The Mindset Of Managing Challenging Pupils

The Mindset Of Managing Challenging Pupils

Listen now:


Teaching kids with challenging behaviour needs can be tough. It can emotionally, physically and spiritually draining!

When it comes to supporting kids with SEMH and behaviour needs, mindset is everything. So in this episode, we explore 5 important mindset changes to make that will help protect your mental and emotional well-being as an adult.

Useful links:

Get our FREE SEMH Framework:

Join our Inner Circle membership programme:

Download other FREE behaviour resources for use in school:

Share this podcast with your friends:

Show notes / transcription

Emma Shackleton  0:00  

Don't go to meetings with the intent to talk. We've got two ears and one mouth and we should use them in that proportion. go to meetings with the intent of gathering information, finding out more about what makes this child tick, because parents have got loads of information from the home environment that we don't see and we don't know. And that information can be really valuable in shedding light on how to support pupils.

Simon Currigan  0:28  

Hi there. My name is Simon Currigan and welcome to this week's school behaviour secrets. American writer and philosopher Robert M. Percy once wrote, boredom always precedes a period of great creativity, which is why you will find the podcast after this one. So inspiring. I'm joined today as ever by my co host, Emma Shackleton. Hi, Emma.

Emma Shackleton  1:28  

Hi, Simon.

Simon Currigan  1:29  

I'd like to start by asking you a really simple question. Imagine the scene it's a beautiful summer's evening, no work tomorrow, and you're sitting in the garden and you can reach for any tip or you choose what do you choose?

Emma Shackleton  1:43  

summer's evening, nice big goldfish bowl glass of ice cold pink grapefruit, gin, and lemonade, and lots of ice cubes and a slice of grapefruit just the litre one,

Simon Currigan  1:58  

just a one litre

Emma Shackleton  1:59  

anyway, why have you got me distracted? Why are we talking about drinks? Where is this going? And how is it related to today's episode?

Simon Currigan  2:07  

Well, sometimes when teaching staff have to work with challenging pupils, they find it hard emotional work. And it can make them doubt their expertise, their professionalism, their capacity to be a successful teacher. And it can result in some of them experiencing lots of physical stress and sleepless nights. And there are two ways of dealing with that. You can try and manage that stress and those feelings through healthy methods like exercise, or you can do it through unhealthy ways like drinking or eating. These are all ways of coping with stress after the fact. The other better way of dealing with that stress and pressure is to make sure you're approaching the situation with the right mindset. Because when you're thinking about those issues in the right way, you'll experience fewer of those feelings like stress and pressure and drained emotions in the first place. Meaning you'll be less likely to turn to unhealthy coping measures in the first place, which is much better for you and your students. And we're going to be looking at how to adopt the right kind of mindset when you're working with challenging pupils today.

Emma Shackleton  3:09  

So this is going to be really useful to anybody listening who is feeling stressed or wrung out or on their knees from working with kids with high levels of social, emotional and mental health needs or behaviour needs. That makes sense. However, before we get to that, I've got a quick request to make. If you're listening to this podcast right now, please could you open your podcast app, and use the Share button to share this episode with three friends or colleagues who you think will find the information useful. And that means you'll be having a bigger impact than just your classroom because the students that they work with can benefit from the strategies we're going to share in this episode as well.

Simon Currigan  3:51  

So let's squeeze our fingers together apply just the right amount of pressure and express that bulging pimple we call behaviour.

Emma Shackleton  4:00  

So this episode really resonates with me, you will probably know if you've heard our podcast before that Simon and I used to teach in pupil referral units. So those are centres for children that have lost their primary school place or secondary school place because of their huge social, emotional and mental health needs. As you can imagine, that was a really, really challenging job. And although it was incredibly rewarding, it was very draining. And a lot of whether or not you were successful on a day to day basis in centre really came down to your mindset.

