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The big tissue of lies around behaviour.

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by teacherish, Oct 25, 2006.

  1. Another backup for doglover.

    I have a daughter diagnosed with Aspergers.

    Prefaced by the statement that Kids behaviour MUST be moved effectively to be the best that they are capable of for them and others. That is in their interests and we let them down if we fail to take on that challenge.

    But it must be done in a compassionate, effective, realistic and humane way.

    Tallek, your move on the sharpener worked out ok (maybe) but it was very arrogant of you to ignore a diagnosis so blithely.

    If you had tried that with my daughter having been warned not to you would have been faced with a desperately stressed child screaming abuse at you. You would have been traumatised (yes, you would) and she would have been exhausted for the rest of the day.

    You were playing a dangerous game, and one day it will bite you on the ****.

    Aperger kids aversions are very real and forcing them to 'face' them can be incredibly stressful.

    Sure a firm teacher CAN get the behaviour they want but the analogy I often use is that we can all stand on one leg. For a time. But try doing it all day long. Asperger kids know that at times they have to make a special effort to 'stand on one leg' our job is partly to teach them to judge when that is. That is not what you did.

    I am not saying this kid was not pulling a fast one, kids with aspergers have al the usual kid foibles aswell; but you discovered that via a risky experiment, ignoring the advice of colleagues. A bit arrogant IMO.

    Ignorant/Arrogant teachers will often force a child with special needs to behave correctly then when the child does so they lean back with a smug grin and say "See he can do it for me, it just takes a little discipline" as if all their colleagues are naive fools.

    Yes, he can, and I could make a Y11 stand on one leg for a whole lesson, but I pity the poor sod who gets him next lesson.

    You could enforce compliance on the next aspergers kid you get that finds something difficult, say using a laser mouse rather than a ball mouse. But maybe just maybe when they get home the kid is so upset that the parents lives are made a misery, because you would not fetch the child a ball mouse, because you insisted on control.

    That sort of thing happens. Its NOT a choice by the child, their anxiety can be as concrete a limit on their abilities as blindness.

    You can see the wheelchair, the white stick and the hearing aid, you cannot see psychological/neurological issues. They are no less real

    You should approach these situations with a little more humility in future. Even if you got lucky this time.
  2. Oh and can we ALL stop conflating special needs kids with the naghty little bast*rds who strut round our playgrounds in little gangs ignoring teachers, wearing their ties round their knees and dawdling to lessons like snails on valium. You know the ones that can but won't the ones who DO need a kick up the ****.

    The two groups are very different and in MANY cases the one preys on the other, the venn style overlap is there, but its not vast. I'd say 20%.
  3. Brettgirl and Tarrek - I totally 100% agree with what you say.

    I have 6 children with Aspergers in my year group, each one totally different to the last (although they're all really bad at crossing the road...)

    One is a real tantrumer but was starting to refuse to go to his lessons because he didn't want to (has never liked school) and preferred to lie down in the medical room. On the first day I was as sympathetic as I could be, although he had no reason that he could explain as to why he didn't want to go (and we went through nearly every angle) but when it came to the second day and he said he felt like lying down again I said to him that I was happy for him to do that, and then to help him catch up with his work after school.

    Suddenly he made a really miraculous recovery, didn't feel tired any more and felt he could manage his lessons fine.

    He hasn't felt like a lie down since...

    Some kids are manipulative, and in this instance, this particular cycle was stopped.

  4. Have children not always had problems? Growing up on a council estate many of my friends had **** home lives and lived in poor housing with poor parental support. Some were "bad lads" but they knew when to stop. In fact, must did well at school as they knew it was their escape to a better life! Subsequently, many of them now live lives they wouldn't have dreamt of when at school!
  5. The other cost of inclusion not yet mentioned is financial.
    The cost of specialist teachers' aides and equipment (visual/audio/motor)could be better spent.
  6. It's been fascinating reading the posts on this thread. I taught in two schools in the UK before moving to the international arena 4 years ago. In both schools there were many, many pupils with various SEN and many more who had apalling home lives.

