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Is it ever appropriate for a child to do what they want?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by janiel1, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. We have a child in school with severe emotional needs and it has been advised by external agencies that due to outbursts of anger, violence and absconding that if he chooses not to be in class he can choose something else to do instead. What is everyone's opinions on this? There are rewards in place for this child but when he is choosing his own activities the rewards suddenly seem redundant to me. How will we ever encourage this child back into class after allowing free reign to do what he likes?
  2. In theory it seems self-defeating, but in reality it's exactly what he needs. His behaviour identifies that he has a serious 'flee' reflex from classroom situations, his behaviour shows anxiety and stress. He needs support on managing this anxiety and stress in order to full integrate back into the classroom. Keeping a distressed and potentially dangerous child in a classroom will only put yourself and other children at risk.
  3. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    If the child's removal from the classroom doesn't affect the other children, then this might very well be a useful strategy for the short term- as the poster says above, it could be a useful way of encouraging him to see the classroom as a safe space.
    BUT...the big problem as I see it is that rarely will this type of strategy leave the other children unaffected- they'll look at this kid, and think, 'Holy Smoke, look what he gets away with because he kicks off.' And then who could blame them for thinking that normal classroom rules don't always apply? It's a powerful way of disrupting the order of the room. Cries of 'unfair' will ring around the class. And they'll be quite right.
    The other problem is that this strategy will teach the child that he can do as he pleases. And where, apart from the odd tolerant classroom, will this be a life skill that is worth encouraging? He needs to learn restraint and self-governance. And if he is capable of neither then he needs to be taken from the mainstream environment and given the kind of personal attention that he needs in order to flourish. The idea that this is best done in a mainstream class is not self evident.
    Unfortunately these kind of strategies are often presented by educational consultants who have a responsibility for the individual child, but little understanding of the needs of the twenty five other kids in the room...or indeed the teaching professional.
    That's my opinion :)
  4. That's my opinion :)'

    And you are RIGHT.
  5. thequillguy

    thequillguy New commenter

    What I like about Tom's posts are that while he write in a moderate tone, he doesn't shy from clearly expressed and pertinent truths.

    It's the jobs of some (parents, some TAs, some consultants) to push the needs of one child over those of another. They will, undoubtedly have some effect on the average classroom teacher (i.e. irate parent complaining incessantly about homework levels.) It's up to our professionalism, though, to make some sort of judgement of how to balance the needs of all our students.

    On something little related to this thread (sorry!) it appears that a student in our school who is not available to function in the PRU due to disruptive behaviour is to be returned to mainstream school full-time as a consequence. Broken system, much? As Tom says, if the PRU can't help him, the mainstream environment certainly can't. And, in fact, he'll affect adversely the education of dozens of others in the course of failing to do so - some successes are possible, yes, but at what price (and message) to others?

    And on a final thing... if this is all a lack of money that causes a lack of places or specialised services, I warrant it'll cost a hell of a lot more money managing the social issues caused when such disaffected pups spill out into mainstream society as big bad dogs.
  6. Waiguoren

    Waiguoren Occasional commenter

    Agreed - always a pleasure to read!
  7. Agreed.

  8. But getting people with a vested interest in BEING RIGHT .. or in getting votes.... to LISTEN to clear truths expressed in a moderate tone, is the great challebge in this age of 'experts', isn't it.
    When are we going to get an 'edit' button?????
  10. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Thank you, that's very kind.
    The way I understand it, a view is equally true, whether it's shouted, snarled or softly spoken. And I hate to see discussions about things that really matter degenerate into sniping, and incivility. It scares off the punters :)
  11. thequillguy

    thequillguy New commenter

    Just read this thread again - this is particularly pertinent considering the recent This is Essex programme with Mr G - sorry, Mr D! :-D

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