Nine steps to stop labelling

Labelling pupils as disruptive only worsens the problems of schools in dealing with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, say researchers from Moray House Institute.

Professor Pamela Munn and Gwynedd Lloyd, writing in Sharing good practice, a booklet with nine illustrations of how schools are tackling exclusion, say a key theme from the research is to provide high-quality learning for such pupils by integrating them with their peers and avoiding the damaging effects of labelling.

They comment: "Such labelling can be the result of well-intentioned responses, such as special provision which takes a pupil out of the classroom for prolonged periods, or a specially adapted curriculum. There is much to learn about sensitive responses to pupils' needs which promote feelings of self-worth and self-esteem, rather than reinforcing notions of difference and inferiority. "

The authors focus on whole-school and classroom approaches and include features on partnership with parents, classroom management in primaries, circle time, positive reinforcement, primary-secondary transition, support for learning and behaviour support experiences. Accounts of good practice are penned by practising teachers.

The researchers add: "Teachers have great skill, knowledge and experience in providing high quality education for children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Yet they rarely make this explicit beyond their own schools " Copies of the booklet are being distributed free to schools.

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