Clare Edmondson is director of Changing Behaviour UK LTD. In her guest post for Axcis, she tells us about her teaching journey and how she came to run her own specialist company. She has also kindly offered our readers an exclusive 20% discount for her next conference which is running in May next year. Find out more here.
My experience has been really varied since training to be a teacher – I realised I wanted to specialise in working with students with complex behaviour after teaching at my first school. It was a school that was in a tough area. The school had a high proportion of SEN pupils, a high level of deprivation and a plethora of behaviours that challenged staff.
Despite the challenges, I absolutely loved this school – it taught me the simplest, yet most useful trick of behaviour management; relationships rule the classroom.
I also have worked in a high achieving girls school, an autistic setting, a residential mental health setting and also – pupil referral units (PRUs). I set up my training company Changing Behaviour UK LTD to help staff manage the very challenges I faced in these settings. As well as running training for schools, I still teach excluded children one day a week at a PRU in west London – as much as a like training adults, the greatest high for me is always from connecting with young people and overcoming the challenges they present to me and themselves.
These different (and challenging environments) have taught me many things over the years. One of the most important things I have learned is the fact that – working in education is challenging. It should be. That’s the beauty of being a teacher; the challenges it presents.
We often see that word ‘challenging’ as pupils showing us challenging behaviour – but if we just focus on behaviour, we forget about the challenge that a lesson should offer. I can reflectively look at some of my lessons that have not gone so well (terribly!) and I can conclude that the behaviour I perceived as ‘challenging’ was actually my students not being challenged enough, or to put it another way: they were bored.
That’s why a Dutch colleague (Drs Eleonoor Van Gerven) and I have set up our Challenging Education Conference. We want to help teachers and practitioners working in education with not only managing complex behaviour, but we also want to help them to gain practical strategies to help them challenge their high potential learners who also may have special educational needs.
Giftedness is Eleonoor’s speciality – she has published many articles and books on the topic of high potential learners and dual exceptionality (gifted students with SEN). I have already learned so much from her.
Eleonoor and I have selected topics that educational establishments are struggling with at the moment – exclusions and students suffering with mental health difficulties. Laurie Cornwell and Dr Asha Patel are running these topics for us at the conference.
To add to this, we also have secured exciting international speakers from the USA covering topics on Able learners and ADHD (Dr Debbie Troxclair), opportunities for differentiation (Dr Tracy Ford-Inman), overcoming underachievement (Prof Dr Diane Heacox) and autism in the mainstream classroom (Dr Claire Hughes Lynch).
On top of this, we have talks on behaviour change (Dr Anne Marie Rattray) and also the influence of learning quotient (Kevin Hewitson) and challenges in raising gifted children – (Julie Taplin). I will be running a workshop on coping with meltdowns and also trying to ensure with Eleonoor that the day runs smoothly. That will be a challenge!
So often, when we talk about challenging behaviour we forget about learning – this international conference gives delegates the skills to challenge their students and themselves.
I can’t wait!
Axcis readers will receive a 20% discount if they use this discount code at checkout: Axcis20
Clare Edmondson is director of Changing Behaviour UK LTD
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