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Inside Teaching : April 2011
www.atra.edu.au | firstname.lastname@example.org REVIEWS 51 Changing Behaviour in Schools By Sue Roffey Published by Sage ISBN 9 781 849 207 783 RRP $42.95 Reviewed by Jenny Mackay ‘The right word at the right time can make a difference for all time.’ This statement lies at the heart of all Sue Roffey conveys in her book. It’s a pleasure to read such a well-considered, well-researched book which focuses on who we teach as a counterbalance to what we teach. It’s a ‘must read’ for educators. There’s so much written on teaching the curriculum, on what and how children learn, that it’s a sheer delight to read a book that focuses educators and schools on the need to develop behaviours which build a strong sense of wellbeing throughout the school community. The question Sue Roffey poses and answers in her book is: ‘How can we encourage students to feel good about being there and engaging with their learning?’ Roffey challenges our management of behaviour in schools, providing teachers with information, guidance, strategies and processes which positively affect the behaviour and learning of students, and equally importantly the relationships and general wellbeing of all members of the school community. Roffey looks at a range of elements necessary for developing positive relationships and wellbeing: aspects of communication, the importance of a safe and supportive environment, understanding children’s behaviour, developing emotional literacy and the need for both student and teacher wellbeing. According to Roffey, for a school to be a place where students wish to be, the emphasis needs to be on making connections, establishing relationships and building a positive sense of self. Teachers can do that by fostering both a ‘connection with school and engagement with learning.’ Roffey then outlines different challenging behaviours, the reasons for these and effective responses to them in an extremely helpful way. Her emphasis is on focusing on individual strengths, enabling reparation and applying restorative practices to achieve effective long-term positive changes in student behaviour. Finally, she emphasises the need for a whole-school approach in all of the above. Changing Behaviour in Schools provides a wealth of information and practical ideas for teachers. Roffey draws on her wide teaching experience for the case studies, teacher discussions and student exercises, and there are helpful activities in every chapter. Her work is well supported by references to research and she provides some excellent reading and resources for teachers on resiliency, peer support, emotional literacy and more. This book carries an important message to all in education – that ‘welfare is not the province of senior staff and specialists,’ but rather that ‘wellbeing is a strategy for everyone.’ And if schools are to achieve their goal in educating the young, there needs to be a far greater emphasis on educators being ‘teachers of wellbeing.’ Jenny Mackay is a behaviour management consultant and Victorian Institute of Teaching registered training provider.