Promoting Positive Behaviour in Different Practice Settings

December 2005

This seminar provided an opportunity for voluntary sector colleagues to:

  • Hear about and reflect on school-based approaches to promoting positive behaviour. Some of these approaches may be transferable to other settings and other groups of practitioners.  Some may mesh with or refresh existing practices, or be amenable to adaptation. 
  • Hear an overview from Scottish Government colleagues about the work going on across Scotland in the context of ‘Better Behaviour – Better Learning’ while speakers also presented a selection of the following specific approaches - ‘Staged Intervention Framework for Intervention’, an approach providing peer support for staff, and whole school approaches called ‘Restorative Practices’ and the ‘Solution Oriented School’.

More about the day is available by following the links below.

Ruth Campbell: Scottish Government Education Department : Support for Learning

“Behaviour is a complex problem. If there was a single ‘magic bullet’ that would work for everyone, then someone would have found it by now.  Better Behaviour – Better Learning sets out 36 recommendations to schools, education authorities and the Scottish Government which forms the backbone of discipline policy in Scotland. 

It is clear that progress is most likely to be made if schools, as learning communities, can establish local approaches to fit local circumstances.  That’s why we have invested in a range of approaches to promoting positive behaviour in school and given education authorities the space to choose what works for them.”

Our first speaker, Ruth Campbell, set the scene and gave an overview of Better Behaviour – Better Learning.  She introduced the range of approaches that the Executive is supporting, drawing attention to common themes:

  • Building a positive school ethos
  • Confident, supported school staff
  • Social, emotional, behavioural skill development/emotional literacy
  • Positive relationships and communication
  • A focus on solutions

You can download Ruth’s PowerPoint presentation HERE

Maggie Fallon: Leader of Regional Communications Team: Better Behaviour – Better Learning. Scottish Government Education Department

“Staged Intervention/ Framework for Intervention (SI/ FFI) is a systematic approach to the management of low level disruptive behaviour in the classroom.  It uses a peer support model, enabling teachers to support each other in forming solutions.”

Maggie explained that SI/ FFI is a model that addresses low level indiscipline in school, which schools use in parallel with their standard approach.  The approach involves appointing a supportive member of staff as the schools Behaviour Coordinator. This person is trained in the use of the framework and is generally someone who is well respected and approachable in school. If a teacher is experiencing behavioural problems in the classroom then they can approach the coordinator who will hold a confidential meeting with the teacher and initiate level one, which focuses on the learning environment, making use of an ‘environmental checklist’. The model has three levels which depend on the severity and persistence of problems.

You can download Maggie’s PowerPoint presentation HERE

Tom Williams: Principal Psychologist , East Ayrshire Education Authority

“As practitioners we often spend all our time and energy dwelling on why a young person is behaving disruptively. In taking a Solution Oriented approach the problem is acknowledged but the focus is much more on solutions and how to change behaviour for the better”

Tom introduced Solution Oriented School programme, reflecting another of the major themes within the Better Behaviour framework. Tom pointed out that a lot of what he was to present contextualises and affirms current good practice.

As Tom explained, the Solution Oriented School programme encourages schools to take a pragmatic approach:

  • To learn from what is working already
  • To leave behind practice that is failing to pay off
  • To recognise that ‘the problem’ is the problem (not the child, teacher or professional)
  • To build from the strengths that each individual brings to each and every situation or difficulty

You can download Tom’s PowerPoint presentation HERE

Brain Steele Principal Psychologist, North Lanarkshire Education Authority

“The restorative approach is a philosophy, not a model, and ought to guide the way we act in our dealings with others”

Brian started his presentation by pointing out that punishment and the threat of punishment is not a particularly useful way to bring about changes in behaviour. Whilst this is the traditional approach to tackling indiscipline, it does not present an opportunity for learning about, and from, problematic behaviour. 

Brian told our audience that a more effective way of dealing with young people’s behaviour is to take a restorative approach, which emphasises:

  • Being accountable and responsible for one’s own actions and their impact on others
  • Respect for other people and their views and feelings
  • Empathy with the feelings of others
  • Fairness
  • Reflection on conflict with those involved

Fairness is a key strength of restorative practices.  It is an approach which is not about winning, losing, guilt or revenge but dealing with problems using a fair approach. It helps teachers, parents and young people to learn from the harm that has been done and to understand the impact negative behaviour has on others.

You can download Brian’s PowerPoint presentation HERE  

Many delegates suggested that they might wish to work with PINS to develop future training opportunities where they and voluntary sector colleagues could learn more about the approaches presented at the seminar.  Other important thoughts and questions which were raised included how do we, in the voluntary sector, support schools to buy into and implement the techniques we’ve heard about?

Some other comments from participants at the seminar included:

“It was useful to here about solution oriented approaches. I agree that as practitioners we can spend far too much time thinking and investigating the question of ‘why’ when it comes to young people’s problematic behaviour. As the speaker said, it makes much more sense to focus attention on the question of how positive change can be achieved.”

“It is clear that a lot of the problems that occur are related to the way in which adults relate to young people. Interaction and having a positive relationship with young people is the key”.

“One of the important things raised for me today was remembering to maintain the child’s sense of belonging no matter what problems have arisen”.

“I think there should be the opportunity for the wider application of these approaches. Both in schools and within the voluntary sector”.

“I think it would benefit all schools to introduce the solution focused approach into their behaviour policy”.

“I think much good practice is already in place within schools and the voluntary sector. This session has reaffirmed some of the good work we already do”.