When Teachers Don’t Deal With Challenging Student Behaviour
Have you ever walked past a student who was behaving inappropriately and said or done nothing?
Challenging behaviour is just that, challenging.
Sometimes you don’t know what to do, it feels too hard, not worth it, a waste of time, a bit scary and not your problem.
‘The behaviour you ignore is the behaviour you condone’
This kind of teacher behaviour can reveal a deeper issue of school culture.
In schools where teachers don’t feel safe themselves, they are more likely to ignore poor behaviour because they don’t feel supported or valued.
However, when teachers understand the bigger picture, feel part of a team, and supported by executive, colleagues and parents, they are more likely to deal effectively and consistently with challenging behaviour.
How To Change The Culture Of Ignoring Bad Behaviour
1. Construct a whole school approach to behaviour management that contributes to a positive school culture by having clear systems and procedures that are communicated to all staff.
2. Build a team approach to behaviour management in the school that examines the root cause of a student’s behaviour and addresses the issues whether they are physical, academic or social. Encourage teachers to be part of the process by listening to their views and experiences.
3. Have clear and well-communicated behaviour management plans for students with more difficult behaviour that outline what to do when the student displays challenging behaviour and identify who are the best staff members to interact with the student when they are escalated. Every staff member who comes into contact with the student needs to be aware of the plan.
As much as possible without breaching confidentiality, keep teachers informed about the student’s background and any changes of circumstance or ongoing issues. When teachers understand what is going on for a student, they can be compassionate and conscious of the student’s needs.
5. Articulate the school values and use them to determine a consistent approach to classroom and playground expectations for behaviour. Staff can then refer to the school expectations when dealing with a student displaying difficult behaviour.
6. Set up a whole school reward program for playground and classroom behaviour to reinforce the students who are behaving appropriately and to remind the students who are not.
Creating a solid foundation for how all students are expected to behave is crucial in efforts to support a student with challenging behaviour.
7. Check In/Check Out with a mentor.
A mentor can provide ongoing support for the student in the form of someone to talk to, someone who can be an advocate and a safe place to go when they are having difficulties during the school day.
Before you begin this process, check the elements of your school culture that already work. You may be able to tweak some areas to make it work more efficiently, for example, you may have behaviour plans but they are not communicated effectively to all the staff.
A valuable audit tool for schools is available at the Student Wellbeing Hub