“Dear Ian…your inspirational expert knowledge that you have shared during professional learning and one on one support for staff, has had an overwhelmingly positive impact for our students. The systems and processes you put in place have resulted in a significant decrease in recorded student behaviour and suspension data and fostered a positive change in the whole school culture. You have built the capacity of staff in a highly complex environment . Your work at our school is nothing short of amazing and we thank you!”
Kristie Goldthorp OAM
Nowra East Public School, NSW
Experience is what sets Ian apart from others. Experience and an acute sensitivity to the needs of students with emotional and behavioural issues and of the needs of the adults who work with them. Ian was in Special Education for over 28 years and spent the last 14 years of this time as Principal of Redbank School, Westmead, NSW. Redbank is the only joint Department of Health and Department of Education facility in NSW for the treatment of children (preschool to Yr 6) and adolescents (Yrs 7 to12) with emotional, psychiatric and / or behavioural disorders. Ian co-established at the beginning of 2009 a class for emotionally disturbed preschoolers. This initiative, the second of its type in Australia, received media attention across Australia and overseas and is seen as an exemplar of a preventative mental health program.
Ian has been a mentor to aspiring and established principals and a trainer and coach in PBIS (Positive Behavioural Interventions and Supports).
Ian is in high demand as a speaker and has spoken extensively across Australia (conferences, schools, universities, NSW parliament house) on practical behaviour management strategies and on ways to enhance teacher welfare in schools. He is a former advisory board member of the Adolescent Brain Website of the University of Toronto, Canada. He is still sane.
Some of the topics Ian covers in a typical full day presentation on Positive Behaviour Management include:
a) The 3 major strategies for managing disruptive behaviour, that is 1) Getting the academic program correct so that a child is neither bored nor frustrated, 2) Teaching the expected behaviour, and 3) Teachers managing themselves so that they can be great role model for socially deficit students,
b) how to use connecting language when talking to students,
c) the importance of managing our own emotions, and how to do that,
d) the use of preventative scripts to encourage compliance,
e) the use of corrective scripts when we need to set limits around behaviour,
f) the importance of maintaining a high level of positives to corrections,
g) how to give an instruction that will encourage compliance,
h) how to promote consistency among staff when dealing with students with challenging behaviours,
i) how anxiety in students often manifests as disruptive behaviour and ways to manage this,
j) practical step-by-step methods for dealing with non-compliance. This includes and is not limited to; the actual words teachers use, the tone with which they are used, the importance of proximity, redirection, vicarious praise, selective attending, wait time, relationship building and humour.
k) school culture and how it either supports or hinders the consistent application of rules,
l)“We get what we accept.” Exploring the reasons why we “accept” certain behaviours that we really don’t want to, and strategies to get us out of this common trap,
m)why a ⅓ of positive feedback doesn’t work, and ways to get around this.
n) written rules vs unwritten rules,
o) how to avoid confirming a student’s dysfunctional view of the world and themselves. The teacher does this by providing themselves as an alternative role model to any dysfunctional ones the students might have previously been exposed to.
p) why some students say nasty / hurtful things and how to deal with it when they do.
q) what to say when you don’t know what to say, and
r) why teaching is a free personal growth course!