Behaviour management – a perennial topic of discussion and, quite often, the straw that can break the proverbial back of both students and teachers…
I had a ‘warm’ (read: not quite heated but close) conversation with a fellow teacher recently about the behaviour of the students in a particular Middle Years class. I must confess that I was frustrated, at least on the inside, with some of her comments which appeared to dismiss the possibility that young adolescents can misbehave because of what is going on in their lives.
Let me explain… I hold to the belief that young adolescents, on the whole, do not misbehave solely because they want to. I believe that there are factors, sometimes quite significant, that take them to the point of misbehaviour. Yes, there is still a choice being made, but that choice may seem the only logical response in their mind to the feelings, changes, misunderstanding and complexities of their lives. I guess that approach is a bit Maslow-vian.
This does not excuse the behaviour… does not make it right… does not avoid consequences… But when we, as adults, try to understand why a student misbehaves, we have gone part of the way to discovering the way to progress with the student; part of the way in helping them understand their behaviour and in changing it in the future. Such an approach also allows for a significant relationship between the student and teacher to continue and hopefully grow. It provides the opportunity for pastoral behaviour management to happen. Understanding can be the first step on the pathway to potential change.
The teacher with whom I was having the conversation struggled to see that discipline should take this route. To put it bluntly, she believed her Middle Years students should behave simply because they were expected to.
Sadly, she also seems to have missed the 3R’s of Middle education: relationship, relationship and relationship.
What do you believe about discipline in the Middle Years?
What behaviour management processes happen in your school?
Do my comments stir you enough to leave a comment? (I hope so)
Agree or disagree, I’d love to hear you beliefs about behaviour management in the Middle Years.