Sunday, 30 August 2009

Robustness or Resilience (PBS for example)?

In developing school-wide systems, it may be important to be explicit about whether you are aiming to make the school's behaviour management systems
  • robust - unlikely to fail in any of its parts so that problematic behaviour is prevented from occurring
  • resilient - able to recover quickly and easily from failures (life's ups and downs), even the big ones
Follow the link to a posting on this issue from my favourite blogger (Dave Snowden).
Sometimes, when you are introducing PBS, staff may unwittingly assume that the intention is to make the school's behaviour management robust so that behaviour problems will disappear. Of course, this is unlikely to happen and some staff will then naturally think that "PBS doesn't work".
It is more realistic to aim for school-wide systems that are resilient. This will achieve three major outcomes:
  • school-wide systems will cope better with the ups and downs involved
  • recovery by the school, staff and students will be easier and faster, e.g., restorative practices, and, as a result,
  • behaviour problems will reduce (even if they don't disappear altogether)
And this reminds me of the three measure of progress in relation to a problematic student behaviour:
  1. Are the incidents getting fewer, that is,further apart? - "Yes" indicates the students behaviour is more 'robust' and that the student has more resilience
  2. Is the recovery time getting shorter? "Yes" indicates the student has improved resilience
  3. Are the the incidents getting less severe? "Yes" indicates improvements in both robustness of behaviour and personal resilience)
Problematic behaviour tends to improve in the above order. A "Yes" answer to any of the above questions indicates progress , even if, the last thing that improves is the actual incidents themselves. When a serious incident occurs it does not always mean that "We are back to square one!!!" or "All our work has been in vain!!"
It may be useful to get any staff and the student involved to answer these questions for themselves. In this way you are helping them to building resilience.

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