I was torn for session 4 between my personal preference and feeling I should attend a session to support my role as Director of English. I am glad I went with my gut feeling because Phil Beadle (who I have seen twice before) and John Murphy were INCREDIBLE!
Joining a new school can present challenges with regard to behaviour as students get used to you and your way of doing things. I was, therefore, really interested to refresh my thoughts on good behaviour management and pick up some new techniques.
Phil Beadle commands a room and it is clear that he has a great respect for John (who was new to me) so I was immediately intrigued to hear what they both had to say.
Good behaviour management stems from three things:
1) Environment – have we thought about our environment in being safe and suitable for the students we have in front of us?
2) Social Skills – most of what we communicate comes from our body language – how are we using our body language / facial expression to communicate positively with the students? The idea being that ‘Our belief about what is possible controls the outcomes we get” (Leo Busgalia) and that if we are thinking negatively about a class or a type of behaviour then this will transmit through our body.
3) Positive reinforcement (with an emphasis that reactive behaviour from a teacher is the worst form of behaviour management)
We were told that it was absolutely fundamental to remember:
It isn’t about you.
It isn’t about them.
It’s about the learning.
Three core ingredients are vital in teachers if good behaviour management is to ensue:
1) Consistency – the argument was whether we can be consistent with all students – do all students have the same starting points? Therefore, should we be treating students in the same way? For example, the student who genuinely cannot focus for very long could be given an egg timer set to 3 mins and then a reward given and then 3 mins again and then a reward given etc etc. We need to focus on the individuals and their needs.
2) Empathy – how do we create something new that promotes our empathy?
Some other helpful tips were:
1) The power of touch (a theme to be repeated later). For some students the only form of touch they get is an aggressive form so we need to educate students about how touch is a positive social trait.
2) When a student is reacting aggressively then 2 arm’s length is a good distance and a sure fire way of calming them down is a closed question that considers what the student needs at that moment such as ‘Do you want a glass of water?’
A 40 minute session was nowhere long enough for these two! I could have spent all day with them and, in actual fact, would love to spend all day with these two. Unfortunately this won’t happen in person but as second prize, I did go and purchase their book ‘Why are you shouting at us?’ which I cannot wait to read. I have high expectations of it being a gem!