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Any help to prepare for the arrival of a Traveller child?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by C_Palmer, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"><tr><td class="post">Hi TES forum members,
    I have just finished my NQT year in Foundation and have been making good use of the holiday to recover. I work in a two form entry rural school, where behaviour isn't much of an issue. During the transition days on the final weeks of last year, a Traveller family attended and left myself and all of the staff and children in a state of shock.
    My expectation is that this family will be bringing their child to the school in September, so I am looking for advice from you guys on how to best prepare for his arrival.
    This particular child, showed very little respect for the learning environment, the other children in the class and myself or my teaching assistant.
    So, that I can manage this child's behaviour to help enable him to achieve and develop effectively in my class, I was hoping that some of you maybe able to point me in the direction of some Traveller children at Primary schools specific websites, resources or even share in some of your experiences and how you managed the situation effectively.
    Thanks in advance for any support you might have [​IMG]
    </td></tr></table>
     
  2. Oh grow up, legoearth. The OP was asking for some constructive advice to help with the arrival of a child who has already proved to be very disruptive and difficult. Having a Traveller child who is not switched onto school and has very little concept of 'classroom mores' can be like having a little whirlwind in your classroom at first, so the OP is sensible to ask for help.
    There is plenty of research that supports the idea that providing Traveller-specific resources in a classroom can help Traveller children settle much more quickly and easily, and actualy enjoy coming to school. I know one school in Essex even went to the extent of replacing their home corner with a caravan corner for a while. The Traveller children (and their parents) were absolutely amazed and very touched by this relatively small gesture. Depending on your area you may be able to get some of the storybooks aimed at Traveller children via SLS - there is a good one about Gypsy horses and I know there are others.
     
  3. I thank you for you comment legoearth.
    I realise how my initial post can be read, but trust me I do not consider this child to be "an alien". The simple fact is that I want to know more about an area I have no prior experience with, I did not want to come across as if I were shocked by their possible arrival, rather seek some advice so that I can provide a learning environment that will meet the needs of this particular child.
    Furthermore, I can assure you that the family and their child where not treated any differently, in fact they received more time to talk with us then any other family. I am merely voicing my initial thoughts after witnessing the children within this family throwing trays of beads on the floor (then refusing to pick them up), shouting at other children within the class and purposefully ignoring adults attempting to simply have a chat.
    So I do apologise if I the meaning behind my initial post was confused, I am simply trying to do the best I can, to avoid incidents like the above happening and enabling this particular child to develop well within their new class.
     
  4. legoearth

    legoearth New commenter

    Sincere apologies but you did come across as a little bit flimsy. That was really immature of me to respond in such a way.
    My advice would be to find out as much as you can about Travellers and their way of life. I don't think I would go out and choose specific resources, just treat them as you would any other child and don't assume the behaviour is because they are travellers. I have been lucky enough to have taught traveller children along side children from many other ethnic backgrounds and believe me, almost all of the challenging behaviours were absolutely nothing to do with any of the children's ethnicity. Good luck but I don't think you'll need it, enjoy what differences this child might bring.
     
  5. leverarch1970

    leverarch1970 New commenter

    I also teach in a rural school at secondary level though. We have quite a regular intake of traveller/gypsy students. In the first couple of years that I joined, quite helpfully we had a staff briefing from a traveller liason officer who came to give us some tips...namely male traveller students often will get the last word in during a discussion/argument and your comment on the refusing to pick up the beads was highly reflective of my art colleagues discovery that when asking a student to help wash up paint trays was told "No, that's women's work". So be prepared in that regard.
    I have had good relationships with a couple of traveller lads I've taught I'm proud to say, but they tend to leave school early to go to work, so the school adapts to this and works with parents to get them in for exams etc. I've found a treat fair, give a little approach has worked...
    It can be quite interesting too - they may have their own language which when I asked one child to speak to me in I and the rest of the tutor group found it fascinating...we even had a travellers day for some of the traveller children (organised by a colleague) involving outdoor cooking, crafts etc. as some students now live in houses and of course are loosing touch with their culture. There was a good feedback from parents from this day.
    I hope any of this helps...
     
  6. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    Not with me.
    And people would have us respect this 'culture'.

     
  7. legoearth

    legoearth New commenter

    i get this attitude from a boy from another cultural/religious background, 'women's work' . I counter it by asking them to do as many 'girls jobs' as I can. Always with a smile and a 'not in my classroom'.
    I had a genuinely lovely boy this year with this attitude. He loved art but I insisted he did his fair share of pot washing. if he protested too loudly he got extra. It ended on the last day with a football challenge from me! He got a prize if he won and another if he lost. he won, of course, he was very good and I'm middle aged and creaky, and got his prize! A washing up sponge and rubber gloves. He thought it was hilarious so I gave him his other prize of some lovely arty pens. I think I got my message across, we are all the same so wont be treated any differently because of gender,culture,ethnicity or age! I'm a woman,and I can be funny and nice lol
    Treat them just the same as everybody else, just educate yourself so you know 'where they are coming from' so to speak.
     
  8. Legoearth - can you explain how you would have dealt with that child?
     
  9. legoearth

    legoearth New commenter

    Absolutely not. I wasn't there and it would be wrong to. I don't have any easy, 1 shot solutions. i deal with each incident depending on the circumstances and the child.
    I MAY have asked the child to pick up what he had thrown down. If he had refused,
    I MAY have offered to do it together ''I'll hold the box...'',
    I MAY then have ended up picking them up myself , making it quite clear that I wasn't happy having to do it. All the time showing that I am nice non-shouty person.
    I hope these ideas help .
     
  10. <font size="3">Hi all,</font> <font size="3">Thanks so very much for the input. </font>
    <font size="3"> </font><font size="3">I'm really looking forward to seeing how we get on this first term. I'm especially interested to see if he has this "that&rsquo;s womens work" attitude, as I am a male teacher and I'm almost obsessive about order and cleaning.</font>
    <font size="3"> All the best to you all for the New Year. </font><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font>
     
  11. shamsh

    shamsh Occasional commenter

    Talking to the parents can be really useful. Some (by no means all) of the traveller parents (and many non- traveller parents in the highly deprived area that I usually work in) have had patchy and sometimes very negative experiences of school and are pleasantly surprised by a welcoming and supportive atmosphere at school. Attendance can be an issue, which makes consistency difficult, but diversity in a classroom can be a brilliant learning resource on many levels.
     
  12. Maybe put yourself in the student's shoes? He too is very unfamiliar within your setting and has probably deduced from experience and from the affirmations of his peers that non travelers are suspicious and condescending towards them. There is a strong importance placed on male dominance and gender roles and i imagine he is perhaps amplifying the only behaviour he knows to save face and maintain his own respect. Maybe a quiet word with him might help?
     
  13. I know you may already have done this, but just in case - some Local Authorities have a specialist service for supporting traveller children (Gloucestershire does, although they have recently announced it is to be closed soon and all provision withdrawn). The expertise and knowledge of the teachers working in this service is invaluable and if you can access it, it should help you support the child in question and any traveller children (and others in similar circumstances) that you may teach in the future.
    Depending on the age of the child, it can help to tell the child that they may find some of the school routines confusing (they probably will) and give them a set time when they can come and speak to you about this, so you can explain the reasons for what is confusing them, and the benefits of conforming - and the sanctions for not doing so. It may seem so obvious but some children need to be told that you are there to support THEIR learning, not embarrass or punish them for not knowing or understanding school routines when these are beyond their current experience. Your example in front of the other children will have a huge effect on the way the peer group support the settling-in of this child too, so your concern to get this right is a very positive approach. Good luck.
     

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