Behaviour guru? Not to me

20th September 2013 at 01:00

I am very disappointed in the TESS behaviour guru, Tom Bennett. In the issue of 6 September, he tells us that we should stand in the path of a student running along a corridor ("Can schools justify the use of physical force?", Professional). I would give the opposite advice, as would our teaching unions and employers - teachers should not put themselves in harm's way. The other expert who gives his opinion in the article puts it well when he states that a small, 5ft teacher is no physical match for a tall senior student.

And in last week's issue, a self-reflective teacher who has just finished their first-year placement seeks advice from Mr Bennett on behaviour and classroom management (The behaviour question, 13 September). The behaviour guru's only advice? To dole out stiff punishments.

Such an approach alone will not work. The newly qualified teacher should take the advice of the first respondent and talk to their mentor. Behaviour management is complex and classroom relationships are key. The mentor can help the teacher to look at the classroom organisation, timetable, sanctions and learning and teaching; with all that information in place, they can coach the teacher. There is no silver bullet.

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