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What do I do with them?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Kelloggs, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. Kelloggs

    Kelloggs New commenter

    I am so desperate! I have a year 4 class which is overall lovely. However, there are 2 boys who just will not follow instructions. One of them has major anger issues - stems from home - but he thinks he can do what he likes - he wanders around the classroom and when he is asked to sit down he will either do it reluctantly (this is on a good day) or he will throw his arm in the air, start shouting and kick his chair and then sit and refuse to acknowledge anything any adult says. He is violent in the playground and has punched children in my class. Strategies tried are: warning, then he gets 5 mins timeout (but half the time he refuses to leave the room so the Head has to be called to remove him), missed break-times, he has a behaviour chart which has clear steps as to what behaviour is expected for him to earn the reward - if he earns the majority of them daily, he gets extra playtime at the end of the day, which accumulates to additional football time on a Friday. He has a playground passport as he has caused so many incidents on the playground, so if he gets a sad face, he misses the next break-time, where he will sit outside the classroom and throw things around as he is angry. He is positively praised when he is good, but he does not appear bothered about this at all!

    I am at my wits end - I just don't know how to make him behave - he refuses to talk to me or the TAs in the class other than to be rude and kick chairs around. When he is not doing that, he is refusing to do any work - he will sit there and refuse point blank until he has been threatened with the head then he huffs and puffs and winds himself up until he is in a rage. I am in a school where behaviour is seen as being a failure on the teacher for engaging the children - the majority are fine, but this boy and another are a real challenge, and I need some further constructive advice,
  2. Zadok1

    Zadok1 New commenter

    It sounds to me like you have tried all the best ways to try and engage him and it's still failing.I would move on and try a totally different approach.
    Restorative justice is used for conflict resolution in lots of situations now and might just engage this child... but you would probably have to stick with it for a while before you would see results. I used it very successfully in a secure unit, which I know if very different to a 9 year old boy but you seem to have tried everything else.
    The basic principals of restorative justice are that the fabric of your society (your class) has been broken or torn by the person's behaviour and they need to find a way to repair the damage done. So rather than saying you did this wrong and here is your punishment for doing that, you ask him questions and explore how his actions have affected others in order to determine how to repair the damage.
    The basic questions are below... and they really can work. The first principal is that you never ask the person why they did something... because they usually don't know why.
    So when he has done something that was disruptive take him on one side (you might need someone to support your class for you to do this but if the head keeps having to come remove him... why not try doing this while they're there) Alternately you could give up one of your breaks when he has been kept in and try doing this. Ask the following questions and develop what he tells you... you might be surprised by what he tells you.
    What happened?
    How did it happen?
    What part did you play in it?
    How were you affected/who was affected?
    What do you need to make it right?
    How can we repair the harm?

    You need to be prepared to find that the child's perception of what took place will probably be totally different to yours, but listen because it might give you important indicators as to what is going on in his head. Before you get to the bits about how to repair the damage you should tell the boy your own perception of what took place in very reasonable terms that he will understand, use the questions you asked him to form your own answers, you could even give him a card with them written on and ask him to ask you the questions. In that way you could start by saying I'm going to ask you some questions and then I want you to ask me the same questions, kids like the perception of equality in that way and being treated as a 'grown up'.
    You need to be prepared to be told some 'truths' you might be surprised by, he might tell you that you had ignored him and so he kicked off, he might tell you your lesson was **** and so he couldn't be bothered, he might even tell you the kid beside him stinks and so he wanted to be sent out. The next part is designed for him to recognise his own behaviour and the effect it has on others, so tell him how his behaviour spoils the lesson for others and upsets or frightens some of the kids, tell him that you personally are upset because you spent time preparing the lesson and he spoiled it. Tell him that when he breaks or damages things the school has to replace them and that means there is less money for the more fun things as a direct result of his behaviour.
    Then comes the tricky bit... the reparation has to fit the bill. So there's no point in agreeing that he should miss all the fun stuff for the next month is all he did was throw a strop (annoying as that may be). If he has damaged your lesson could he give up his break time to help get ready for another lesson and so give you more time to do other things. If he was rude to the playground supervisor could he write a letter of apology? If he was rude to the other children in the class could he say sorry at the start of the next lesson and have you reinforce that the matter is over and we should all move on. If he disrupted play time could he be charged with picking up litter for ten mins (you need gloves and stuff nowadays to get kids to do this), he spoiled the environment so he has to help make it better for everyone.
    The huge advantage of doing this that along the way you actually build a relationship with the child and find out what it is that triggers his poor behaviour... he might be very bright and bored or he might have very low self esteem and be irritated when he sees others able to do the work, either of these will come to light if you can get him talking. A very sensible back up plan is to get him to agree to a reparation and then assure him that if he fails to repair the damage in the agreed way then the original style sanction will be imposed. So if he agrees to spend break time getting ready for the next lesson, getting books and equipment out etc. and then spends break time messing about and refusing to do what he agreed to... them he gets the punishment he would have originally got for the original incident. If he complies then there is no need for an additional punishment because he has found a way to repair the damage and all is well in your 'society' again.
    If you want to PM me about RJ feel free.
  3. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    An excellent description of how RJ might work in this instance, Zadok.
  4. Then you need to change school. You are not a psychiatrist. You will not be able to cure this behaviour through behaviour management strategies. You need to push this upstairs or get out.
  5. For pity's sake.

    Low self-esteem does not cause people to behave like they are the most important person in the world. You have been watching too much Oprah.
  6. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    However there is clearly value in talking to the pupils and getting to the bottom of why they might be misbehaving. This is what I do during detentions.
  7. I agree with the above. We used restorative justice in my last school and it worked really well. Takes time, but helps the children to realise the impact their behaviour is having on others whilst them still feeling that they are valued and their opinion is respected.
  8. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    I despair when I think of all the time you would be expected to devote to this one lad (or two) when you have, undoubtedly, dozens of other children in your care. Every minute you spend trying to counsel this boy is a minute stolen from the rest of the classroom community. Also, you aren't trained to be an Ed Psych, and it's unfair of you to be asked to be so. Any school that believes that poor behaviour on the part of another human being is a failure on the part of the teacher, doesn't deserve to have either students or teachers, and I recommend teachers vote with their feet in such cases if it's at all possible.
    These boys are in mainstream schools; they should be expected to cope with that, or be subject to mainstream options of sanction and reward, otherwise different levels of behaviour expectations are in place for everyone, and the class structure falls apart as everyone races to the lowest common denominator.
    You cannot be expected to deal with this boy alone; his needs, it seems, are beyond that of the mainstream classroom, and he should be specially provided for until he can reintegrate; inform your line management that he is so disruptive that the other children's education is being intolerably infringed, and they need to help you come up with a solution (and by solution I don't just mean 'You do the work of two people'). The boy needs personalised provision, or provision elsewhere, or managed out of the system by the normal disciplinary structure. If he doesn't learn the consequences of boundaries NOW, at this point in his life, we are facilitating the creation of an adult who doesn't recognise boundaries, which damns him, and the communities he inhabits.
    You need assistance. This is not a quick classroom fix.
    Good luck
    Read more from Tom here on his personal blog, or follow him on Twitter here.

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