Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Jack Russells and 'teaching.' PB4L" Some will know what I mean!

If you are a teacher in New Zealand (AND possibly elsewhere) you will probably be aware of the term---PB4L. That means ‘Positive behaviours) for learning.’ I could spend quite a lot of my energy describing what this means, but in essence it is about engaging with your students in a positive manner, accentuating what they are doing well and encouraging ‘good behaviours.’ It is about the ‘relationship between the student and teacher. Hey---don’t you all remember those teachers---the ones you liked, because they treated you with respect—they had a sense of humour, yet you knew when you had transgressed. They didn’t need to yell at you—they just ‘had a word’ with you quietly and didn’t embarrass you publicly. There is a great deal of research that tells us what we all knew—education is a partnership between the home, the student and the school. We are a community. We are all ‘in it together.’ Recently, one of my friends, who used to be on the staff, visited the school and she left a book in my pigeon hole. It was called “Jack Russells for Dummies!’’ or something like that. Over the last few nights I have read it before sleeping. I had many ‘OMG!’ moments. I laughed, I sniggered and I could not help make the links between the ‘words’ of wisdom,’ in the book, with the ‘theory’ behind PB4L. Much of what I know about PB4L and my subsequent ‘bringing up of my crazy jack Russell is similar, minus of course the ‘leash and the manner of ‘treating.’ I better not get confused and apply the leash at school or give the kids a nice chewy pig’s ear!’ But I do heap praise upon the students for good behaviours, just like I do for Perdy. I send post cards home for continued ‘good behaviour, far more than I make a call about ‘less than good behaviours. It is said that PB4L works for about 90% of students. The remainder require more ‘specialist attention,’ in the form of deans, counsellors, or sadly, alternate arrangements. The link for y JR is that for about 90% of the time, my ‘positive engagement works,’ but for the 10% when she forgets she has ears, or smells a rat or some other critter---all bets are off and it is only my sense of humour (that goes a long way re working with students too!) That gets me through the ‘challenge.’ When a JR decides to use her not inconsequential brain for the purposes of deviating from the expected norm,’ well----I just wait until she decided to see things ‘my way.’ That crazy JK behaviour is observable in human form too. When teenagers disengage their brains, similar unpredictable pathways manifest themselves. Reasoning goes out the window and ‘critters’ of another from appear to be ruling the ‘norm of the day!’ I have often wondered how such episodes will turn out but thankfully, for the most part, peace does reign. It the getting there, for students and JRs, that provides the tears, the laughs and frustrations. My wish is that I don’t confuse the two ‘characters’ in my world---Oh what the hell---why not! Just don’t mix up the ‘treats!’

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