At Roundhay, our practice is informed by research with the ultimate vision of ensuring that every child is ready and fit for thier future. We seek consistency in everything that we do, but the consistency is routed in kindness and not the machismo of zero tolerance. Paul Dix, the writer of ‘If adults change, everything changes,’ states that we must focus on the behaviour our adults first:
‘A focus on adult behaviour is the only responsible approach. Emotionally mature adults are flexible enough to change, to be present in the toughest moments and to judge slowly. They are patient, encouraging and kind. Through the fog of anger they keep everyone safe. In the calm of light of day they build rapport and emotional currency. Their expectations are always high and they will never drop their own standards because of the poor behaviour of a learner. Build a school that is full of them and there are no limits to achievement.’
To strive for this achievement, it all starts with an understanding of the four basic needs: According to Dr. William Glasser, there are four basic psychological needs that motivate behaviour. All individuals are motivated by needs.
- Belonging – Fulfilled by loving, sharing, and cooperating with others
- Power – Fulfilled by achieving, accomplishing, and being recognized and respected
- Freedom – Fulfilled by making choices
- Fun – Fulfilled by laughing and playing
According to Dr. Glasser, when children choose to misbehave, they are not doing so just to disobey you or drive you crazy. They are choosing their behaviour to meet a need. We describe it as, children are behaving their feelings, and it may be due to the fact that they are not feeling fulfilled and happy. Let’s look at each of the four basic needs in detail so that we will develop an understanding of what they are and what part they play in behaviour. The Need for Survival Clearly this is a given. This need is the easiest to describe. All living creatures are genetically programmed to survive. The need to survive includes the need to satisfy hunger, thirst and sexual desire. The need for survival also means responding to physical threats and seeking safety and security.
Dr. Glasser’s Four Basic Needs
The Need for Love and Belonging
This is the strongest of the basic psychological needs. The need to love and be loved, to belong and have friends, is almost as strong as the need to survive. When we feel unloved and alone, we are profoundly sad. Parents of teenagers are very familiar with this need. A 15-year-old boy often expressed it as, “I want to be with my friends.” And, as with all teenagers, his need for belonging and friendship usually takes precedence over chores, homework or most anything. Look inside yourself and think what your life would be like without your family or any friends, and you will see the critical importance of fulfilling the need for love and belonging. It is vitally important that you as parents support your children to fulfill this need. When parents are too busy or do not know how to do this themselves, their children will and do suffer. It is important to help children to socialize at a very young age. Then they will be able to take this on themselves. WE MUST SUPPORT THEM. For they are dependent on us until they go to high school and then some more years after that…
The Need for Power
This is the most misunderstood of the psychological needs because we tend to think of power in a negative sense, as power over other people. The power that Dr. Glasser is talking about is a personal power, a sense of self-worth that comes from accomplishment and recognition. The need for power is also the need to feel that we are in control of our own lives. When you give your children orders or commands, you frustrate their need for power. When you give them choices, you satisfy their need for power and give them a feeling that they are responsible enough to have control over their own behaviour. When you praise your children and NOTICE the things they do well, when you recognize their accomplishments, you are satisfying their need for power. When children feel powerless, they attempt to satisfy this need by exerting power over others by bullying, acting out in the home or in class or disobeying rules (showing they are more powerful than the person who set the rules).
The Need for Freedom
This is the need for the freedom to choose how we live our lives, to express ourselves freely, and to be free from the control of others. We are fortunate to live in our society with considerable freedom, and we are free to make countless choices every day. Helping children satisfy this need does not mean giving them the freedom to do whatever they want to do. When we talk about helping children to learn about responsibility, we are talking about giving them the freedom to choose. For instance, consider the following statement by a parent to a child: “If you do not do your work, you are not going to go to be able to participate in basketball.” Now, compare that statement to this one: “Of course, you can participate in basketball, just as long as your work is done. It is your choice.” A threat frustrates the children’s need for power and does nothing to meet their need for freedom. Offering a choice meets both their needs for power and freedom and teaches them about responsibility–it is their choice.
