"In the heat of the moment, it is often easy to condemn children whose behaviour is -“ at best -“ challenging. Many of our students come from supportive, loving and stable families who work best to make sure everyone within is nurtured to do their best. In contrast, for a minority, the daily difficulties faced in their lives can impact negatively on their emotional wellbeing, decision-making and behaviour. It is often schools and teachers who are at the other end of disruptive behaviours but, with the right support, are in a privileged position to offer a positive guiding hand to troubled hearts and troubled minds.
Within the introduction of his new book, Peter Nelmes concedes that the text is about unconventional people in unconventional classrooms. Essentially, the book is about emotions, and how emotions play a role in the learning of all children, and indeed adults, whether or not their behaviour is challenging, and whether or not they are troubled. Tackling such issues and challenging behaviours is no easy task, but Peter steps through two distinct topics within the book, exploring (1) the construction and components of shared meanings, and (2) what it all means for teachers.
In the first part, Nelmes walks the reader through the emotional component of teaching and learning, introducing us to -˜shared meanings' that help us to feel close to others, shape our friendships, and build connections within communities. Exploring how shared meanings are generated, the reader is guided with a range of stories and examples noted through Peter's own teaching experiences where shared meanings have worked with students, and others where those experiences have escaped. Referring to Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), the book guides us to help structure and extend learning carefully so that it is accessible to all, and build supportive connections with students. The role of the teacher is also given comprehensive consideration, describing how building coherent meaning to teaching and learning adds value to what needs to be taught. Additionally, the disparity in adults' views is also given attention, with the attitudes and language used alongside the disparate interpretations of behaviours, emotional climates and philosophies all given due consideration.
The power of the context is also explored within the book in how essential factors are in escalating challenging behaviour. The reader is invited to consider the classroom and school environment, home experiences and the history of individuals, that all have an impact on what is presented each day. Maslow's theory of human motivation (physical; emotional; academic; fun, play and hope; communication; social) is given equal attention when envisaged within the needs of each child taught. Child (and teenage) development is also considered with fascinating sections exploring egocentricity, power control and anxiety.
Emotions are given central consideration in Chapter 5, as the book explores how to attune to and contain emotions. This is a powerful chapter advising teachers to be in touch and understand their own reactions and emotions when presented with challenging classroom or school situations. It is often not appropriate to fight fire with fire, but the central message here is containing such situations by facilitating social interactions and being a supportive teacher with strength, respect and kindness, no matter what situation you are faced with.
Forward into the second part of the book, the reader is presented with a couple of chapters exploring: How to talk to troubled children, and; Self-regulation and supportive interventions. Four modes of teacher-pupil dialogues are noted (facilitative, authoritative, authoritarian, and rejection), and reflecting on how teachers use each mode is given due attention. A collection of advice snippets are offered in supporting the art of de-escalation.
So, who is this book for? Most schools and teachers will be faced with challenging behaviours and individuals that have the ability to disrupt the best-planned lesson, descending to a wasted period where too much time was given towards managing (or not) the disruption. This is not a book that is necessarily aimed at teachers who always work with students living with emotional or behavioural difficulties (EBD), but it is a book aimed at teachers who try to deal with disruptive behaviour that negatively impacts on the teaching and learning sequence. It is a book for teachers, and school leaders, who want to better understand the emotional and cognitive challenges that some students face more than others. The book offers guidance, support and guidance on how to support and deal with students who, themselves, are struggling to cope with any number of challenges within their lives. Pros:-
The book offers guidance, support and guidance on how to support and deal with students who, themselves, are struggling to cope with any number of challenges within their lives.
- This is a book for teachers, and school leaders, who want to better understand the emotional and cognitive challenges that some students face more than others.
- For teachers who try to deal with disruptive behaviour that impacts on the teaching and learning sequence.
- Help develop opportunities to engage with those 'hard to reach' children we can encounter.
- Explores the emotional, developmental and cognitive challenges that many young people live with on a daily basis."
to read the review on UKEdChat