What do all of these things have in common…?
Bey Blades, playing football, building cubbies, playing with sticks, iPads, boyfriends/girlfriends, scooters, playing rugby, lining up after play, moving from one class to another, running on the asphalt, playing on the playground, taking turns, fidget spinners, playing with Lego, playing soccer, handball, taking turns, collaborating in groups, students being challenged with their learning and friendships... The list could go on.
If you haven’t guessed yet, I’ll tell you. This is a list of things that cause issues with, or between our students. Sometimes on a daily basis, and trust me the list could go on!
You are probably looking at the list now and thinking, I can relate to this. The Bey Blades caused an issue with my children this morning before breakfast, my children had an argument playing football after school last night or my children can’t take turns, they fought over who is going to pour the milk first on their cereal, it always turns into an argument.
There is one seemingly obvious solution to fix things that cause issues – Ban it!
Ban things that cause issues… hang on a second. Ban the playground? Ban lining up after play? Ban play? Ban students being challenged with their learning? Ban friendships...?
Is it the playground that causes the issue? Is it playing football that causes the issue? Is it being friends with your friends that cause the issue? Or is it the collaborative skills associated with taking part in the activity? Are the problem solving skills associated with working through a problem still developing?
Banning an activity generally does not solve the problem.
We need to teach students:-
- How to play appropriately
- How to share
- How to take turns
- How to tackle in sport safely
- How to win graciously
- How to lose graciously
- When it is the appropriate time to play with their fidget spinner, iPad or listen to music in class
- How to cope when they find their learning hard. How to treat their friends and others with respect
Some Problem Solving skills and strategies:
- Clarify the problem
- Listen to the other person’s perspective
- Stay calm and speak respectfully towards each other - wait until all people involved are calm
- Use prior knowledge – what have you done in the past that enabled you to be successful
- Solve one part of the problem at a time
- Roll play the problem – it helps people to visualise the problem and eliminate misunderstandings or misconceptions
- Put yourself in the other person’s shoes – how are they feeling?
- Work with the facts, avoid making assumptions
- Take responsibility for your actions. Identify what you could have done or could do differently next time
For our students, everything that causes an issue should be looked at as a learning opportunity. Throughout their lives, students will be constantly put in situations that they find challenging.
Our job as educators and parents is to equip students with the skills and strategies to be able to collaborate effectively and to work through a problem successfully.
Scott Megson, Senior Leader