MMTeachI had the great pleasure at the end of August conducting a workshop with 55 special needs teachers. I travelled to a rural area of South Africa called Taung in the Northwest Province.

I have done hundreds of productive workshops over the last 2 decades, and this one ranks right up there as one of the most enjoyable.

The MM Sebitloane School is a beacon of bright hope in South Africa’s troubled education system. The buildings are new face brick, the facilities top notch, and the entire property is spotlessly clean.

There are 164 special needs children in the hostel, and then there are the teachers. I have always said that teachers are the most important people in a child’s life because they teach our future.

The teachers at this unique school are incredibly special in the way these children are cared for and loved. I had time to observe the children outside of the classrooms, and not once did I see an unhappy student.

On the second day the teachers broke away into groups and discussed how they were going to implement what they had learnt in the workshop.

Each group had top present back to the rest of the teachers. Here are four of the main points from the groups:

Stop saying Don’t. The revelation of being positive in discipline was massive for all. Say; do this, rather than stop doing that, makes a significant difference. It was acknowledged that it would take time to implement this fully.

Make sure you the everyone’s attention before issuing an instruction or saying something. I had noticed this many times previously while sitting in the back of classrooms observing ADHD children.

Simply be patient to get what is you require. Shouting doesn’t work, neither does consistent anger. The old cliche that patience is a virtue is absolutely true.

The 4’s of discipline, Short, Sharp, Suitable, and Steadfast. So often teachers and parents punish their children like the criminal justice system does. Very few children are criminals!