All children know how to behave

6th January 2006 at 00:00
With regard to your article, 'We are all behaviour tutors' (TES, December 9) I would like to argue that behaviour cannot be taught, because it doesn't need to be. All children know how to behave; it is simply that they choose not to!

If this were not the case, then the miracle that takes place when a senior member of staff walks into the room and the class goes silent, would never happen.

Children are bored with the same old lecture about how to behave. Sir Alan Steer asks: "Do we support them by modelling the behaviour we want?... If we fail in that then the fault is ours." Here lies the main problem: a lot of the time we are simply not behaving in the way we would like children to, and second, we are not helping them to see their innate goodness.

Furthermore, Sue Hackman's "tips" on behaviour, do not address the real issue either. The truth is that, whatever we do as teachers, however "good"

our classroom practice is, and however "well prepared" lessons are, children will still behave in a way that makes sense to them.

Behaviour is something learnt at a very early age, like language itself, most of which does not need any formal teaching to make it effective.

Behaviour is the end result of our thinking. If we want to see changes in the behaviour of children in our schools today we need to start addressing the real issue of how thinking leads to behaviour, and stop barking up the wrong tree.

Dean Rees-Evans TrusteeDirector of the Blue Balloon Foundation (and secondary supply teacher in Essex) 36 Clarendon Way Colchester, Essex

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