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Teachers to learn neuroscience to cope with SEN 'avalanche'

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by gailrobinson, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. A report in this week's TES suggests that teachers should be trained in neuroscience and its consequences on
    classroom behaviour so they can cope with the growing numbers of
    children with severe physical and mental disorders.
    Do you think this would be useful? Do you realistically have the time to learn all this stuff?
    Read the full article - Teachers to learn neurosciece to cope with SEN 'avalanche'
    Gail
     
  2. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Not only do teachers not have time to learn this stuff, it isn't necessary. We're not there to diagnose, medicate or nurse; we're there to teach. Behaviour management doesn't require neuroscience- it requires a cool head, a firm nerve and clear boundaries. If a child is genuinely so far removed from the spectrum of normal behaviour that they can't cope with a mainstream environment then they shouldn't be taught in a mainstream context, and better provision needs to be made.
    A greater emphasis on treating human behaviour as the product of physical, medical processes leads to a greater emphasis on the helplessness of human behaviour in the face of physical determinism. And a greater emphasis on equating human will with materialist invariables leads to the sacrifice of the concept of human volition. Which in turn sacrifices all human values based on autonomy, independent thought, and the belief in the human spirit to control first order desires. And that leads to nihilism, fatalism, and a load of other isms that chill the blood.
    Until someone actually proves to me that human behaviour is entirely the result of geometrically predictable causal laws (and...actually no one has ever proved that), I'll continue to believe that we are responsible for our behaviour; that we all have characters with varying levels of disposition towards various vices and virtues; that we play the hand we're dealt; that we, and only we, can be held to account for our behaviour; that good behaviour should be rewarded, and bad behaviour punished and discouraged. And that our lives have meaning.
    http://behaviourguru.blogspot.com/
     
  3. Seriously? Perhaps we could throw them all onto an island and be done with it.
     
  4. I'd be strongly opposed to a single "familiarisation" or similar unit in teacher training course.
    As a specialist tutor I couldn't count the number of times I've spent most of an assessment interview calming or settling down a seriously distressed parent. Why? Not because of what I find or say, but because some clown of a teacher has suggested that a child has an ASD or some other specific undesirable condition. What I normally find is some variant of vision or hearing problems - and the child's way of coping(?) is to display a range of behaviours which might overlap with those typical of neuro disorders of the more serious kind. (Usually the more serious cases have some sort of problem with short-term memory.)
    It would be far better - far, far better - to emphasise a teacher's interpersonal skills by further training. We might be absolutely certain in our own minds that a student is exhibiting signs of ....... but the important thing is not what we think, it's getting the parent to acknowledge that a full-scale ed psych assessment is the right approach. The dealing-with-a-child skills of a teacher often become ham-handedness in dealing with adults. Learning how to say, I think an assessment is vital for your child - while staying well away from what you yourself think about the likely outcome of that assessment - is a valuable skill.
    This is an area where "A little learning is a dangerous thing" is a truism.
     
  5. garyconyers

    garyconyers New commenter

    I agree with Tom. I'm not sure what your objections are dc88.
    There are children in mainstream schools who cannot cope with the school environment. They need specialist individual attention that mainstream schools just cannot provide. These children can't be happy constantly getting into trouble, eg due to EBD issues. It does them, nor the school, any good.
    Teachers can be trained to make allowances, but its unreasonable for other children to show the same patience all the time.
    Schools with the facilities and staff ratios to cope with EBD children would benefit these children, who could succeed where they couldn't in mainstream school.


    How on earth does that equate to 'throw them (sic) on an island"?
     
  6. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    It might help me understand why a child behaves the way they do, but I bet the way to deal with the behaviour is the same. Firm boundaries, assertive confident manner of the teacher, praise and consistent consequences for poor behaviour. How is neuroscience going to help me with a child whose behaviour is such because his mum neglects him and he idolises his criminal cousin?
     
  7. I want to reply to the comments made, but typing it on a forum bit by bit is very difficult. I appreciate it's not always clear cut, but in reply to a comment above... I believe that every child has the right to attend a mainstream school, until is becomes impractical. It shouldn't be the first go-to after a teacher has a stressful term.
     
  8. garyconyers

    garyconyers New commenter

    I agree with this. What you and I see as 'impractical' may not be the same.

     
  9. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    If the teacher has had a stressful term that it is likely that the children in the class are not learning well either. The other children in the class have the right to learn as well.
     
  10. thequillguy

    thequillguy New commenter

    As a matter of diversionary interest, a teacher I know who I find who deals very well with disruptive behaviour from EBD students has training in both counselling and police interviewing (!) from members of our governing body. He's much admired for his techniques, although he's probably just more conscious of how he does what many good teachers do too.

    However, he has recently started down the route of pop-psychology. For example, when he talks to us about how he might best help to manage a student with their EBD needs, while he sounds convincing, I can't help but think that he's entirely untrained (and possibly a little bit dangerous).
     
  11. Non-scientist, with invested interests, leads study concluding that teachers should study neuroscience, while at the same time highlighting his lack of understanding on the topic.
    I suggest he is simply ignored.

     

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