I have a child in my Year 2 class who has a difficult home life. As a result, her behaviour is awful. She refuses to do what I ask of her, makes silly noises and cries at the drop of a hat. The other pupils have started to copy her.
What can I do?
What you said
"The other pupils should never get the chance to see that this child cries or makes noises for more than a couple of minutes. Once she appears determined to keep disrupting the class, out she goes."
"We had a child like this. One time, the teacher took the whole class out of the room, leaving the child and the teaching assistant. The tantrum stops quite quickly when there is no audience."
"Maybe she could be withdrawn from the class at certain times of the day or work one-to-one for a morning so she can `earn' the right to go back into class. She needs to know you call the shots and make the rules."
The expert view
As well as implementing the class rules, sanctions and positive reinforcements, a partnership between home and school is needed to deal effectively with this type of problem. There is a substantial amount of evidence suggesting that the close involvement of parents and carers in education brings long-term improvements in pupil performance, behaviour, communication and relationships.
Set up a meeting with the child's family to help gain an understanding of her behaviour. Encourage the family to "tell their story" about why they feel their child is behaving in a certain way. If necessary, guide and prompt the family by asking about recent life changes, such as a new baby, daily routines, how much time they spend with the child, how they manage her behaviour and why they think it is poor.
Once the family has recognised the issues and possible causes, you can discuss a way forward to help them provide their child with the correct care, support, skills and direction that will allow them to develop and flourish. An effective scheme I use, called "Family Values", is full of tasks and challenges that reinforce the value of caring and respect. Families choose whether they want to work towards a bronze, silver or gold award and evidence is collected during the month in the form of a log file, which can contain photographs, tickets, programmes and samples from the activities. Research has shown that this scheme has had a positive impact on children's behaviour in school and at home.
- Nicola Morgan is a behaviour management consultant and author. For more information go to www.behaviourstop.co.uk. For more behaviour advice, go to www.tes.co.ukbehaviourforum
- Set up a meeting with the girl's family to discuss what is going on.
- Encourage her parents or carers to identify the reasons for her behaviour themselves.
- Agree a joint approach with the family to address the causes of her poor behaviour.