Understanding human behaviour is not rocket science, it’s much harder. As educators who care deeply about our children and young people, when we see distressed behaviour, we want to put a stop to it.
We want our students to be able manage their emotions and respond to situations in socially acceptable ways. For that to happen, there is no formulaic solution.
We cannot say this behaviour equals this response and then it’s fixed. The reality is, human beings are complex, and those are the ones without complex needs.
Our behavioural patterns spread across a wide continuum. At one end lies the behaviours which can breed negative outcomes and on the other sits the behaviours which, from an educational point of view, are conducive to learning and beneficial to the group/class/community.
This spectrum helps us to better understand behaviour and consider the steps we can take to address and resolve challenges. At CPI we offer training
to help you provide the best possible Care, Welfare, Safety and Security of individuals presenting a range of behaviours. The efficacy of each programme is determined by one common factor, adult behaviour.
From MAPA to SI
Our Safety Intervention
programme, formerly known as MAPA
®, has been designed to support educators in managing crisis moments which entail the most extreme behaviours, where children and young people are incapable of regulating their own emotions.
Here we support participants in the design of a robust response with well-defined support mechanisms to effectively navigate situations where there is immediate risk of harm to self and/or others.
Each response is used in line with an ongoing risk assessment where practitioners continually seek opportunities to safely release students from a physical hold and de-escalate the situation.
Of course, safety is always the priority. Depending on the context and students’ needs a holding skill must only ever be used as a last resort. This type of intervention is not the
Our conversations around human behaviour cannot be rooted exclusively in what to do when things reach the crisis phase.
Our Verbal Intervention
programme explores how we must always try to understand what the student is trying to achieve. Then we can provide the necessary support to de-escalate the situation, or at least stop it from getting worse.
The training guides participants through the Crisis Development Model
, a framework which represents a series of recognisable behaviour levels that an individual may experience during a crisis moment. Alongside a skilled use of non-verbal communication, the programme explores staff attitudes and approaches that can be used to support students displaying distressed behaviour.
These responses involve co-regulating to facilitate the development of self-regulation and prevent an individual from entering the crisis phase.
Before we consider verbal and safety interventions, we need to think about how we can create an environment that meets our children and young people’s needs and is less likely to give rise to them responding impulsively to situations.
Calm, consistent classroom
Although the solution to behaviour problems doesn’t and never will exist, what we do know is that children and young people require certainty. They need help day in and day out from trusted, safe adults who are willing to do everything they possible can to provide that Classroom Culture
of certainty and consistency.
If we’re constantly chasing the strategy or the intervention for our more distressed students, without establishing a culture of genuine stability first, then we’re going to end up firefighting because all of our resources, all of our attention, all of our time is going to be taken up with our high-tariff students, the 5 to 10%.
Once we’ve invested our energy and time, for as long as it takes, to lay the foundations, and we have good behaviour through design not just by chance, we’ll then have more space to think through individualised responses/therapeutic approaches for the 5 to 10%, which may be reduced.
There's going to be some students who see that improved classroom culture – calm, consistent adult behaviour, robust routines, clear, memorable rules, sincere praise – as more favourable.
Encouraging learners to connect with a classroom culture is easier when we can offer students that clarity of vision and can talk about it directly because you can see it, you can hear it and you can sense it.
There will of course be students who have been fundamentally let down by the adult world and will need to test the boundaries and try to break this system. The only way that we as a staff body can be confident that the system is not breakable is by creating that secure platform of, ‘This is how we
do it here.’
Only when we establish a real sense of togetherness within our classroom - a sense of shared identity - will our children and young people have a fighting chance to develop the resilience, the self-awareness and confidence required to take ownership of their own behaviour.