Task 1 – The Context of Behaviour Issues
i. Describe and discuss the aspects of national legislation which have relevance to behaviour in the learning environment. (300 words)
There are a number of legislative acts that impact on the learning environment and cater for both learners and staff in any institution. The following Acts: Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (2001); Race Relations Act (1976) and Race Relations (Amendment) Act (2000); Racial and Religious Hatred Act (2006) and the Equality Act (2006) essentially set out that there should be no discrimination against any person on the grounds of race, sex, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief (OPSI, 2009). This is relevant for learners and staff since there should be no discrimination in recruitment, allocation of courses, assessment, the application of college rules and regulations, disciplinary procedures or the provision of resources and facilities. In practical terms this means that an organisation should provide for the needs of different students. This can relate to the physical learning environment – providing accessible classrooms for students with mobility difficulties. However the resources available to provide for inclusion are not necessarily there, especially in the current climate.
At a basic level the concept of inclusion relates to Dreikurs’ theories of behaviour. He suggested that misbehaviour can come about because a person's basic needs of belonging to, and contributing to, a social group are not met (New World Encyclopedia, 2007). It could be argued these legislative acts encourage inclusion thereby helping people to meet their basic needs and consequently reducing misbehaviour.
An organisation must set out policies and procedures that are clearly framed by these Acts. Furthermore, they should ensure that both staff and learners are aware of their rights and responsibilities. This can be easier said than done. Learners may lack the linguistic skills to deal with dense policy documents and tutors may simply lack the time to read them. Nonetheless, within a classroom tensions can arise because of prejudice and it is important that an organisation has a clear policy on equal opportunities and also behaviour in order to deal with such situations.
Whilst the previous Acts guard against discrimination Every Child Matters sets out guidelines to ensure the well-being of children and young-people from birth to age 25. It outlines 5 themes that organisations will need to meet and will be assessed on (Chief Secretary to the Treasury, 2003:11):
1. Being Healthy
2. Staying Safe
3. Enjoying and Achieving
4. Making a positive contribution
5. Achieving economic well being
It is interesting to note how these themes are similar to the basic needs set out in Glasser’s Choice Theory (William Glasser Institute, 2005). Every Child Matters has implications for those working in the FE and Adult education sector not only because of the increasing number of 16 – 25 year olds studying at such institutions because of difficulties accessing Higher Education, but also because of the large number of parents who are returning to education. This clearly has implications for services that cater for a large number of mothers and thus the provision of adequate childcare facilities and the timing of courses so that parents can drop off and pick up their children. A lack of awareness of such factors may cause learners to ‘misbehave’ because they have to arrive late or leave early so as to be able to drop off or pick up their children. Such misbehaviour could be analysed in terms of Huxley’s notion of mismatch (1987, cited in Atkinson and Chandler, 2001).
ii. Review the policies relevant to managing behaviour in your organization, identifying areas for improvement where appropriate. (300 words)
Westminster Adult Education...