At a staff meeting recently we had a guest speaker give us some strategies to best deal with those incidental things that come up in our interactions with students.  One of the things that stood out for me was around managing behaviour and to always ask the question, ‘What is the behaviour telling me?’  While behaviour is the outward sign there is usually a purpose behind it, a message, a cry for help, a need that is not being met.  It is easy to simply address the behaviour, but if the behaviour doesn’t go away then that in itself is a sign that there is far more to it.

If you straight out ask a child why they behaved the way they did it is not unusual for them to express that they don’t know and this is where good detective work comes into it. When things have settled, it is time for a quiet chat.  As the adult look at the body language; not yours but theirs. Is there eye contact? What are the hands doing? How does their voice sound? What words do they use? Are those words common words for the child? What are the key words they are using? Consider who else was around at the time? What has happened before? Build a picture around the behaviour.

All these observations are really helpful in getting to the bottom of behaviour and the purpose behind it. You can then address the purpose rather than the behaviour and hopefully help a young person who has so much to learn about themselves and how to survive and be happy in this big wide world.

Robyn Teakle