As you start the new term check how many times you say:
‘You are getting on my nerves’
‘You are making me angry’
‘If you do that again I am going to shout/get cross/scream’
‘I find that word particularly offensive’
‘I am thoroughly irritated by your behaviour’
When you connect inappropriate behaviour with your personal emotional response some children will empathise. Many will take note of the power and impact certain behaviours have on your emotional state. Some may use the information to prokove a reaction, to divert you away from work or as ‘handgrenades’ to bring the lesson to an abrupt halt. The behaviours that provoke an emotional reaction within you ought to be ones that you remain outwardly impassive towards.
Connecting behaviour and emotion passes over control of your response to the students. I catch myself doing it when I am most tired, most frustrated, most exasperated. Before passing over your emotional control to a 6 year old adjust your language and focus on rational responses to inappropriate behaviour. State the behaviour that you observe, what the consequences of it continuing will be while giving the pupil a model of their previous good behaviour. Cooly, calmy but with absolute certainty.
‘Trevor, you are chewing the curtains. (I am not going to get angry, irritated, scream, sigh, twitch etc) This is a warning, think carefully about your next move Trevor, try to make better choices like you did last Thursday when you helped me tidy up after painting’.
© Paul Dix 2007