Behaviour Management Programs are Out-Dated and Ableist

Behaviour Management Programs are Out-Dated, Harmful, and Ableist AF.


This article was originally posted on my Medium blog on September 10, 2021.

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I Am Grateful for Teachers and School Staff

First off, I want to express my gratitude to all teachers and school staff everywhere. You have supported our children and students through some very challenging times, and have rarely, if ever, been given due respect for your work.

Teachers are under-appreciated, underpaid, and under-resourced. I have worked in schools in various roles, and I have met some amazing teachers and school staff. There are many who go way above and beyond to provide the best possible education and support to their students.

My criticisms here are not of teachers themselves, but of some classroom management strategies teachers are taught. Our knowledge about children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development has grown exponentially over the past 10–15 years, yet our education system lags well behind.

While some school divisions have made efforts to catch up to what current research clearly outlines as best practices, and offer their staff professional development in line with this framework, many schools still operate in the dark ages.

Even when particular teachers or school staff are seeking to evaluate and improve their pedagogy, some administrators are not very supportive, and professional development opportunities — or funding — may be scarce.

With that said, I am going to spout off about something that has been very clearly established to do more harm than good, yet continues to be present in almost every elementary classroom in North America and beyond.

Those bloody behaviour charts.

Teachers: I appreciate and respect you, but if you have a “behaviour” chart or any kind of reward system in your classroom, please get rid of it now. I’ll explain why.

Behaviour Management Charts are Ableist

“Traditional discipline works best with the children who need it the least, and works least with the children who need it the most.” — Dr. Lori Desautels

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Published by Neurodiversity MB

Jillian has Child and Youth Work diploma as well as a BA in Psychology. Jillian worked on the front lines of Social Services agencies from 2003 - 2012. Jillian has taken numerous continuing education courses and has attended various workshops focused on supporting neurodiverse children, in particular children with ADHD.

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