviour successfully. You need the skill and the confidence – these enable you to succeed.
Whether you’re a footballer, painter or a plasterer, learning and improving your skill is the same. You have to be told what the techniques are, go off and practise them to become proficient and confident, and then keep on doing it over and over to make the successful strategies instinctive. I am extremely confident now but my skill and confidence has grown over years. I write in Behaviour Bible about when I first started working with children displaying extreme behaviour. I can’t use the words ‘managing behaviour’ because I wasn’t managing – I was a disaster. I had no idea how to manage challenging behaviour. Unfortunately so many people in schools are in the same position today as I was then.
I had to learn, but there wasn’t anyone to teach me. Because of that it took a while – quite a long while really. Gradually I cottoned on to what was needed – I had to change. I now use the successful behaviour management techniques I have established to teach other people and believe me it doesn’t have to take you the length of time it took me. You can see the impact of the techniques in minutes. Children read the situation and recognise and respond to an adult ‘doing it right’!!
While I’ve been working with extreme behaviour the situation in schools has become far worse and bad behaviour is so common in schools that there’s a danger of it being thought of as normal. Adults should be appalled by behaviour they see but I see people accepting such behaviour. They seem to believe that there’s nothing they can do – I call it ‘learned helplessness’. There’s just a shrug of the shoulders and a ‘what do you expect us to do about it?’ attitude.
Where do you start? Well, you have to decide whether what you’re doing is giving you the results that you want. Usually when I ask someone this question the answer is, ‘No’. In that case I’m afraid that you have to accept that you have to make some changes in your approach to behaviour management. Believe me, when you do this, your life in the classroom becomes massively easier – reduced stress, better results. You can’t lose!!
Behaviour Bible tells you what you need to know about managing potentially difficult behaviour situations and creating a successful and productive classroom. Read, practise and implement.
Liz Marsden is a highly respected behaviour management specialist who manages challenging behaviour considered unmanageable by other teachers and professionals. Liz’s informative book Behaviour Bible offers invaluable information and instruction to help you manage your classroom effectively. You can also gain an insight into Liz’s work and her daily classroom experiences.