    Not surprisingly, there was a considerable amount of what we used to euphemistically refer to as 'challenging' behaviour. I have had my fair share of pupils refusing to work, verbal abuse, being physically threatened, witnessing furniture being thrown around, fights breaking out as well as having pupils with ADHD in my classes etc. etc.

    The one thing that used to really get to me was that I always felt unqualified to deal with SEN and the more 'extreme' behaviour.

    That's because I was, and still am, unqualified in that area.

    I am a secondary school teacher. I teach English and my degree was in Literature. I can tell you all about metaphysical poetry, Shakespeare, subordinate clauses and discourse markers but I am not a SENCO, an Ed. Psych. and did not spent 3 years on a pschology degree.

    With the inclusion of so many pupils in mainstream schools who do have SEN, including behavioural problems, can it be reasonable to expect teachers who are specialits in their own subject areas, areas they have chosen to pursue because they love them, are good at them and want to share their knowledge and love of that subject with young people, to suddenly, seemingly overnight, become specialists in dealing with SEN?

    It's all very well saying that teachers need to take time to understand the pupils they teach, that they need to use specific behaviour management techniques for different pupils, tailored to each student's needs, blah blah blah, but surely it's about as realistic to expect them to suddenly become experts in this as it is for me to walk into a classroom and start teaching advanced physics?

    Oh, and while all these teachers who have spent a minimum of 4 years training to become subject specialists are struggling to get to grips with a whole new 'subject specialism' they're also still supposed to plan and deliver fantastic, interactive lessons, stay on top of all the paperwork, contribute to extra-curricular activites and so on and so on ...? Obviously, the same applies to those who teach in Primary.

    Maybe I am being naive, maybe PGCEs have changed over the last 10 years to now include detailed training on dealing with the extreme behaviour and SEN found in schools in order to fully prepare NQTs but somehow I don't think so. Teachers need far more support and their incredible hard work, day in day out, in the attempt to actually do their job - i.e. teach - in the face of behaviour that would never be tolerated elsewhere, needs to be recognised.

    This is not an issue where there are easy answers - it's complex and not just about schools and teachers. But teachers' lives are in no way made any easier by the often unrealistic expectations put on them by SMT and the public at large.
  7. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Fantastic post, misspitstop! I hope TES print it in their newspaper.
  8. Thanks Jubilee, just giving my honest opinions, for what they're worth.

    miss p
  9. misspitstop,

    I did my PGCE two years ago. Total time spent on behaviour management: 4hrs.

    Didn't really prepare for my first day as a NQT when a bunch of older children decided to crash my classroom in the middle of my lesson...
  10. madwoman

    madwoman New commenter

    Frees spirit "They decided he was autistic and had ADHD. I think that is an insult to truly autistic kids. He knew damn well what he was doing. Apparently he was good as gold at home. He CHOSE when to behave and when not to. I don't think that's a marker of an autistic child. Anyway, he had about a million points on his behaviour log and nothing ever happened to him."

    who is 'they?' Any child with ADHD cannot just choose when to behave and if he was 'good' at home
    then the diagnosis certainly wou;dn't be ADHD as the symptoms have to displayed in various settings.

    What a sensible post by misspitstop. Thats what it boils down to really isn't it?

    Teachers are not qualified to make judgements about a childs condition - specialists do that, nor are they equipped to teach SEN effectively.

    If inclusion is to work much more training is required and (trained) in class support is necessary

  11. Labelling is an issue here as well...

    Tick a few boxes on a badly photocopied form, speak to someone with a GSCE in psychology and a child is on their way to being diagnosed!!!

    And the SEN and advisory teachers from the LEA - What a joke!! They just churn out the same bog standard info!!!
    The best is when they just send you the same form and just change the child's name. Funny though when they forget to change the 'he / she... ' !
  12. #89 - If inclusion is to work much more training is required and (trained) in class support is necessary

    Ummmmm....."if inclusion is to work...."