Simon Currigan  4:38  

So let's think about the first mindset shift we need to make and that's about managing student behaviour rather than controlling it. This is really important because teachers sort of perpetuate this myth of being able to control a class and it's simply not true. All we do is set up an environment where kids are more likely to do the sort of things we asked them to do that and refuse or engage in kind of like negative behaviour, it is really easy to get sucked into this mindset of controlling pupils, I want you to imagine that you walk into assembly, you've got 300 kids or the kids are sat down and you go to the front of the room without saying a single word. If you lift your palms up towards the sky, instead of a lifting motion 300 children will stand up. It's like Yoda lifting the X Wing out of the lake in Star Wars, right? That gives you this sort of sense that you're able to control kids. And actually, it's a lie. It's a myth. And it sets us up for failure. Because the truth is, if you're teaching a year three class on Thursday, next week, and they decide they want to have a party, when you prefer to teach maths, there is literally nothing you can do to stop them, they can put on some music, throw some shapes, you can threaten them with consequences, you can shout and scream at them. But if they want to party, they are going to party. So we don't actually control kids, what we do is set up the right kind of environment where kids are more likely to follow our rules and expectations where they're more likely to want to please the adults when the wheels fall off. And when people start to find it really stressful is when they get sucked into this controlling mindset because most kids are fairly affable. And they do kind of go along with what we ask them to do. And we kind of get used to this sense of the kids just do what I asked them to. And then when we meet a challenging pupil, who kind of exposes this lie, it can feel really, really challenging. And we start questioning what's wrong with us and the way we're working with them.

Emma Shackleton  6:31  

Absolutely. And I think that this is especially true for anybody who's ever taught in a school where special educational needs have been a big issue, it can really, really make you doubt yourself and your professional capacity. So having the right mindset is absolutely crucial. So what we're talking about here, then is we're actually managing students behaviour rather than controlling students. And in order to do that, you've got to be incredibly flexible, you've got to know where you're starting from, and where you want to get to. But you've got to be flexible along the way. So of course, you're going to have an idea in your head of the learning that you want the children to gain that day or that week. But children are not little robots. They are people with their own personalities and their own freewill. So we've got to be reactive to how they behave and how they're receiving the learning and how they're engaging with the learning. So although we'll have a plan, we'd like to get from A to B, we do need to be able to meander along the way and to recognise that there's more than one way to get there. So being flexible about the route is recognising that sometimes you will go from point A to point B. But sometimes you'll have to pass point C point D point E along the way. So you might go round at a bit of a spiral, and then get to your destination. It's a bit like trying to shepherd sheep across the hillside, you'll have an ideal route. And you'll know the destination that you want to get to. But they'll kind of choose how they get there. And it's the ultimate destination. That's important. It's the getting to the final point that's important. But being flexible about the way that you get there. So as

Simon Currigan  8:17  

a teacher, you might be thinking about how we can be flexible about how the task is done, or how we present the task, we might have to make adjustments to enable the students to access it and have some choice about how it's accessed. So if you're working with a pupil, who has a strong sense of control, you might say to them, you know, here's a writing task to do you need to write two or three paragraphs, would you like to do it in pen or pencil and it's completely down to you, you might give them the option of using ICT, they might get a laptop and use a word processor or iPad with a word processor on it, you might give them choices about where they sit or who they work with. So we know we've got a piece of work we want them to do we know what roughly we want that piece of work to look like at the end of it, we have to ask ourselves does it really matter about how that work is done? If that enables the student to get their head down and be focused on a task, then this is a completely different way of thinking often we think about how does the student need to change to engage with the work but often with high needs pupils we have to think about, okay, how do we adapt what we're giving them? How do I adapt to the task to make it accessible and successful? How do I adapt the instructions I'm giving them to be successful? I might be giving them choice about the work. But I might also be saying you know using things like limited choice if they're bringing in a ball and I want them to put it away instead of just having like this standoff confrontation, you must put the ball away and they're saying no, perhaps I give them some choice about where the ball goes so they feel in charge. I'm being much more flexible for those children with high needs to help them engage with school and be successful and follow the instructions in a way that works for them. Still getting them from point A to point B, but just being flexible about the route

Emma Shackleton  10:00  

I think that's really important. It brings to mind a story actually from when my son was in primary school. And I remember him coming home when he was probably about five or six years old. And he proudly told me that he'd done his writing at the standing up table. What is the standing up table, and basically, it was a table in the classroom that didn't have any chairs around it. And that particular times of the day, if pupils wanted to, they could go and take their work, and they could stand up to do their writing. And that really appealed to my son. And he really enjoyed standing up at the table completing his work. So that teacher was obviously being very clever there and very mindful about the different ways that children learn, and allowing some flexibility rather than making everybody sit still, in their seats with their pencil do their writing. On this occasion, children were able to choose where they wanted to work. And my son was very happy that he'd been allowed to stand up. And he'd probably done some really good writing, because that suited his learning style to be standing, rather than sitting in a chair. And you've got to choose your battles, haven't you, you've got to think what really matters here. What matters is that he does the learning and get the writing done. Does it matter whether he is sitting in a chair or standing at the table to do it, you've got to be flexible, having

