Date
19 January 2020

Helpful teacher behaviours and communication

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Respond safely to challenging situations’

Demonstrate growth mindset and self-regulation

Demonstrate growth mindset and self-regulation

Our own attitudes and expectations of students can significantly contribute to the behaviours we observe.

Adopt helpful communi­cation responses

Adopt helpful communi­cation responses

The way we speak, our body language, and proximity can have a positive impact on an escalating situation.

 

  • Talk quietly, even when the person is loud.
  • Try to remain calm and respectful.
  • Monitor your own body language and allow the student the opportunity to move out of the situation with dignity.
  • Focus on communicating respect and your desire to help.
  • Keep verbal interactions respectful.
  • When appropriate, give the student clear choices and/or directions to help them feel more secure and regain control.

Source: Guidelines for registered schools in New Zealand on the use of physical restraint (opens in a new tab/window)

Setting limits and seeking assistance

Setting limits and seeking assistance

Reflect on your own communication responses.

Setting limits is about providing clear boundaries for the child or young person to respond. It is a step-by-step procedure aimed at helping a child or young person to feel more secure and to regain control. (View example script)

A high probability instruction is one the child or young person is likely to follow. It aims to defuse a situation by diverting attention or giving the child or young person a face-saving way to extricate themselves from a developing situation.

Examples:

  • Let’s go for a walk around the playground.
  • Will you go and get the swimming key for me?

Source: Positive Behaviour for Learning (opens in a new tab/window)

Avoid unhelpful responses

Avoid unhelpful responses

The way we respond can affect the outcome of a situation.

Taking an authoritarian approach can encourage opposition and defiance.

Lecturing, arguing, counselling, threatening, and answering back do not defuse heated situations.

The following are examples of common responses that are unhelpful:

  • Ignoring (this is only acceptable if the behaviour is minor)
  • Reasoning
  • Reprimands
  • Sarcasm and public humiliation
  • Sending out of the room
  • Threatening to inform whānau
  • Restraint
  • Informal suspension


Read the Common responses information sheet to find out why these responses are not recommended.

Source: Positive Behaviour for Learning (opens in a new tab/window)

Seek assistance from other staff members

Seek assistance from other staff members

Know when to seek assistance and have a clear understanding about what the other teacher’s role will be.

Working in partnership, two teachers can set limits, with:

  • Teacher A giving directions
  • Teacher B in a supportive role, concentrating on managing and defusing the situation and thus protecting others.

NB. Seeing another teacher could cause a student’s behaviour to escalate.

 

Source: Positive Behaviour for Learning (opens in a new tab/window)

Useful resources

Useful resources

File

Positive Behaviour for Learning information sheet: Common responses

Read time: 11 min

Publisher: Positive Behaviour for Learning

Download PDF

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Respond safely to challenging situations”:

Return to the guide “Behaviour and learning”

Guide to Index of the guide: Behaviour and learning

Strategies for action:

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