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A child's perspective of school exclusions

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

Have a look at the latest addition to Emotion Coaching UK's YouTube channel:

This unique animation started with a naturally occurring conversation between a mother and her 6 year old daughter following the reading of a bedtime story.

The book is called 'The boy at the back of the class' by Onjali Rauf, which is essentially a child's perspective on the refugee crisis, highlighting the importance of friendship and kindness. Although it was not about exclusion per se, the notion of exclusion came up in the discussion when thinking about making sense of behaviour and what it might be communicating.

The conversation happened after reading about a moment when Ahmet, the refugee boy, suddenly explodes in the playground after enduring much bullying from 'Brendan the Bully'.

The little girl reflects on what might be going on underneath Ahmet's behaviour. This leads to her thinking about other children's experiences and the importance of recognising the underlying emotions that drive behaviour. She explains that a child might be expressing all sorts of things on the outside but "in the inside the heart is sad".

When asked what teachers and schools should do if the child's behaviour is really difficult and they're unkind, the little girl says the schools should "keep them...because sometimes when people do stuff...they're too scared to cry".

It highlights the importance of the child's voice and of listening to children's views about how adults in schools might respond to pupil behaviour: by using the behaviour they see as a step to wondering what emotions the child might be experiencing.

By recognising the emotions driving the behaviour (and knowing a child and their experiences) it helps adults to be empathic when responding to behaviours that challenge.

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