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Supporting children's development
Supporting children's development

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1 Children’s behaviour

Jon Richards, UNISON’s head of education (cited in Bennett, 2015a), notes a few simple truths about children’s behaviour:

  • Everyone experiences difficult behaviour at school
  • Children, like all people, can be selfish, cruel, kind and amazing
  • It isn’t your fault if they misbehave, but it is your responsibility to act if they do
  • Most students will be happy to abide by rules that are fair, consistent and proportionate
  • Almost all students prefer to be in a school where the adults take behaviour seriously.
(Bennett, 2015a)

Activity 1

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

List five undesirable behaviours children engage in, in your setting.

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You may have noted some or all of the following behaviours:

  • damaging property
  • lying
  • making silly noises or clowning around
  • using abusive language
  • talking back to staff
  • not listening
  • running indoors, rather than walking.

What one person considers to be undesirable, another person may consider acceptable. You might, therefore, have been surprised by some of the behaviours in our list. You might like to reflect on why these behaviours could be considered undesirable.

There are likely to be behaviours listed that are easy to view as undesirable because they put a child’s safety at risk, or they are disruptive and affect children’s ability to learn or interact with others.

As you work through this behavioural management section you may find it helpful to look back at the responses you have given and reflect on how these behaviours could be managed in a school setting.