I started off as a teacher in 2003 and spent many years working closely with adolescents as a Year Adviser and then as a Behaviour Management Specialist supporting schools in the Riverina of NSW before starting my own business Effective Behaviour Management in 2020.
People have always fascinated me: who they are, how they came to be, what makes them tick. My mother said that even as a toddler, as soon as I could walk and talk, I was always off chatting to other people. Whenever we travelled on the bus or the train, I would sit next to strangers and just start talking to them as if I had known them for years. I still do it now!
When I look back at my early career in sales, retail and even in banking and insurance, my focus was always on the person I was working with. I was always interested in getting to know them better, in understanding where they were coming from. By getting to know other people I developed a clearer understanding of myself and found my sense of purpose. I guess that’s why I became a teacher.
My work as a Year Advisor and then as a Behaviour Specialist gave me a real insight into understanding what goes on in the minds of children with challenging behaviours. Often the behaviours we see have more to do with the environment they are in, and what’s going on in their head and hearts, rather than any fault in their character.
I saw first hand the problems that difficult behaviours created for everyone concerned, especially the social isolation that children with challenging behaviour would inevitably experience. I saw so many tragic outcomes that could have been very different if those children and the professionals working with them had the support they needed.
I also saw how hard it was for professionals to get support and training when they needed it. Time and logistics were always the problem. Finding the time to attend courses, read through books and notes, getting authorisation, approval for payment and so many other hoops to jump through made access to professional development overwhelming. I could see professionals needed practical, hands on strategies they could use straight away.
Effective Behaviour Management
That’s why I created Effective Behaviour Management focusing on the three key areas. Communication, Support and Feedback
Very often we have expectations about how our children should behave. But we usually don’t communicate that expectation, we assume they already know. If we do communicate anything, it’s usually when they are doing something wrong. We say “Don’t do that” or “Stop doing this” or “No”. When we say “don’t or “no” we are not actually telling children what we want to do instead.
Even if we do communicate the behaviour we want, we don’t always support children to be successful. Children learn through modelling and practice as well as reminders and prompts to keep them on track. Often we forget about giving children the support they need until they get it wrong.
How will children know if they are behaving correctly, if we don’t tell them? We only tend to give children any feedback when they don’t behave the way we expect. We often don’t tell them when they are on the right track. We usually only give them feedback when they make mistakes or poor choices.
Communication, Support & Feedback. Three Keys to Effective Behaviour Management.
Without Clear Communication, Regular Support and Feedback, we set our children up for failure. This is because when we manage behaviour, we focus our attention on what they are doing wrong, rather than focusing on when they get it right.
A better future for our children
I’m excited about what the future holds for Effective Behaviour Management. It sounds corny, but I want to make the world a better place. I believe everyone is entitled to social inclusion, and I want to change some of those tragic, isolating consequences that come from challenging behaviour into better outcomes for the future. I hope you and many others join me to share in this journey to support everyone to build a better world for ourselves and for future generations.