The Need for Fun
We look at the psychological need for fun as most important. When you are having fun, you are very happy. You are so happy that whatever cares or concerns you might have go into the background of your mind. When we are having fun, we relax, recharge our batteries and enjoy a much-needed relief from the pressures that surround us. Fun should be enjoyed by every age in life; it is not just for children. Dr. Glasser defines fun as the genetic reward for learning. This is very important to remember when dealing with children. Watch children when they are at play. They are constantly discovering, learning and having a great time. Whenever any of us discover something new, there is a sense of excitement and fun that accompanies the learning. We continually teach parents that punishment does not teach children anything. There is no fun in being punished. Not only is it painful, there is no learning and therefore no fun. Instead I teach parents to NOTICE the positive in the children and their behaviours and you will get more positive behaviours and everyone will feel good. In summary, we all have basic needs that we are continually attempting to satisfy. If we can teach children how to satisfy their basic needs without impinging on the needs of others, we have taught them how to be responsible for themselves and this will help them better understand themselves as well as others. This is what it is all about…And this will lead to more fulfilling lives. And they will learn to make and keep friends. Susan Stern, LCSW is the founder of The Social Skills Place, Inc. Dr. William Glasser has devoted over 40 years of his professional life proving that so-called mental illnesses can be cured or made healthy by having happy marital, family, teacher-student relationships. He developed The Peaceable School Program, A Comprehensive Program for Teaching Conflict Resolution
These Are Our 13 Pledges
- Make every learner feel important, valued and like they belong (deliberately noticing something new about each child, focus your positive attention on effort and not an achievement, end every lesson with positive reflections)
- Meet & Greet children with a handshake every morning/after break/every time they come into the room
- Use positive notes (sticky notes on a child’s desk with a positive comment/feedback on. ‘You’ve Been Caught Going Above and Beyond postcards’ in addition to the weekly special mention)
- Use your class dojo as a recognition board – ‘we are all going to work together to ensure that everyone gets a dojo in today’s lesson mentality)
- Focus everything on our 3 promises
- Refuse to shout, show emotion or frustration (use assertive language stems e.g. You need to speak to me at the side of the room, I need to see you following the agreed routine, I expect to see your table tidy immaculately in the next 2 minutes, I know you will help James clean the pen off his face, Thank you for letting go of her hair, let’s walk and talk, I have heard what you’ve said, now you must collect your things calmly and move to the thinking space, We will have a better day tomorrow!
- Give the 1st attention to those doing the right things
- Take the fame out of the being badly behaved (always speak to the child in private, get down and whisper to them)
- Make a point of praising and recognising behaviour that is OVER AND ABOVE
- 30 sec interventions
– Try only intervening for 30 secs max when a child digs their heels in
– I noticed that you are… (Having trouble getting started/wandering around the classroom..)
– It was the promise about…(being respectful that you broke/are about to break…)
– You have chosen to…(move to the back/catch up with your work at lunchtime/speak to…_
– Do you remember last week when you…(arrived on time, got that positive note…)
– That is who I need to see today…
– Thank you for listening. (Then give the child some ‘take up’ time)
- Use scripted responses:
– You need to understand that every choice has a consequence. If you chose to your work, then that would be fantastic and this will happen…Of you choose not to do the work, then this will happen…I’ll leave you to make your decision
– Do you remember yesterday when you helped me to tidy up? That is the Stefan I need to see today, that is the Stefan you can be all of the time
– I don’t like your behaviour. Your behaviour is disruptive, damaging and dangerous. I don’t like your behaviour but I believe that you can be a success.
– I am not leaving, I care about what happens. You are going to be brilliant.
– What do you think the poor choices were that caught my attention?
– What do you think you could do to avoid this from happening in the next lesson?
– Darrel it’s not like you to…kick doors, shout out etc…
- Use restorative 5 after an incident (choose 5 from below)
– What happened?
– What were you thinking at the time?
– What have you thought since?
– How did this make people feel?
– Who has been affected?
– What should we do to put things right?
– How can we do things differently in the future?
- Insist on Assembly hands (Fantastic Walking), use Legendary Lineups and make the expectation really clear (coats and silently line up in order), use Tremendous Transitions to create clear, predictable expectations which in turn lead to familiar rituals which reduce anxiety whilst making it positive, fun and upbeat!