Relationships and Behaviour Support: A Reflection

I have been leading behaviour in schools for nearly 10 years now. My approach and ethos has evolved over that time. One area that I haven’t changed is the idea that relationships are the key element in effective behaviour support. I know this is sometimes not enough, but if a strong trusting relationship (not friendship!) is missing then every other intervention will fail. Without this foundation there is no purpose implementing behaviour plans, reward charts etc.

This is one of the reasons I launched the School Of Joy Approach initiative this September. This is a set of values that acts as a filter that we can use to make decisions about what we can do when faced with behaviour that challenges us.

Approaches to Challenging Behaviour

I have talked about this before and have read plenty of research around “challenging behaviour”. This includes ABA and PBS approaches. There is even a dusty old page on this site dedicated to behaviour recording tools, which I do use at times but only once the human approach and connection is in place. In reality as I presented on here, if you aren’t focusing first and foremost on building safe trusting relationships with children you really are wasting your time.

Adult-Child relationships form the foundation of all aspects of child development, cognitive, communication, social, emotional, and behavioural. You do not soothe a sixth month old baby effectively without building a bond first. Children form the neural connections they need for learning through their relationships and human to human connections.

Relational Approach Research

There are many studies that support this approach including psychologists and educators. Of course as well as the approach we take there are always both internal drivers of behaviour and environmental aspects that need to be considered.

This is just a quick reflection on the importance of relationships when working with pupils who could display behaviours of concern.

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