My favourite book this year is from UK education expert Paul Dix. In the book, Dix highlights the vital importance of relationships in getting the school culture right. In behaviour management, culture eats strategy for breakfast. With the right culture the strategies that are used become less important. The culture is set by the way that the adults behave.
The answer lies in the ability of adults to deliver behaviour policy and practice that is simple, highly effective and utterly consistent. However, and here is the KEY POINT, it needs to be a consistency rooted in kindness, not in machismo of zero tolerance.
If adults build relationships based on kindness and respect, it takes the pressure away from the hierarchical nature of ever increasingconsequences. Dix suggests there are some horrific models of practice where consistency is not kind but bullying. This is consistency for control and force. He says we need to strip back the sea of punishments and remove the bureaucratic chaos that sucks teaching time away. In some schools, small incidents are escalating up the hierarchy too quickly, students are dropping through the gaps in the system and the internal referral room is full to bursting with angry students.
The three key aspects are:-
- Kindness and
The best schools have a behaviour management plan that is based on tight agreements, simply framed and relentlessly pursued. Behaviour management is a team sport
Heavy punishment may seem to crush behaviour in the short-term, it may even remove the problem for the teacher temporarily, but it doesn’t teach improved future behaviour to those who really need to learn it. Students need to be taught and retaught expected behaviours. This is critical in a secondary school where students are moving between teachers.
The simplest shortcut to being famous in a classroom or school is being badly behaved.
Students who behave badly in class need a private word, a reminder, a warning or perhaps an immediate proportionate consequence.
Heavy and disproportionate punishment has many after-effects and they are long-lasting. Burying students in punishment build a deep resentment. More ferocious punishment does not result in better behaviour. It simply drives resentment underground and divides the adults and students into two separate camps, ‘them’ and ‘us’.
I’d highly recommend reading “When The Adults Change – Everything Changes”. You can check it out here.