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Anyone read the Paul Dix book (When the Adults Change)?

(63 Posts)
JamDoughnuts Sat 11-Aug-18 11:20:01

I found it quite horrifying and I'm really worried that it is being so heavily promoted.

I've worked in 'that' area of town for ten years now and I completely understand that relationships can make or break it. BUT that does not mean that there are no boundaries and that's all I was getting from that book.

I'm feeling totally jaded atm and it just seems the icing on the cake- bad behaviour is our fault because we've not got a 'relationship' with the child, not the fault of lazy parents or the impact of poverty.

DumbledoresApprentice Sat 11-Aug-18 13:12:06

I admit I’ve not read the whole book but from the excerpt I read when we were reviewing our behaviour policy earlier in the year I didn’t see him as blaming teachers for poor behaviour at all. And anyway, what good does apportioning blame for behaviour do? Poor behaviour can absolutely be caused by poverty and poor parenting but as teachers we don’t have any control over those factors. We need to concentrate on the factors that we actually have control over that can make a difference to behaviour.
Saying that teachers don’t always deal with poor behaviour effectively is not the same as saying that the poor behaviour is their fault. I know I’ve reacted to poor behaviour in ways that have escalated the situation and been ineffective in the past. That doesn’t mean that the poor behaviour was my fault. But I’d be a fool if the next time the same thing happened I didn’t deal with it differently.
I don’t understand the point about no boundaries (probably because I haven’t read the whole book, sorry). Are you saying that he advocates a system where there are no boundaries? Or that he is accusing teachers of having no boundaries?

Reteacher101 Sat 11-Aug-18 13:16:17

I tried a couple of things from it (read a short version not whole book - maybe an amazon sample? I can’t remember) and felt that he had some good ideas but expected an awful lot of our very limited time. I think you were to shake hands with pupils, and catch up with them to discuss any incidents later that day. I am lucky if I have one free period a day and I would literally only be chasing pupils.

JamDoughnuts Sat 11-Aug-18 13:56:06

Are you saying that he advocates a system where there are no boundaries?

Yes, although on reflection I don't think he meant to.

He was determined to show teachers who 'disciplined' as shouting monsters, because being relentlessly positive is going to solve everything.

In the section about never sending out a child out of the room, for example, he says that the minute you do that you've 'lost'. Are you meant to continue the softly-softly approach around one student or are you going to teach?

Reteacher101 Sat 11-Aug-18 14:36:31

Where am I supposed to have all these quiet, relationship building chats if I never send a child out of the room?

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 12-Aug-18 01:59:10

He was determined to show teachers who 'disciplined' as shouting monsters

I am not normally an advocate for these types of books, but this isn't what he is saying at all.

Its a combination of how to approach pupils and how to approach their behaviour, a lot of it is already being done by teachers and some of what he says is either de-escalation or not allowing the issue to get to the escalation stage in the first place.

From what I remember he also says that none of what he says to try will work by itself (or even work with all pupils) it has to be done within a clear set of rules.

TBH a lot of what he says is teaching grandmother to suck eggs.

Rainuntilseptember15 Sun 12-Aug-18 11:04:13

Deescalation is such a lot of hard work. No boss will ever put in that amount of effort to get an employee to comply with basic rules on the job. I wonder sometimes if we are doing them a disservice by treating them so differently from the outside world.

SureIusedtobetaller Sun 12-Aug-18 11:11:21

I’ve read it and I like lots of the stuff- botheredness in particular. Lots of children seem to have lots of things but not much attention and it addresses that. Plus we are the biggest role models after their families so we should be showing them how to build relationships.
Not sure if it’s as effective in secondary once they are more set in their ways.
Our problem with following the ideas wasn’t the children, but the adults who just wouldn’t buy into it and misinterpreted the whole thing as no boundaries or consequences. Eye rolling from adults doesn’t help at all...

Rainuntilseptember15 Sun 12-Aug-18 12:01:24

The eye rolling isn’t helpful but I bet jf came from teachers who had sat through about 20 new discipline schemes being rolled out to them. It’s almost worse when you really do buy into something and it disappears from the school as soon as the teacher leading it has it their promotion.

JamDoughnuts Sun 12-Aug-18 12:33:32

The thing about attention and deescalation is that they crave negative attention, because they know what to do with that and it lets them explode.

In some situations, de-escalation will work, but when you're constantly de-escalating it becomes ignoring behaviours that wouldn't fly in the real world.

I have good behaviour management, and I've built it up over a long period of time. I know that my reputation comes before me. I think that this book seems to think it will happen overnight.

