Dr Bill Rogers' Conference Presentation Anti-Bullying Network
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  Partial agreement    

Partial agreement is a difficult skill, but it’s a gift to the kid, or the group of kids, other teachers don’t care, I can check that with them. Not, ‘I don’t care what other teachers do, I’m not other teachers, I’m Mr Rogers and I have written books, and I go to cold places like Scotland and things.’ When he said ‘other teachers don’t care’, a brief bit of partial agreement, ‘I can check that with the other teachers’.

Now the important question, not why, but a more direct question, a question that is likely to get into some of this behaviour awareness upstairs, in other words a question perhaps phrased like what, or when, or where or how, but not why. ‘Fellas, what’s the school rule for bikes? I wasn’t nasty, I was ready to have a cup of tea with Rob and go home but I’m seeking to be relaxedly vigilant, ‘what’s the school rule fellas?’ and this guy persisted, he said ‘I told you, other teachers don’t care’ ‘You did tell me that’, that’s another bit of partial agreement, not a very long one, ‘yeah you did tell me that’. And one of the kids broke ranks, he said ‘We’re supposed to walk our bikes.’ I said, ‘Ok, enjoy the rest of your day, sounds like you know what you are doing, enjoy the rest of your day.’ ‘It sounds like you know what you are doing, enjoy the rest of your day’ is a brief bit of mitigation, offered on route, route type route, then going home and me going with Rob to get a cup of tea.

This didn’t take long, it just took a couple of minutes for goodness sake. But with what Rob and I are seeking to do, and what I was just reminding Rob that we should be seeking to do, is to be relaxedly vigilant, same with these lads here. He said ‘he doesn’t care, he doesn’t care’, and he said ‘I don’t care’ and I said ‘I don’t know if you do care, fellas, what’s our school rule about safe play?’ Now these are very young children, these are only seven and I said ‘what’s our rule for safe play?’, again, use a direct question to get some of this behaviour awareness going.

Partial agreement