Simon Currigan  11:25  

Yeah, you see this with kids with ADHD, if they have issues with working memory, and sometimes they need to talk and work those memories through those ideas through, that's what they need to be successful with the task. And we can't then expect them to suddenly sit in silence and perhaps do the work as we'd expect the other kids do, because there's an impediment there, there's a need there to be able to access the task, that's what they need to do. And if we take that away as a support, then they can't do the task, you know, and then we get low level disruption. Yeah, so it's all about being flexible, keeping your eye on the goal, and being sort of flexible about the route

Emma Shackleton  12:00  

and accepting that you are not in control of the outcome, you are guiding and you are nudging children in the right direction. But ultimately, they have the control. It's up to them whether or not they choose to do the task at the end of the day. And the

Simon Currigan  12:15  

next shift kind of ties in with that it's focused what you are in control of you're not in control of the kids. But there are things in the classroom that you can change and that you are in direct control of it reminds me of this is it the Serenity Prayer, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. And we know from research that when we focus on areas of our life that we can control, we feel more relaxed, we feel more successful, and we feel more confident. So if we're constantly looking at the kids, and thinking about they should be doing X, Y and Zed, and this is a reflection on my capacity, or professionalism as a teacher, when we're looking at the Children's actions about whether they're doing the work or whether they're being respectful. Well, A, that's all out of our control, and B that's very, very stressful. There are things in the classroom, we can change and do. There are things about the way we speak and the way we act that we are in control with and we're much better off focusing on those than things that are beyond our direct control.

Emma Shackleton  13:16  

Yeah, and we want to associate the outcome the child chooses with our own professional competence. And that's a bit of a dangerous game, because we aren't fully in control of what happens with the children. And that's where I think teachers get frustrated when they want something to happen. But then for whatever reason, that doesn't happen, we've got a bit of a tendency as teachers, I think, to take that very personally. And we take that as a knock and we start to criticise maybe the things that we're doing. But the truth is, we are not solely responsible for children's behaviour, we've got a secondary influence, they choose how to behave. What we can do is offer good guidance about making good choices and the outcome is out of our control. Focusing on the things that we can change is how we feel empowered.

Simon Currigan  14:07  

So what sort of things can we focus on what sort of things in the classroom are within our control that will make an impact? Usually, on classroom behaviour? Well, the first thing we need to do is look at our classroom routines are the way the kids coming into the classroom? Is that helping them settle and be on task? What about the way we set the work out? What about the way we expect the children to work? What about how they access resources? The way the tables are set out? Are they able to access the work easily? Are they easily able to turn and listen to the teacher or work from a board at the front of the room if they need to? Have we set up the environment for success? Or actually is the environment getting in the way of good behaviour on task learning? Are the tables so crammed in together that everyone's seatbacks are touching and everyone's getting very, very frustrated? That we looked at the way we differentiate the work if Children can't access the work because it's too hard, they'll get off task and we'll get low level behaviour. If the work is too easy, and the kids finish it quickly, they have nothing to do, you're gonna get off task, a low level behaviour, we need to think about how we present the task. One of our key roles as a teacher that we don't often think about is how we present but actually, you know, that's a primary function of teaching. Do we sound interested in the work? Do we sound like this is the first time we've taught Henry eighth and his six wives to the children? Do we sound enthusiastic and excited about it? Even though we've taught this every year for the last 20 years? For them, it's their first time and if we sound enthusiastic and interested in what we're talking about, then we'll sweep the kids that with us? Have we thought carefully about the social groupings in class or about how the children are sat, or they sat on their own or they sat in twos or they sang social groups of six? I personally don't believe there's any such thing as a bad child. But I certainly do believe in bad combinations of children. So have we sat the child where they're likely to be successful socially? Are they surrounded by positive role models? Or are they surrounded by children that are likely to negatively impact on their behaviour, we would have to think about where our lines in the sand are, and what we're willing to be more flexible about as the task progresses. So these are all things we can look at and take control of. And when we do this, when we focus on these things, it gives us agency so we can look at the results of our changes and think about what was successful and what wasn't, we might try moving a few children around in the classroom, and some might have been more on task, and some might be less on task. And then we look at what worked and we keep the things that are having an impact. And we throw away the rest kind of an almost like an experimental approach to improving classroom behaviour step by step. These are things we can take control of. And that's going to make us feel more confident and feel like we have agency in the classroom. One way of thinking about this is lead measures and lag measures. So lead and lag measures. A lead measure is something that we can take control of something we can do. And a lag measure is something that happens as a result. So take an academic example, children's exam results would be lag measures. By the time we've looked at their exam results, and they've done the test and we know what they've got, it's too late to do anything about it, the results already there. The lead measure would be like the revision classes we give them and the extra input and the differentiation and making sure the curriculum is interesting and engages them. The lead measures are the things we can change. And the lag measures are the things that we see as a result. And we can use this approach in the classroom here, the lag measure is the child's behaviour or the children or the classes behaviour. By the time they're engaging in the behaviour. It's almost too late to do anything about it. What we need to do is focus on the things that are pre emptive. What's going in beforehand, these are the things that we can influence and make choices about and then hopefully we will see as a lag measure improve behaviour in the classroom.

