Self and others

14th July 2000 at 01:00

MAKING SENSE OF BEHAVIOUR SERIES. By Rob Long. FRIENDSHIPS - NOT ME MISS! - The truth about children who lie. Developing Self-esteem through Positive Entrapment for pupils facing emotional and behavioural difficulties UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORTING DEPRESSED CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE. EXERCISING SELF-CONTROL. LEARNING TO WAVE: some everyday guidelines for stress management. SUPPORTING PUPILS WITH EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIOURAL DIFFICULTIES THROUGH CONSISTENCY. CHALLENGING CONFRONTATION: information and techniques for school staff. NASEN. pound;5 each (less 10 per cent to NASEN members). Tel: 01827 311500

These eight booklets from educational psychologist Rob Long make an excellent resource. They provide easy-to-read advice on a whole range of issues to do with children's behaviour at school. On most matters the advice is sound.

Friendships suggests activities that can be undertaken with children of any age who find it difficult forming relationships. Starting with a "friendship assessment profile", it proceeds with a "friendship tool box", which outlines some activities that will help establish relationships, and ends with advice on developing circles of friends.

Not Me Miss! gives a brief exposition on children who lie, interestingly looking at the reasons for lying and offering some strategies for dealing with dishonesty.

Developing Self-esteem through Positive Entrapment gives a novel perspective on self-esteem, highlighting the fact that a young person may deal with failure by predicting more failure and end up living p to the image of failure. The way out of this cycle, according to Long, is to find - and ruthlessly pursue - children's successes and to make sure they remember these.

Understanding and Supporting Depressed Children and Young People spotlights the size of the problem and its troubling association with suicide and sketches ways of helping; while Exercising Self-Control, takes the reader through skills such as problem solving, self talk and relaxation.

Learning to Wave is for teachers rather than pupils. It contains some useful ideas - though the inclusion here, apparently without intended humour, of "avoid crossed legs, save your energy for what matters", puzzled me.

Supporting Pupils with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties through Consistency, perhaps the most helpful book in the collection, with its whole-school approaches to consistency and suggestions on ways in which sanctions and rewards should be used.

Challenging Confrontation starts with some contestable notions about our "reptile brain", our "mammalian brain" and our "thinking brain" and how these work together to cause us difficulties coping with confrontation. The practical strategies here are more questionable than those in the other booklets - for example, to say in a confrontation: "I would like to practise my French while we argue, is that OK?" Hmm.

In all, though, these little books will provide much useful advice, particularly for newly qualified teachers.

GARY THOMAS Gary Thomas is professor of education at Oxford Brookes University

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