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A Sanction based approach does not work and behaviour and discipline are not priorites in an EBD school.

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by fortasse, May 26, 2011.

  1. FAO Bigkid: "I believe that learning is the priority and behaviour and discipline are of secondary importance in that they are only relevant if they impact on learning" - doesn't behaviour always have an impact on learning? What sort of examples of "bad behaviour" that doesn't have an impact on learning do you have in mind?
  2. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    That depends what you mean by "bad behaviour" and what you consider to be a significant impact on learning.
    If a pupil spends 5 minutes doodling or staring out the window that is "bad behaviour". However provided it is 5 minutes and not the whole lesson it will have minimal impact on their learning and no impact at all on anyone elses.
    There are lots of things that I would class as "bad behaviour" that taken in isolation have minimal impact on the pupils learning or anyone elses.
    Not wearing the correct uniform for example
    Chewing gum generally doesn't have much impact on learning
    While truancy has a negative impact on the learning of the pupil concerned it generally has a positive impact on the learning of everyone else in the class.
  3. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Very sensible and considered posts, bigkid. I agree with just about everything you say, and where I disagree, it's so minor as to not be an issue at all.
    And of course, for many EBD kids, doodling and chewing are essential to help them learn. A doodling chewer with hyperactivity disorder isn't necessarily disengaged - in fact, their "bad behaviour" might actually be helping them focus. That's the problem with a "sanctions" approach - it can sometimes rigidly stick to "rules" which then have to be enforced.
  4. mrjack

    mrjack Occasional commenter

    Chewing or doodling! bloody hell! I'm not talking about that neither do I consider them bad behaviour to be honest. I'm talking about biting staff, punching them, trashing rooms, turning tables over, throwing stools and chairs, trashing other peoples work, smoking openly, smashing windows and squaring up to staff!
  5. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    Anything a pupil does that I don't want them to be doing is bad behaviour in my book.
    I've been bitten, hit repeatedly (by pupils and parents), had chairs thrown at me,dealt with sexual assault, bullying, vandalism, knives and on one occasion a gun in school.
    It doesn't change my opinion that the focus should be on learning. When behaviour is dealt with it should be clear to the pupil that the focus is on learning and how their behaviour impacts on their learning and the learning of others.
    I found that more effectively a school, HT, management team or teacher deals with the little things the less likely pupils are to do the things you described. Obviously some pupils have serious emotional or psychological problems and less control over their behaviour.
    However since I moved from a school with a sanctions based system to one without one I have had significantly less problems with behaviour without changing my practice that much. This is simply because my new school deals with the little things far more effectively so the system does not get overloaded as I described earlier. Same LA, same sort of pupils for the most part.

  6. The obvious question is how does your school deal with the little things - what is this non sanctions based system actually like?
  7. Does this mean you'd work under a head who created a draconian behaviour policy because 'he or she is the head, and that's the policy you are working under'?
  8. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    The behaviour policy and the anti-bullying policy are extremely woolly and vague (deliberately). I have repeatedly suggested they be tightened up for the benefit of new staff. However the vagueness allows flexibility that is often lacking in sanctions based systems.
    Staff turnover is extremely low which helps with behaviour and relationship building but new staff can struggle to establish themselves in the absence of a sanctions based system.
    I deal with most things myself. If something is an ongoing problem I inform the tutor, the massively overworked head of year and sometimes the parents.
    Pupils know that if they cross my lines they will be inconvienced and that I will be supported in doing so (the key point). As there isn't a sanctions based system what I choose to do (detentions, community service, extra homework, etc) is up to me. Once I refer something up the food chain what happens is up to whoever I refer it to. This is sometimes a problem as what I would do is sometimes tougher. This is one of the reasons I try to deal with most things myself (with support if needed.
    I find that what happens is less important than the inevitability that something inconvenient will happen to a pupil that misbehaves and that the school will support staff in making sure that sanctions actually happen. More often than not in my experience the lack of consistent support is more of a problem in schools than the nature of the behaviour policy or sanctions.
  9. 'On top of this the management of some schools surreptitiously undermine staff rather than support them'
    This is true too. Can you suggest why.... apart from pusillanimity .. they do that?
  10. A good question - further to other answers I would say;
    • It is easier for managers to deny that problems exist rather than face up to them.
    • It is easier to blame others for problems than deal with them themselves.
    • In order to climb the ladder in teaching it is better to be an effective bullshitter than a capable individual - the perception of good work counts for more than good work itself.
    • Good staff are held back because managers actually believe in ******** or recognise good staff as a threat to their own position.
    • No one can decide what the aim of education actually is.
    There are some good managers out there but, by and large, teaching leaders are more out of touch, incompetent or self serving than the leaders of any other industry I've worked in.
  11. Most of the above amounts to a description of a scapegoating, bullying work environment? How did we allow THAT to come about?
  12. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    In my experience the system itself creates management unwillingness to deal with behaviour.
    <ol>[*]Schools get financially penalised for excluding pupils. [*]Too many external exclusions trigger an OFSTED[*]Internal exclusion numbers are now also monitored by OFSTED i believe[*]This means that some SLTs will desperately try to minimise the number of exclusions in a variety of different ways.</ol>This is a problem because, for some pupils, sanctions simply are not enforcable because the pupils know full well they won't be kicked out if they truant, swear, run away and generally do not comply with detentions, sanctions etc. Once some pupils figure out that they probably won't be thrown out for anything less than criminal behaviour (and possibly not even then in my experience) they cease to respect the authority of SLT. This means that SLT don't have any joy enforcing sanctions or dealing with poor beahviour of some pupils either. Many stop trying. If you were a deputy head and someone brought you a miscreant to deal with what would you do if you knew full well that they would tell you to **** yourself and not get excluded for it because the school for whatever reason cannot afford to exclude any more children?
    The following strategies have been used by SLT during my teaching career to avoid actually dealing with poor behaviour (note that some of them might, to the layperson or NQT, appear to be dealing with poor behaviour others do not). If you are not familiar with any of the jargon please feel free to ask. It might be unique to the school. I sincerely hope some of it is unique. I would hate to see the proliferation of such nonsense
    <ol>[*]Drag pupil to you to deliver a surly, grudging, insincere apology[*]Hide in the toilet for 45 minutes and pretend the fight in the corridor isn't happening[*]Put them in "learn to learn"[*]Put them in "Sports Mentoring"[*]Stick them in "chimney sweep studies" away from the academic kids[*]Put them on report to their form tutor, followed by their head of year when that fails,SLT when that fails and then straight back to the form tutor (who is usually more effective) when that fails, and so on ad infinitum[*]Never speak to challenging pupils [*]Get involved in a Benny Hill style chase around the school with the truants[*]Bounce all referals to the Head of Year or straight back to the teacher.[*]"What did you do to provoke....?"[*] Bring in a sanctions based behaviour policy and then fail to support teachers that attempt to use it and exert a huge amount of pressure on staff to not use it properly and "selectively ignore" the overwhelming majority of appalling behaviour. (I was once told, when being observed, that I should have ignored a pupil that called me a f**king c**t rather than having him removed from the room)</ol>I could go on...

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