Monday, April 6, 2009

Ripping up the ground rules!

I have just completed my learning journal for a course I am attending. The journal is supposed to be a chance to go over what you have learned that week and look at ways of reflecting on and applying the session to your own practice as well as thinking about how to develop yourself in the light of the learning. All very laudable and to be honest I quite enjoy doing it.

Today though was a moment of devastating irony. The subject of the latest session was managing behaviour in the classroom. Tips include not raising your voice, not losing your temper, not engaging in conflict, ignoring bad behaviour and giving positive reinforcement to good and not touching students. I might have nodded sagely at all this worthy advice except I was fresh from a blazing altercation with Flora where I raised my voice, lost my temper, engaged heartily in conflict, failed to ignore bad behaviour and by God I wanted to touch her!

Another piece of advice was to employ the language of choice e.g: 'I notice you haven't started yet. Can I help you?'. So what I really needed to say was 'I notice you are banging away with that ball inside the house. Can I help you to play with it outside?'. Right got it! Or 'I notice your room is like the bottom of a guinea pig hutch. Is there anything I can do to help you?'

What I should have done is to model the behaviour of choice but I am human. I modelled the behaviour of a seething, slightly hormonal fiend who had had quite enough of listening to a ball being banged about inside and tidying up after a pair of slobs. Apparently I should have set ground rules at the beginning but I fear it's too late for that!

So it seems I'm a failure in the managing behaviour stakes today but you know what? This is real life. 'I notice you're disagreeing with me. Can I help you with that?'

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