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creating possibilities for disabled children

Working with Behaviour that Challenges Us

Providing meaningful learning experiences for a busy and diverse class can be difficult when we experience behaviour that challenges us. Bamboozle’s training courses offer the opportunity to observe and practise the behavioural and linguistic strategies of the Bamboozle Approach whilst taking in part in hands-on practical sessions with students. Workshop sessions allow us to observe and explore the many and varied reasons why some students present us with challenging behaviour as well as exploring ways we can respond. Areas of focus include:

  • Communication – physical, verbal and non-verbal.
  • Anxiety and stress – What’s causing it? How does it manifest? How might we deal with it?
  • Triggers – How we can reduce their impact – especially as sometimes these can seem disconnected to the present moment or can be difficult to observe?
  • The effect of the physical and ideological environment – What effect might the room we work in and the attitude of staff have on children’s behaviour?
  • Group dynamics – How might students in a group affect each other and how might we mitigate for that?

Our courses on challenging behaviour tend to begin with a focus on purposeful observation – we create a non-threatening environment where students can be themselves – and we observe how they respond to us (and to each other if we’re working with a group of students). Once we have a working space where everyone feels safe and everyone is relatively calm we can begin exploring in greater depth. Working in a novel environment away from the classroom and working on a new and interesting task can allow us to see a lot more than we usually would in a busy classroom environment.

“The Bamboozle project has been a real “eye opener” for me. Being given the opportunity to observe, practise & then reflect has been really useful and has given me tools to use especially with our more challenging pupils. Using non-directive offers has definitely reduced the number of violent incidents with some children. I feel that having the chance or permission to just “be” with a child has been so rewarding. Some of the battles I had before are now non-existent. Our children are much calmer and happier and it has taught me approaches which support this.” Autism Lead – Lakeside School, Welwyn.

Short-term introductory pilot project

Many schools commission Bamboozle to deliver a short term pilot project as a forerunner to a longer term project where challenging behaviour can be fully explored. Typically a pilot project takes place over three days and includes one training and planning day with school staff and the Bamboozle team, followed by two days of contact time with staff and students. All of Bamboozle’s work in education and training has a strong legacy element – everything that we cover has direct practical applications for day-to-day teaching and learning. All of our contact sessions offer experiential learning opportunities for both staff and students followed by in-depth discussion for staff on how principles can be applied to the classroom and how work can continue in future.

After a pilot project schools often commission a longer term project which follows the consultancy model.

The Consultancy Model

Often the most effective way of delivering training is to spend time with groups of students and staff in the environment that they work in every day. Training sessions are practical and hands-on so that students get to experience a novel workshop session while staff get to try out different techniques in a supportive working environment. A typical training day for a project using the consultancy model looks like this:

  • 8.00 – The Bamboozle team arrives to set up the workshop resources.
  • 8.30 – Briefing – the Bamboozle team meets with the staff taking part in the day’s workshops to go through what will be happening and talk about the creative set-up and the strategies that will be focussed on.
  • 9.30 – Session one – the Bamboozle team, in conjunction with the staff team, lead an hour-long workshop session with the students.
  • 11.30 – Breakout for session one – after a break the Bamboozle team meets with the staff team for an hour to analyse the workshop and look at how techniques and strategies can be adapted for further use in day-to-day practice.
  • 1.30 – Session two – as session one.
  • 2.30 – Breakout for session two – as above.

This model allows us to work with two different groups of students and two staff teams on each day we spend in school. In some long term projects we work with only two groups and visit the school at regular intervals throughout the year for one day at a time. If we work with four groups we’ll visit the school for two days at a time – again at regular intervals throughout the year.

Each session provides the opportunity to explore a new creative technique – adapted for the needs of the group – along with the behavioural and linguistic strategies of the Bamboozle Approach.

“The greatest thing I have found is how much I have learned about each child who took part. I feel like I have learned how to keep children calm and how they regulate. This has translated into the classroom. The room is so much calmer.” Teaching Assistant – Lakeside School, Welwyn

Available course formats

As well as the two models described above we can also deliver training in a variety of ways tailored to your school’s needs:

  • INSET days and twilight sessions
  • Long term culture change projects
  • Residency experiences

There’s more detail about all of these courses in this website section.

Dates, venues and fees

Training programmes usually take place at your school by arrangement. Fees depend largely on the requirements for the training sessions which are different for every school – to discuss your school’s training needs please contact our education co-ordinator nicole@bamboozletheatre.co.uk. Due to the COVID situation many schools are restricting the visitors who access their sites during the school day. We are however still visiting schools for training purposes when the children are not present. If you would like to explore possibilities for setting up a socially distanced training session at your school please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the Contact page. Alternatively you might like to investigate our Online Course offering.

Read about a challenging behaviour pilot project.

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