Emma Shackleton  17:58  

Okay, so the next mindset shift that we can make is to always remember that teaching is a team game, you are not solely responsible for how the child performs in your class, you are part of a team. So firstly, there's the people who have taught the child before. Or if you're in a secondary school, there may be teachers having this child right now, where the lessons are more successful. What have people tried in the past that's failed, learn from those mistakes and avoid repeating those mistakes. And equally, what are other people doing that sometimes works? Learn from that, save yourself the pain of reinventing the wheel by gathering as much information as you can about the pupils from other adults that have taught them either now or in the past. Often success with challenging pupils involves building relationships, find out what are the child's interests? What do they like to do when they're not at school? What makes them tick? And then work out? How are the adults connecting with them? What are they doing to successfully build positive relationships with that child, if you're lucky enough to have a teaching assistants in the room, decide between you how you're going to allocate roles and build relationships. And this can help to distinguish between who is there primarily for nurture, and who implements the boundaries. So it's a little bit simplified, and it's a little bit like good cop, bad cop, so don't make it as extreme as that. But where there are two key adults, pupils often benefit from one being the leader and the boundary setter, and the other, still abiding by those boundaries and backing up the leader, but also being there for that additional nurture that the child's probably going to need as well.

Simon Currigan  19:50  

And as part of your bigger team in school, you'll have a special needs coordinator or a behaviour coordinator or a pastoral team. And if you listen to this in America, in the UK, we use pastoral team As in the team that supports children around behaviour and motivation in school, not pastoral as in religious, pastoral, we need to be using their experiences, getting that team support, and putting together structure plans about which strategies work, which strategies we should be avoiding and get those written down. If you're experiencing explosive behaviour, we need to think about what we're going to do as a team consistently to de escalate that child. So looking at their past history, we need to think about what are the triggers for the behaviours that we see? And what kind of behaviours can we expect? It's called the topography of the behaviour. What does that behaviour look like? Do the children start to move around more? Do they start grunting? Do they start frowning? What are the telltale signs that the behaviour is starting to escalate? And then what do we do as a team in a planned way to help manage that behaviour and help the child calm and be successful? To do that, we're going to need systematic interventions as well, because the child has some sort of skills gap, they might have difficulty managing their emotions, or engaging with their classmates socially, they might say things that are inappropriate, they might say things to adults that are inappropriate, they might lack resilience and find it difficult to continue with a task that they've experienced failure with, maybe they've got a couple of questions wrong, or they they lack the skills to keep going with that task, instead of just walking away from it. These are all behaviours that underneath them all, there's a skills gap, there's a barrier. So if that child is engaging in that behaviour consistently, then we need to think about, well, how are we teaching them those missing skills, because if a child was having difficulty reading, they'd be taken out into a group. And if they were having difficulty, say, sounding out their phonics, then someone would do some specific focused work on teaching them how to sound out those phonics. And we've got the same situation here, we've got a child who is unable to do something. So what are we doing to teach them that just enforcing expectations and handing out detentions? Whatever, that's not going to make a difference? Because there is a missing ability here, there is a missing skill that needs to be taught before they're able to be successful in class.

