Understanding Behaviour: Responding safely
A staff member using their own body to deliberately limit the movement of a student
To prevent imminent danger of physical injury other students, other staff or staff
Learning about strategies that deescalate situations where students are in danger. What is the best way to deal with learners where both staff and students are safe? The most important idea when it comes to responding to behaviour that can cause danger to others is: SAFETY. When there is an incident for restraint, forms are to be filled out within 72 hours of when the incident took place.
What is seclusion? Education Act Update: Banning seclusion and creating a legal framework for physical restraint
1. Understanding the "why' behind the behaviour.
There are a lot of things that can affect and go on in a learner's life when at school. What happens outside school or at home can influence a learner's life. How we respond and what we say can trigger a positive or negative reaction from a learner. We, as educators can only control ourselves.
All behaviours serves a function. Some are easy to see and identify and others aren't obscure. If we understand the "why" of a behaviour we can start to teach a 'replacement behaviour'.
Understanding yourself - what are your values and beliefs? These can shapes our individual experiences. If we understand our reactions to behaviours that challenge us, we can manage situations with learner's better.
2. Encouraging ready to learn behaviour
We need to understand: Managing safety and teaching, how to create effective learning environments, the importance of relationships, how to support emotional regulation, the importance of verbal and non-verbal strategies.
As an educator, I would like to spend more time teaching than dealing with behaviour. How do I do this? And in the environment of our learning habitat, how do we as a team do this?
Teach learner's explicit behaviours and set expectations.
The stronger a relationship with a learner, during tricky situations, the easier it is for learner to trust you as an educator. What do you do to build positive relationships with your students? As an educator and throughout my teaching career, I've always believed that building relationships with students is key. It is a beneficial step towards classroom dynamics and minimising unwanted behaviour. It also helps with my understanding of what a child may be experiencing at that time. An example of things I've done, is doing home visits with reports as a way in with parents and to show students that I did care about them.
Emotional regulation for students helps them to feel safe and connected. We want students to feel valued and to believe that teachers want the best for them. What impacts a student's emotional regulation?
Managing a situation - non verbal
Demonstrating ways that are less intimidating to a child could be: having a side stance, open up escape routes, maintain appropriate personal space and appropriate eye contact (depends on culture). As an educator it is important for us to demonstrate support ourselves by: keeping calm, being in control, being attentive and interested and show empathetic.
Verbal communication - when things are escalating how is my tone of voice and what are the words that I am using?
3. Responding safely
We need to understand: what differential responding is, there are different levels of behaviour, what each level of behaviour may look like, how to respond at each level to increase likelihood of de-escalation and what practical strategies we use to increase safety and de-escalate.
Ready to learn - what do with a challenging learner who is ready to learn and maintain their focus.
Out of sorts - there's a subtle shift and if we know the learner, we as educators should be ready to notice. A trick to the brain is partial agreement ie. "maybe... it's time to get back on task".
Escalating - everybody around is being affected
Out of control - an extreme escalation in behaviour
Calming down - decrease in level of distress
This teaches me to be aware of what's going on and trying to de-escalate a situation with a student as quickly and safely as possible. What are some key ideas and strategies that I can use in the habitat?
Some self strategies that I use to manage tricky student behaviour are: choosing my battles, setting goals - what am I going to do differently next time? Positive self talk and at times walking away from the problem. Breathing techniques, closing my eyes and counting to ten. I am also a strong believer in prayer, this helps me a lot and has helped me immensely throughout my teaching career.
How do we share learners that are of high risk? In our habitat, we (the educators) communicate a lot about learners that we may need a break from or behaviours. There are specific educators that are the go-to people for these challenging learners.
4. Reflection and embedding
'He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata'
What is the most important thing of the world? It is people, it is people, it is people
What stood out for you during this training?
Going over in depth the correct way to manage extreme behaviours and understanding why and responding safely to these occurrences. This has reminded me to reflect on my practices and behaviours in the classroom and what are some things that need changing or tweaking. This is not for all learners but those learners that need addressing.
The PB4L programme here at Ormiston Primary helps to provide some interventions before learners get to the stage of out of control and escalating problems. We finished our workshop with this video: Just Breathe by Julie Bayer Salzman & Josh Salzman (WaveCrest Films)