    Y'see, this is what I take exception to. Inclusion DOESN'T work (not in my experience) so why should beleagured teachers HAVE to make it work? Because the Government says it's right and proper that children with special needs aren't excluded?

    In theory, we SHOULDN'T exclude children with special needs. However, some special needs require a lot of imput from a SPECIALIST teacher so that a child will fully benefit from being in a classroom with others who don't have learning handicaps.

    SOME special needs are behavioural - and those behaviours are disruptive, so much so that a patient TA and an IEP make not a jot of difference to the dynamics of a lesson. A lesson can be in tatters when just one child plays up - and that behaviour has a knock-on effect, as we all know. Others, those perfectly capable of getting on with their work, don't. They too want special attention, they too make the most of the disruption. If we set that sort of example in the classroom - that bad behaviour is pandered to, and that it's a bit of a lark to mess around and have the teacher tearing his hair out to find solutions - then we are doomed.

    Some special needs have to be tackled outside the mainstream classroom.

    It is totally unfair on kids who would otherwise behave in a reasonably studious manner to subject them to children who refuse to get on with their work, who challenge a teacher's authority, who swear, refuse to sit down, and will not cooperate in any way shape or form to the rules of the classroom and the school.

    Why should the vital resource to learning - the teacher - all of a sudden become a watered down and frazzled version for kids who'd make normal progress if their teacher didnt have to give most of his/her time and attention to disruptives? Is that inclusion? Is that fair? Inclusion means ensuring all have the same opportunities to learn - none are excluded? I'd say a lot of hard-working, bright kids - or even the plodders - are excluded now in the mainstream classrooom. If not excluded, I'd say they were seriously disadvantaged by this policy. Where is the fair deal for all?

    Analogies? It's like throwing a petrol bomb into a factory full of fireworks. Who wants to be putting out fires all day instead of teaching?

    It's like downloading a virus into a computer. The thing won't work.....no two ways about it, and I think it's impractical and totally unfair to expect teachers to have to find the solutions to this injustice and iniquity of the government's making....

    In doing so, teachers are having to work in the most night-marish of classroom situations.
  13. hannahzed

    hannahzed New commenter

    I work within SEN also, and think you have made some excellent points, i have been recently moved to another unit with far more challenging behaviours, and am expected to get on with it, even though my Team Teach is well out of date, and who would be accountable if something happended, ME!
  14. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    I love it when you get replies to threads that have been hanging since the days of Disco. It's like a scene from 'The Lakehouse' with the leaden Keanu Reeves and America's permaditz everywoman sweetheart Sandra Bullock. Look out for the car!
  15. I agree with you. I worked in England for one year and one year was enough. I came back to Ireland to teach here because the expectations from the children in terms of behaviour are generally higher. It was the worst experience of my life that year!! It is frightening some of the things that are happening in British schools. We need to STOP wrapping our children up in cotton wool, stop molly-coddliing them and get them to act responsibly. If this doesn't happen soon, we are heading for a future generation who cannot cope with the challenges this world will bring them. We are doing our children a massive disservice by not discipling them appropriately. What are they going to do when they are in jobs? Do they think they can storm out of a meeting or verbally abuse a colleague just because they feel like it? They will not get away with this! No employer will put up with this nonsense. Government says that we need to prepare children for life and work. Well here is the tough truth, children: life is no picnic and only those who put effort and work into life will ever get anything out of it!
  16. I have been teaching a while and when at school was reasonably well behaved.
    Yes children choose to make certain choices others are just mirroring behaviour at home. I was good because the rules at home were similar to rules at school.
    Sadly in some homes the rules are so distinctly different a child gets quickly confused.
    ADHD is not a 'naughty syndrome'. Autism is an issue though and so is Tourettes.
    No they were not big names when lots of us were at school but they existed. I sat next to a boy with Tourettes. He was bright and well behaved except for his occasional shouting out of random words. He would sit sometimes squerming to stop his mouth opening. I met him recently and he told me he had Tourettes caused in part by his anxieties when in a group of people. He is fine now as he avoids large groups and when he does find himself in one his anxieties have moved him into attaining a terrible stammer.
    I work in an SEBD primary school and when we get new pupils they are difficult to manage but within a few weeks are attending as the others do.Partly through peer pressure and partly through staff working hard to unpick the behaviour and identifying what lies behaind it. Sometimes a hidden learning disabilty and sometimes abuse. The last 2 years our pupils' behaviour has improved as they have disclosed a variety of issues from home from bereavements that were never dealt with properly right through to serious child abuse. Once the pupils trusted us they stopped acting out - it takes a long time but now our progress shows CVA at 102.4 and our we have hit 60% for level 4s in the yr 6 SATs. Truancy is all but erradicated too.
    So yes parental influences can be blamed as can sheer defiance but behaviour is a game which has some consistant rules on both sides and if viewed in this way it is not too difficult to win again and again.
    Also I have been viewed as a loony liberal but once schools have witnessed my work and taken my advice which is not wet and sloppy they change their minds. Behaviour is a part of the job, just as helping and supporting the child with dyslexia or the child frightened of school, so behaviour is an issue we are responsible for (it is in the job description and takes up as much space on the page as the entitlement to the broad and balanced curriculum).
  17. garyconyers

