Courses at Can Do are helping teachers to overcome behaviour problems in the classroom and gain national qualifications in this area.
Dealing with behaviour problems in the classroom – whether in schools or colleges - is one of the toughest challenges facing teachers today. Whilst many enter the profession with impressive academic qualifications and well-honed communication skills, when faced with learners who have conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) the challenges seem insurmountable, both for experienced teachers as well as new recruits.
Hilary Nunns faced these issues when she returned to further education teaching in the 1990s after a time spent as a trainer in the corporate world. She found herself teaching students with learning disabilities, many of whom had ADHD – a condition that encompasses a group of behavioural symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Hilary looked around for specialist training in this area, especially for older learners, but and couldn’t find anything suitable. She then researched the condition and made adjustments to her own practice. “It’s funny how returning to teaching made me sit up and think about learned behavior versus behavioural conditions,” she says. That led to a book Meeting the needs of learners with ADHD in the mainstream classroom which she turned into a training programme.
Hilary realised there was a gap in the market for teacher training in this specialist area. Having co-ordinated a team of learning support assistants at Croydon Adult Learning and Training she set up and managed a behavioural support team at East Surrey College. The model clearly worked because several other colleges started to approach her to run something similar, with help from government project funding. From this platform Can Do Behaviour was born in 2010.
She now takes her courses out to teachers who need help learning how to manage classroom behaviour. One is Sarah Tibble, Head of Learning Support Services at Aylesbury College. Hilary worked with 11 of Sarah’s learning support team using an approach that involved embedding learning with practical tasks. “People learn much better this way,” says Sarah. “Follow-up work with the tutor means that people remember what they have learned and can apply it themselves. There are very few courses for teaching students with special educational needs which have accreditation, so that was an added benefit.”
The course Hilary developed leads to national qualifications at level 2 and 3, accredited by OCN London. Her approach is based on the belief that for many of disengaged students there is a different way to reach them. This means training teachers to understand the causes of poor behavior and try to deal with them before they become a problem. She feels that this kind of course should be embedded in all teacher training.
“Being around like-minded people is what makes me tick and there’s nothing better than meeting people in education who want to make a difference to their working day and to the success of their students,” she says. “I’d say that for many of the disengaged students that I’ve worked with there is usually a different way to reach them. In my behaviour management training sessions teachers and support assistants find out how.”
The course leads to nationally-recognised OCNLR awards at levels 2 and 3 in Meeting the Needs of Learners with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in the Mainstream Classroom. Hilary also runs run courses leading to other OCN London qualifications in areas such as meeting the needs of individuals with profound and multiple learning difficulties, autism and other behavioural conditions.
Find out more about Can Do.
Find out more about the qualifications at level 2 and level 3.