A/Prof Linda Graham

Spend a little time in a school staffroom or talking to educators and within minutes the subject of disruptive behaviour is bound to arise. Kids who won’t do their work and who disrupt others are a major source of stress for teachers, so it is not surprising that most want to know how to respond.

There are many systems, procedures and charts, even electronic “games” that promise much but, in the end, fail to deliver. Given these strategies work with most kids, it can be tempting to think that nothing can reach the others or indeed that there is something wrong with them. But that’s not true. In fact, crack the code with these kids, and educators may actually get to make the difference that most entered teaching with the desire to make.

Whilst there isn’t a one-size-fits-all (and that’s why these kids typically don’t respond to the usual strategies), there ARE a number of common factors that can help educators prepare the ground for change. In this presentation, I will share what I’ve learnt from some of the toughest kids around. These insights – drawn from the kids themselves, as well as the educators who have cracked these codes – will enable teachers and principals to think critically about the classroom conditions that produce severely disruptive behaviour and how to address those, in order to develop the type of relationships and connectedness that is necessary to engage the most disruptive students.

About Linda

Associate Professor Linda J. Graham is Principal Research Fellow in the Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Her research focuses on inclusive responses to students who are difficult to teach.
She is currently working on two major projects in the area of disruptive school behaviour. The first is a retrospective longitudinal study with 33 boys enrolled in special schools for disruptive behaviour, and the second is a prospective longitudinal study tracking the school liking, language, learning, development, relationships and behaviour of 250 children through the early years of school.

Linda was the convenor of the 2015 National Summit on Student Engagement, Learning and Behaviour, has over 65 publications, and is the Editor of two scholarly journals: the Australian Educational Researcher (AER) and the International Journal on School Disaffection. She has two teenage children, a long-suffering husband, one Great Dane, and two extremely spoilt cats.