    garyconyers New commenter

    An interesting post, Colin. You work in an SEBD school - I presume that was your choice.
    I think post 91 (Arched eyebrow) is spot on about inclusion, what do you think of SEBD children being in mainstream schools? A good or bad idea?
  18. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    hello colin,
    i take your point,but, when does a normal teacher in a normal school have the time and training to pick out the causes of unacceptable behaviour and then resolve them? Cos this is what I was being asked to do before I left the UK. "Get to know the students","Build a relationship","plan interesting lessons" were all SMT-speak for "just get on with it and make sure that our value added isnt affected". I had some severely damaged students who needed help from child psychologists, medical doctors and the police and should never have been placed in mainstream schooling, but there they were. I then had to be creative in how I devised ways of getting those students out of lessons where they dragged everybody else down. Does that sound harsh? It was all I could do. Then I left the UK.
  19. I have to say one of the least disruptive students i taught ahd ADHD, aspergers and a hearing impairment.
    OK so FE is different but I could set the class off on task and as I was answering questions for the majority he would get on and do his work. He would then (it was an IT class) start to play games on the internet, and I let him. This was my 'reasonable adjustment' - he did as much work in half the class as the rest did in the full lesson.

    if any of them noticed and complained then I would tell them that if they completed their work then they could also have free time on the internet.
  20. Am 26. Yes, yes yes - I was mostly top-setted and even those would include a disruptive (while also intelligent) character or two - and often said characters were actually funny and set the class off. He didn't turn up to several of his GCSE exams and would often be sent out/stormed off. We did fairly well though, I don't remember it being a real disruption to my own learning.
    Remember being sat in maths when the corridors in the Maths block started ringing with the roaring of a boy and the headmaster - he had been called to deal with one boy (double-barrelled surname, rich, arrogant, INCREDIBLY disruptive to his classes) who was clearly playing up to a high level - I seem to remember the words (or similar) in reply to whatever this boy had said "NEVER, in my X years as a teacher have I EVER knowns a boy so INSOLENT!" ... I think he was expelled not long afterwards...
    I was never the subversive type to keep details from teachers. generally I was hacked off at the people not being caught so was happy to provide information.
    Didn't see any of the inter-teacher stuff, though I daresay it went on.
    I was also in a primary class who actually misbehaved enough to drive away a supply teacher. She shouted at us, telling us we were the worst class she had ever taught - before she stormed off. I think that was year 5 - it's probably quite telling that my memory of it still amuses me... Most of that was due to disruption by some of the naughtier boys, and giggles/encouragement from the rest of the class... good times...
    I do however seem to remember for many subjects we had sets 1-5, then an SEN class. Is this what no longer happens?

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