SureIusedtobetaller Sun 12-Aug-18 12:36:26

I take your point and the circular nature of “new” ideas frustrates me too. But in our case the eye rolling comes mostly from staff who feel there should be zero tolerance with no excuses and “I got shouted at it never did me any harm.”

idonthaveatattoo Sun 12-Aug-18 12:39:09

I haven’t read it. Can someone do a synopsis?

Rainuntilseptember15 Sun 12-Aug-18 12:43:16

Zero tolerance can be a valid approach though, to clamp down on minor infringements and make sure nothing worse happens. Over tolerance is something I am often guilty off and if I need to pull things back together a very strict approach seems to work. Obviously you have to have due regard for asn that affect behaviour you can punish for that. I’m back at work tomorrow here so wondering what the new “thing” will be this year!

Rainuntilseptember15 Sun 12-Aug-18 12:44:36

You can’t punish for that

JamDoughnuts Sun 12-Aug-18 12:52:37

No, flat-out zero tolerance doesn't work either.

You do need elements of zero tolerance though. I think that put me off this book from the get-go, when he describes the child coming into class, flipping the chair and telling him to fuck off. For some children I know, that would be a rare enough occurrence for me to approach with caution and speak to them in a quiet moment.

However, for others, I know that that is a signal for 'I'm going to launch this chair at your head next'- so I will put them out.

In other situations, it's that craving for negative attention. In that scenario, constant bothered-ness may work, but over a long period of time.

I had a quick flick through again and he does mention that it is for the 95% of children and how 5% need 'to go elsewhere'. I know in our LA, 1% of children go to a unit. So that has an impact as well.

SureIusedtobetaller Sun 12-Aug-18 12:54:37

I am over tolerant too sometimes. I mean zero tolerance with no acceptance of Send etc. Staff who decide a child is naughty when there are actually additional needs, or maybe stuff going on at home that mean a little understanding and a chat rather than a punishment might be needed.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 12-Aug-18 15:36:29

The problem is that no flat policy is going to work.

There needs to be some leeway due to the pupils being different

JamDoughnuts Sun 12-Aug-18 16:27:38

The problem is that no flat policy is going to work

Does that not also apply to a 'positive' policy?

Staff who decide a child is naughty when there are actually additional needs, or maybe stuff going on at home that mean a little understanding and a chat rather than a punishment might be needed

I am not saying that this isn't important. In my school, however, there are a subset of children who do not face consequences of their actions because of their circumstances. It's always just 'a little chat'.

HopeClearwater Sun 12-Aug-18 17:39:15

wonder sometimes if we are doing them a disservice by treating them so differently from the outside world

I often wonder this too. Sometimes I think that means they are completely unable to deal with their first experiences of youth court and youth custody, with dire results.

JamDoughnuts Sun 12-Aug-18 18:33:45

I worry about workplaces and daily life. If you think it is acceptable to walk down a school corridor and shove a Y7 out of the way, are you going to do it on the street?

As someone said above, no employer will do what teachers are doing.

Nononannette Sun 12-Aug-18 18:36:39

I have heard of a young person being fired from a job in a shop for having their phone on them (all supposed to be left in lockers) Not 17 chances given, just fired!

idonthaveatattoo Sun 12-Aug-18 19:01:14

Well, yeah.

But the shop is employing them. Schools aren’t, are they?

Piggywaspushed Sun 12-Aug-18 20:31:24

Unlike most on this thread, I have read the whole book. I think he is your typical smug, arrogant male know all in education and prefer so many other behaviour books (Sue Cowley, Bill Rodgers). Some of what he said makes sense but most of it made me angry BUT he has not worked much in mainstream, comp settings. My school has tried a few of his ideas but not bought in as much as some. I think we would struggle at my school with many of his strategies because our kids argue!

We have had training on him (delivered by people who had not read his book getting , at best, third hand knowledge)

Hopefully, he'll be a bit of a passing fad. And he will have got vvvvv rich in the meantime.

Piggywaspushed Sun 12-Aug-18 20:33:53

That said (and it's a few months since I read it) whilst he was annoying about saying all teachers needed to deal with all students themselves, he was pretty clear that SLT should be visible presences ... I suspect that's the pages that most SLTs skip!!

Piggywaspushed Sun 12-Aug-18 20:36:32

... and also... am on a roll...some students,let alone teachers, don't like this botheredness . I actully feel some teachers pry a bit these days and it makes me a bit uncomfortable. We are teachers, first and foremost.

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