The best books to shift challenging behaviour in schools

Adele Bates Author Of "Miss, I Don’t Give a Sh*t" Engaging With Challenging Behaviour in Schools
By Adele Bates

Who am I?

Adele Bates is a Behaviour & Education Specialist who empowers school leaders and teachers to support pupils with behavioural needs and SEMH to thrive with their education. She’s an International Keynote Speaker, a featured expert on teenagers and behaviour for BBC Radio 4, the author of "Miss, I Don't Give A Sh*t", Engaging with Challenging Behaviour in Schools, from Sage & Corwin Press, and is a fully-funded International Researcher on Behaviour & Inclusion, as well as teaching for nearly 20 years. For her tips and resources check out her website above.


I wrote...

"Miss, I Don’t Give a Sh*t" Engaging With Challenging Behaviour in Schools

By Adele Bates,

Book cover of "Miss, I Don’t Give a Sh*t" Engaging With Challenging Behaviour in Schools

What is my book about?

Do you want to be an inspiring teacher for everyone you teach, even the trickier cherubs in your class? Or maybe you just want to get through a lesson without a desk flying at you or a blazer being set alight?

In this down-to-earth book, Adele Bates shares practical approaches, strategies, and tips from the classroom on how to help pupils with behavioural needs thrive with their education. Packed full of real-life classroom scenarios, student voice and relevant theory, every chapter offers an Action Box helping you to implement these strategies - next lesson, next week, and long term.

The books I picked & why

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The Big Book of Whole School Wellbeing

By Kimberley Evans (editor), Thérèse Hoyle (editor), Bukky Yusuf (editor), Frederika Roberts (editor)

Book cover of The Big Book of Whole School Wellbeing

Why this book?

Whichever way you look at it behaviour of our pupils, is linked to our behaviour - and everyone's behaviour is linked to the wellbeing of an individual and a community...and whilst as educators we know this in theory, the how-to often stumps us. This guide - with 26 expert contributors, covers the wellbeing topic from every angle. Whilst I have experience of what wellbeing looks like in education from some perspectives, what I enjoyed about this book is that it invites me (in small easy, accessible chunks) to get to know about other areas where my blindspots come in.


Getting the Buggers to Behave

By Sue Cowley,

Book cover of Getting the Buggers to Behave

Why this book?

I began teaching when I was 13 years old. I ran a drama school for primary school-aged children (yep, type-A). From then on I was always teaching. As I continued, through my teens and into my twenties I thought it important to get some outside input and not just regurgitate my old teachers! Sue's books were one of the first I picked up.

With so few women's voices in places of influence when it comes to Behaviour in British Schools, it was a particularly poignant read for me. Its down-to-earth, on-the-ground perspective appealed hugely, as well as its practical help. As I mention in my book, it is still a resource I use to this day, and I have been honoured and thrilled to have Sue's support and endorsement for my own workaround behaviour.


When the Adults Change, Everything Changes: Seismic Shifts in School Behaviour

By Paul Dix,

Book cover of When the Adults Change, Everything Changes: Seismic Shifts in School Behaviour

Why this book?

Most teachers get approximately half a day's training on behaviour in their ITT (and TAs get 0!). Luckily my half-day was with Paul Dix. Coming out of the lecture hall I remember thinking - this man speaks sense. This relates to the years of PRU (Pupil Referral Unit) and AP (Alternative Provision) experience I'd had up to that point. This book, an accumulation of years of experience, gives some practical nuggets to take away as well as some overall school-wide approaches.


Don't Send Him in Tomorrow: Shining a Light on the Marginalised, Disenfranchised and Forgotten Children of Today's Schools

By Jarlath O'Brien,

Book cover of Don't Send Him in Tomorrow: Shining a Light on the Marginalised, Disenfranchised and Forgotten Children of Today's Schools

Why this book?

The first poem in this book, from the perspective of a SEND pupil, is so moving. The concept - and reality - that a pupil with SEND is 7 times more likely to be excluded from mainstream school (according to The Timpson Report 2019), is horrific. This book opened my eyes further as to what we're getting wrong, and the huge overlap between my work with behaviour and SEND.


Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

By Adrienne Maree Brown,

Book cover of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

Why this book?

So this might be my left field recommendation, and it's important; I begin the list with the individual - wellbeing. I end it with this groundbreaking text that helps me to feel connected to something bigger than me in my classroom with Sandra breaking Otis' pen - again...

Education is a social issue

Education is political

Education is powerful - and because of all of that, I need guidance with the daily battles I have (many in my own head) about behaviour, education, and the role I'm here to play within it. Emergent Strategy gives me guidance for this- it guides me to work with inevitable change- of our pupils, our education systems, and ourselves.


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