Whenever we hear of behaviour being discussed in schools, it is almost always in the context of “difficult children”. Asking teachers about those pupils who they have most difficulty managing and they will inevitably name someone, usually a boy, who they describe as a behaviour problem. There is therefore always the potential when delivering a course with the words “social emotional and behavioural difficulties in the title, that some colleagues will attend in expectation of solutions and a quick fix for their behaviour management issues.
This week, students attending the MA is Special and Inclusive Education here in Bangalore, are considering aspects of the social and emotional needs of children, which inevitably means that there will be some debate around behaviour. But being a masters level course, this week is not about “tips for teachers,” though we hope that along the journey they will reflect on what they discuss and have ideas and strategies to apply in their classrooms.
My colleague John Visser began yesterday’s session by challenging our students to reflect upon their own behaviours. When and why do they behave badly? What are the consequences of this poor behaviour? And who is affected by the outcomes? More importantly, how de we feel and react when children behave like this in our classrooms?
Throughout the week we hope that students will consider not only the nature of what is seen as unacceptable behaviour, but will also look at causal effects, helping children to understand their own emotions and social interactions. This will be managed through a series of activities through which our students will examine theoretical perspectives in practical terms.
Whist yesterday’s session started quietly, as participants came to terms that their own behaviours were being placed under the microscope, they soon warmed up an began to express their own feelings and experiences. Every bit as important as as the input from tutors is the jousting between students and the built in time for reflection.
It is already obvious that this is going to be a lively and enjoyable week. I have no doubt that there will be conflicting views expressed and strong opinions upheld. But this is all part of the cut and thrust of studying on the MA in Special and Inclusive Education.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) we have an open day for visitors interested in the course. Why not come along and meet us?