Emma Shackleton  22:10  

Absolutely. And I think part of putting all the pieces of the jigsaw together is working with parents and finding out what information can we gather from the parents that might be useful in this context, as well. So we all know that pupils with social emotional and mental health needs improve the quickest when both home and school work together. When home and school pull apart. That's usually when Sen H needs get worse. And the child realises that they can split the adults, what they tend to do then is divide and conquer. So it's crucial that you've got high levels of communications, don't go to meetings with the intent to talk, we've got two ears and one mouth and we should use them in that proportion. go to meetings with the intent of gathering information, finding out more about what makes this child tick, because parents have got loads of information from the home environment that we don't see. And we don't know. And that information can be really valuable in shedding light on how to support pupils. Your efforts are part of a bigger picture. It's part of the whole school system, home and school together. It's part of a team of people working together.

Simon Currigan  23:30  

Yeah, so don't shoulder all the responsibility yourself. Another mindset shift to make is think about this, if the child could do better, they'd probably be doing it already. Kids generally do well, if they can, if they have the skills, if they're in the right environment, if they had the right sleep the night before, if there wasn't a family argument in the morning before they headed out to school if they weren't experiencing sensory stress, or social stress because of an underlying condition. And if they aren't succeeding, we need to take the approach that they aren't coping in class. Rather than deliberately misbehaving or being deliberately disrespectful or whatever most of the challenging behaviour. I don't know what you think me on this. But when I'm out in score, actually, most of the challenge behaviour I see is by kids who aren't coping, they're overwhelmed in some sense, rather than making deliberate choices about their behaviour.

Emma Shackleton  24:22  

Absolutely. And and I would argue even deliberate choices are driven by a coping mechanism or a coping method. So sometimes children do make poor choices, but it's still serving a purpose. It's meeting their need. And I think the most skilled adults I've seen in supporting children have been looking at that child's behaviour through that lens of the child struggling, and it really makes the adults very compassionate. And those are the adults that really managed to get to the root of the problem and make a difference with those children. Yeah, because

Simon Currigan  24:55  

when you look at it in that sort of frame of mind, you start asking why what is the underlying issue that's driving their behaviour. And when you've got a child who's kicking off or throwing chairs or continually shouting out, it can be very tempting to focus on the behaviour. But actually we need to dig down into why is that behaviour happening? Why are we seeing that in the classroom, what is causing it, what is causing the child to react to these triggers in that specific way. And once we do that, we can start to have success because we can start to address the underlying problem. And it's less about willfulness, often it's less about children being deliberately disrespectful to you, because often they will be disrespectful to any adult at the front of the classroom, you just happen to represent a class of people, adults, that the child has difficulty forming relationships from or following instructions from, often kids will see adults because of their home life and their experiences might see adults as people who can't be trusted who they need to be actively fearful of, I read something in a book the other day, and it was talking about adult behaviour, actually, that struck a chord with me with our work with children. And it said, if you had had their life experiences, and you're experiencing their emotions now and you had lived their life as if they had lifted, you would be behaving in exactly the same way. There is nothing special about us, we're not exceptional as the adults. And when we're looking at kids that are behaving in a different way than we would expect or hope or that we find personally challenging. We have to think, right? Well, if if I'd have lived their life, if I'd have had their early experiences, if I'd have had their bringing up or perhaps they've been bounced from home to home to home, perhaps they've had underlying undiagnosed medical needs, if I was in their situation with their experiences, I'd be doing what they were doing there.

