Friday, 1 December 2017

The Incredible Years

During Terms 3 and 4 I was lucky enough to attend the Ministry of Education funded Incredible Teachers programme. This professional development is offered over six days and provides teachers with opportunities to explore Dr Carolyn Webster-Stratton's strategies and techniques to nurture children's social, emotional and academic competence based on her extensive research.

While building positive relationships with both students and whānau, and modelling empathy and appropriate and acceptable social skills would seem a normal part of a teacher's toolbox, the tools recommended to manage student misbehaviours were enlightening: planned and purposeful ignoring; redirecting; natural and logical consequences; incentives to strengthen positive behaviour; the development of individual behaviour plans. The key seems to be how we decide to respond to what we notice: making praise and encouragement the driver or catalyst for growing positive behaviour.

Since starting the programme, I am consciously using more proximity praise and non-contingent praise, while I am becoming more comfortable talking away to myself by articulating my thinking as descriptive commenting. By being gifted this time to reflect on how I behave and manage things, both large and small, I have already reaped some small benefits for the whole of Room 9 by choosing to ignore some serial interrupters for longer than was usual!

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