As an educator, it is always challenging to meet the needs of all our students – even more so, the needs of our most struggling students. It is not too often that I come across a resource related to teaching challenging students that makes me gain a better understanding of a difficult aspect of our profession. The Behavior Code gave me the tools to implement effective strategies when thinking about students of trauma.
The Behavior Code – A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students by Jessica Minahan (@jessica_minahan)and Nancy Rappaport (@docrappaport) made me understand the nuances of becoming a “behaviour detective” and that, quite often, my response to a child’s behaviour was mismatched and the intervention was ineffective because I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
“If the student is developing problematic, maladaptive behaviour, it is a symptom of an underdeveloped skill.” This may seem like common sense, but it is all too easy to blame a behaviour on a child and get caught up in all the other responsibilities we have within our classrooms instead of looking at what we are seeing and hearing. What I appreciate is that the authors remind us that “it is vital to understand that the student is disabled” and what we see in the classroom is a result of this underdeveloped skill. We need to slow down and uncover the triggers and provide the supports to develop the skill that they are lacking. Document what you observe before, during and after a behaviour and involve other colleagues or professionals within this field to get at the root of what this child needs to be successful as a learner and in everyday life.
This resource was a great refresher and also gave wonderful strategies for classroom educators to get better at analyzing situations and providing the language or supports for challenging students.
Yours in learning,