Emma Shackleton  26:43  

Absolutely. And I think you touched on this earlier as well, Simon, when you talked about a skills gap. So I think teachers are very good at identifying and closing academic gaps. We often see holes in learning or holes in particular skills, we can see what's missing, and then we make an attempt to plug that gap. And it's exactly the same with behaviour, isn't it? We've got to look for what is it that this child can't do yet. That is meaning that they are failing day after day in school? And what can we do to better equip them so that when they come across circumstances that are challenging to them, whether that be the demands of the work or the demands of the social interaction, whatever it is, how can we equip them to be able to cope with that. And we've got to be mindful as well about the ages and stages of the children. So it doesn't matter that you might have a 10 year old in front of you, that you assume should be able to ask for a pencil instead of just snatching it. The fact is that they can't yet. So we mustn't make the mistake of believing that just because a child is particular of a particular age than they ought to be of a particular stage, because their calendar age is different to their social and emotional developmental age. And we've got to bear that in mind. So we've got to go from where the children are at, just like we do with learning, we've got to meet them where they're at, and build the skills from there. So it's just like we do with their academic work. If you've got a child who's 12, who can't add two single digit numbers together, then insisting that they work on long multiplication, because that's what their peers are doing, that's just going to fail. They don't have the underlying knowledge to succeed with the task. So we've got to go back reteach the building blocks, but in social, emotional and mental health needs, that often looks like a mixture of teaching and coaching, because we're teaching them skills here, rather than giving them knowledge.

Simon Currigan  28:45  

And don't forget, there might be pressures at home that you're unaware of that mean, the child is literally not in an emotional state where they're calm enough to work really care about working. I was talking to a student the other day, and she was telling me about her life history. And she said there was a period in her teaching where her mom had had a breakdown. And she knew that she was about to go into care at any minute. And she talked about at that time, with all that emotional pressure. The teachers talking to her about the fact that she handled her spelling homework was neither here nor there, she did not care. She was doing everything she could just to survive in that moment. So we have to remember that right now. Our priorities might not be their priorities, as the song goes, a B, C, D, E, F, u.

Emma Shackleton  29:28  

And of course, there are other reasons, two reasons that we might not be aware of or might not know about yet, maybe underlying needs that mean that the child is struggling. Perhaps they've got undiagnosed autism, or attachment disorder, or ADHD or trauma or ACEs, the list goes on. And all of these kids if they had the capacity to engage better with their learning, or get on better with their friends, they'd already be doing it. It's not a lifestyle choice to get up in morning and have a really miserable day where you're not regulated. So we've got to forget what we think they should be able to do. And we've got to focus on what these children can do, and build from there. Our fifth

Simon Currigan  30:14  

mindset change is nothing will work. 100% of the time, kids are humans and humans are messy. They're complicated creatures, who are parts of families, which are networks of messy, complicated creatures. Kids aren't robots that sit in isolation. So when we're working with a child who has issues with their behaviour, it's not a case of trying to find a bug in their programming, or looking for a quick fix. And if we just change this one thing, everything will be great forever. There are all sorts of reasons why kids behave the way they do. And they're not always rational. They don't always make sense. They're not always logical. So you might find a strategy that works on Monday morning, and Tuesday morning. But then Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday is of no use to you whatsoever. So we can't expect something simple to work 100% of the time.

Emma Shackleton  31:04  

Personally, I think that's what makes working with children with sdmh needs interesting because every day is different. It makes it interesting, but it also makes it very challenging and very stressful. Yeah, but don't forget things like variations in sleep patterns, the family dynamics what's been going on for the child that morning before they've arrived at school anxieties about the illness or well being of themselves or family members. bereavements, unavoidable changes in routine, even the weather, worries about changes in staffing, or new teachers or the car's broken down, or the cat's gone to the vet, there are a million reasons why a child can come into school in the morning, able to cope well on one day, and the support strategies work. And then the next day, the very same strategies just don't work. And what that means is that social, emotional and mental health needs and behaviour can feel really random. That's why it's difficult because we try sometimes to look for triggers, we try to look for patterns. But the fact is, behaviours are driven by emotions, depending on how the child is feeling that day, and depending on their capacity to cope will signal how much resilience they've got and how much they are able to cope within a day. So if they're already at the top of their tolerance limit, and something that we think is quite small happened, or something that they coped well, with yesterday happens, it doesn't mean to say that they're going to be able to cope with that today,

