Building Success through Better Behaviour

6th May 2005 at 01:00
Building Success through Better Behaviour. By Rob Long. pound;40 (entire series); pound;6 (individual). Nasen and David Fulton Publishers

These eight booklets are aimed at teachers and student teachers, Sencos and support staff. They examine Better Behaviour, Loss and Separation, Motivation, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, The Art of Positive Communication, Children's Thoughts and Feelings, Working with Groups, and Adolescents in the Classroom.

They offer a useful platform for exploring these issues, presenting them in an accessible and straightforward way, and offering a range of strategies that many practitioners will find appealing. Their strength is the way they encourage all staff to consider how they can work with children of all ages and in all settings.

The series chops up each complex area into small parts, offering lists and tables, labels and descriptors. For example, children's thoughts and feelings have five types of tag, and their motivation, expectancy and effort puts them into four subgroups. This approach has its uses but it is not how we experience children.

The author is constrained by the space available, and occasionally reminds us that he is presenting possible ways forward or of seeing things, but his explanations sometimes come across as absolute (for example, when he says that teenage girls subconsciously want to be like their mothers).

There is also a tendency to place the difficulties in the child, and little overt acknowledgement that the school system, and our actions and perceptions as practitioners, can be at the root of the difficulties we face.

Jonathan Rix

Lecturer in inclusive education, Open University

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