It’s all gone down like another lead balloon hasn’t it. This time Gavin Williamson is chatting behaviour and let's face it, the only behaviour we need to focus on, it seems, is that of the DfE.
What seems to go unnoticed, by those that like to tell us how to do our job, is that the majority of children in our schools are coping (even after the chaos exacerbated by the ever confusing government direction) but for those who are not, “bad behaviour” is a communication method and us educators are more than willing to listen. Children are telling us, all is not okay.
Behaviour is an issue up for debate in all schools and a complex one at that. Just as I stated above, children are "coping", and by that I mean getting on okay with the funding, support and curriculum we have in place at present but we need more. We would all welcome a donation of £10 million, where we could do wonders with the mental health and wellbeing of the humans in our care, it would, undoubtedly, filter through to the behaviour standards in our schools. Throwing money at “behaviour hubs” where someone can waste their time telling me how they have got their pupils to walk silently through a corridor is of no interest to me. It is another attempt at making things look cushty, without acknowledging any of the real problems behind issues with behaviour (austerity being one of so many).
Now we have fresh challenges to address, and yet again the government deem it necessary to put their foot down rather than be curious, listen and explore. They do the equivalent of what they are asking us to do - educators sit at their desks, facing the DfE whiteboard whilst they tell us what needs to be done, then like cogs enabling their machine we go off and put it all in place. Just as I believe this doesn't work for children it doesn’t work for us either. We need to be trusted to explore issues in our settings and ask children what support they need. Children who provide me with problematic behaviours are shouting out for my help, silencing them with discipline is not the answer. Educators do not want to stamp out or conceal behaviour issues in our classrooms, we want to understand them; enabling opportunities to learn about the self, reactions, emotions and the consequences it has on others.
I think it’s safe to say that the children finding “behaving” a struggle are quite often the ones who can’t or won’t conform to the ever demanding list of what a child should be doing, saying, and achieving, dictated by the dull, uninspiring document that is the curriculum. Wouldn't it be refreshing for the DfE to come to the conclusion that £10 million could be better spent on an overhaul of the outdated system we currently have in place? We will be here to support them with that, wholeheartedly.
So who do I blame for the behaviour in our schools - I'm afraid, I might have to direct Mr Williamson to the behaviour hub or maybe into an isolation booth to have a think about it. We are so tired of the pointing fingers in our direction, it’s time to reflect, take a deep breath and some thinking time - who really needs to work on their behaviour?