Simon Currigan  32:30  

very much, they have something called regression to the mean, which is when you're talking about anything that's a little bit random, like that, it's like a child's behaviour, if there's a random element to it, it means we're gonna have a few good days, and we're gonna have a few bad days. And when you're implementing strategies, let's say you implement work recovery cycle, so the child works for a bit, and then they have sort of a couple of minutes offers a learning break before starting their work. Again, you might find for a few days, that's really successful, so you have a few good days. Now, in any random pattern, if you have a few good days, you're then gonna get a couple of bad days, that doesn't mean that the strategies are suddenly ineffective. That just means that they didn't work today, whenever we get a couple of bad days, we might then get a couple of good days, it's random, we have some ups and we have some downs, we have to think big picture in long term, I think of the strategies the support strategies like a barrier alongside a river that they use for flood defence. Sometimes events overcome those barriers. Sometimes the river rises and overcomes the barriers and we have some flooding, it doesn't mean that those barriers aren't useful 80% of the time, the barriers are useful, the strategies are useful, sometimes they take longer to have an effect. But we can't expect them to have a magical 100% effect all of the time. And it can be tempting, when we've used some strategies, and they've been working, and then suddenly we get a few bad days to throw those strategies away and panic and say, oh, we need something different, we need something new. So it can be tempting after a few bad days to throw the baby out with the bathwater, don't do that, because of a few bad days. But what

Emma Shackleton  34:08  

this does mean is that you're going to need a toolbox of strategies so that when one approach doesn't work, you've got something else up your sleeve that you can switch to so that you're not stuck. And here again is where flexibility is key. It's learning about that individual pupil and working out a range of things that sometimes work so that you've got something else up your sleeve if your go to strategy doesn't work on this occasion. And if you're looking for a magic wand or a silver bullet that is going to be this one change or strategy that fixes everything. Well, I think you can guess where this is going. You already know that that's just setting yourself and your students up for failure. This brings to mind a conversation I've had recently in a school about medication where the child has been diagnosed with ADHD they're going to To start on medication, and a lot of the staff in the school are really hanging their hat on the fact that when the child starts to be medicated, all of the behaviours going to go away, and that might not happen. So there is not usually one single thing that will make everything better forever. It's all about skill building, strategy, building, resilience building, it's a long process, and there were going to be lots of little pieces of the jigsaw to put together.

Simon Currigan  35:30  

So our five important mindset changes are, you're managing the students behaviour, you're not controlling it,

Emma Shackleton  35:37  

focus on what you can control and try to forget about what you can't

Simon Currigan  35:41  

remember, it's a team game, you're not solely responsible for how the student behaves.

Emma Shackleton  35:47  

If the child could do better, they probably wouldn't be doing that already.

Simon Currigan  35:51  

Nothing works 100% of the time, don't throw out strategies, if you've had a few bad days do have a toolbox of strategies you can refer to to get through those difficult times.

Emma Shackleton  36:01  

And if you're working with challenging pupils, and you'd like to widen your toolbox of ideas and strategies, then we've got just the thing, we call it the inner circle. It contains over 36 video training and resources around all areas of behaviour and SEM ah, including subjects like how to use emotion scaling, which is all about helping kids take action when they're experiencing strong emotions like anger or anxiety. Also, in there, you'll find a video module on how to coach pupils through strong emotions. And that's a simple framework for teaching kids the skills to manage big emotions for themselves, and not overreact to situations. We've also got a module called How to de escalate. And that's our deep dive into successfully managing kids when they've lost control of their emotions and actions.

Simon Currigan  36:56  

And right now you can get access to all that training and over 35 others. With our inner circle membership, you'll get your first seven days for just one pound. And you can cancel your subscription at any time just like Netflix.

Emma Shackleton  37:09  

That's a brilliant deal. So to take advantage, visit UK and click on the big inner circle picture near the top of the page. And we'll also drop a direct link in the show notes.

Simon Currigan  37:23  

If you found this episode useful Dad, why not join the family? Not like my actual family and turn up for breakfast in my house? Because you know, that might be socially awkward. And anyway, if you don't let me know in advance, I'm not sure to having a frosty stick around. I'm not rendering the premiere in no. I mean, join our family of podcast subscribers. When you subscribe to the podcast, your podcast app magically downloads each and every episode as it's released, so you never miss a thing. All you have to do is open up your podcast app and tap the subscribe button or follow as it's now called in Apple podcasts. Do it now. So that's

Emma Shackleton  37:54  

it for today's episode. We hope you have brilliant and we look forward to seeing you again next time on school behaviour single

Simon Currigan  38:02  


(This automated transcript may not be 100% accurate.)