chapter  3
14 Pages

Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties: The Primary School Experience

Few today would deny that concerns, about children’s emotional and (more particularly) behavioural difficulties rank high with teachers, and that this has been so for some time. Debates about the role of the school and curriculum in originating and sustaining these difficulties, have made it possible to state, as Lund (1990) has, that:

most workers now see the child’s difficulties as a function of inappropriate curriculum content and this view has been strengthened by the Elton Report, (p. 75)

Furthermore, in spite of the movement (among theoreticians at least) away from ‘within-child’ explanations of disturbed and disturbing behaviour, there remains a feeling on the part of many teachers that such explanations deny the reality of their daily experience, and, in so doing, invalidate the strategies and expertise that they have developed to address these realities. There is also considerable evidence that these concerns are now more than ever affecting teachers in primary schools so that, in spite of the increasing use of whole-school behaviour policies and structured approaches to discipline, there has been a significant rise both in the numbers of children being excluded, and those being referred for special education as a result of emotional and behavioural difficulties.