Education Q&A - February 2024
You talk about getting emotional currency by investing your emotions, but how do you strike a balance of not responding emotionally, but at the same time, investing emotionally?
This is a great question, and to start we need to unpick a little the way “behaviour” is framed in schools. Generally, when we hear ‘behaviour’, ‘consequences’ or ‘incidents’ being discussed in a school environment, the majority revert to the assumption that these are about negative experiences.
Behaviour is just what we do
If we challenge this notion and suggest that behaviour’ is just what we do, ‘consequence’ is just the result or outcome, and ‘incident’ is just the event then it allows us to better acknowledge that we have both agreeable and inappropriate experiences. When we start to consciously separate the positives and negatives, we allow ourselves to consider best practice for each approach.
Revisit the why
Are you responding to the behaviour to feel better/more in control/to win the ‘incident’ or are you responding to support learners to develop better skills in respect/community/ambition/ownership. Knowing your driver is key. Allow this understanding to influence your decision making around the best course of action so you can focus on the outcome rather than an internal monologue.
First attention to best conduct
Save your emotions for when learners deserve them the most. When they follow the rules, succeed in your class, demonstrate respectful behaviour/effort then you should celebrate this with enthusiasm, joy and even warmth. “This is how we do it here” is a lovely response to when learner/s hit the mark and meet or exceed your expectations. Demonstrate that the best way to get your attention is to do the right thing. It plays into one of our key principles “First attention to best conduct”. Show your learners that their good choices have a positive impact on you, the environment, relationships, and successes.
This allows you to then demonstrate an effective contrast between how you respond to various behaviours. “When you do the right thing, you will get the best of me! When you do the wrong thing, you won’t get the worst of me, but you will still get me at my best”. Me at my best is an emotionally regulated, self-controlled, considered professional who is able to best manage response to inappropriate behaviour to still plan to influence and teach behaviour despite the internal frustration and emotional challenge.
Scripts and planned interventions (our 4th key principle) can significantly help to remove your own negative emotional responses. We need to ensure that we are modelling best behaviour practices to our learners and as part of the building emotional currency we must ensure we are also protecting any currency that is already there.
For more information on the Classroom Culture train the trainer programme, our Hearts & Minds INSET, or how your school can get a Behaviour Health Check, go to our Classroom Culture programme page and fill in the consultation form.
For more answers to your questions see our Q&A introduction page.