Teachers are being called upon to make the curriculum accessible to all students notwithstanding their disability (Disability Standards Act, 2005).
The most challenging of these students are those with behaviour disorders. For many of these students school is perceived as irrelevant to their lives and the majority of them leave before 17 due to expulsion or serial suspensions.
When we engage these difficult students in their learning we alter the trajectory of their lives.
How to engage though? is the question puzzling many educators. The best place to start is to build a relationship with the student. A friendly facial expression is a start.
Recently a popular teacher of a difficult year nine English class was absent from school. The casual teacher assigned to the job of teaching these rowdy youngsters looked quite fierce ( and possibly nervous )as she waited for them to line up.
One girl remarked ” Is that our teacher? She looks cranky, I don’t like her.” The lesson hadn’t even started at least one student was already disengaged.