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‘Three Top Tips from Tom’ will be updated weekly with the best advice and tips on behaviour and classroom management.

Tom Bennett is the TES adviser on behaviour and a teacher at Raines Foundation, an inner city state school in Tower Hamlets. He regularly supports teachers on TES through our behaviour forum and monthly newsletters on behaviour.

It’s good to be back- the point of reintegration meetings

Sometimes they go away; students who get some well-earned time out from your learning zone (© Satan) to spend some time in the reintegration zone (I am NOT making these things up. THESE ARE NAMES I HAVE HEARD THEM CALLED) before they…well, sometimes they come back. Pleased to meet you? Well, sometimes it’s great, and sometimes you don’t have any sympathy for the little devils. Sometimes it’s like being back at square one. A good way to ensure that this process is more Return of the King than Saw II is to have a reintegration meeting, which should be done for the following reasons:

  1. It’s a punctuation mark to the exclusion process. There needs to be some formal demarcation of the zones, between being on the naughty step and being back in the classroom. A meeting provides a psychological barrier; it suggests that one phase has ended, and another begins. It’s a rite of passage, of a sort.
  2. It’s a great, non confrontational place to reiterate the rules, and expectations of the pupil. Also you can reiterate (or iterate, for some teachers) the reasons why you have rules; not because you have to justify yourself, but as a way of expressing that you really do care about their academic well being, and that the rules are there to support everyone- and them. Boundaries are an act of professionalism and compassion, and they need to know it. This is a chance, not to be a hard ass (although that may be necessary) but to show them that you give a damn, and it’s not all tasers and cattle prods.
  3. It shows them that there are formal structures surrounding their behaviour, and consequences of their actions. To walk back into the room without a meeting begs them to believe that nothing has happened. The meeting shows that they are on loving probation, or supportive observation. Whatever you call it, the meeting is an opportunity too good to miss.

Don’t forget to have one because it’s time consuming. It’s an investment, to be measured against potential future gains. What will it cost you not to have one?

And good luck

Tom

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