Following a successful career in school leadership, Cathy Gunning is an educational consultant with a specialism in early years and the inclusion of children who have experience of being cared for by the state. In this video, she talks with Professor Rachel Lofthouse from Leeds Beckett university in England, about the notion of 'Attuned Teaching', which is a unique framework for building high-quality relationships with children and young people, as a basis for learning. In a blog from Professor Rachel Lofthouse, 'Attuned Teaching' is presented as a counter-approach to 'zero-tolerance' behaviour policies in schools:
The Attuned Teaching Framework has a 'ABCD' of:
A - Adopt an anti-bias stance
Every child is unique. Every child is important and has the right to full time education. We challenge performative policies that lead to some children being considered inconvenient in some schools. Our policies, language and practices need to nurture all learners rather than discriminate against or punish some. By adopting an anti-bias stance we commit to keeping inclusion and social justice at the heart of education.
B - Build relationships which make a difference
Every child needs to feel welcome and be known in their school community. We build trust with children through our actions. Relationships are not neutral. The classroom is not a battleground so let’s stop talking about enforcing behaviour and discipline. By putting relationships first we value each child in their own right and we create opportunities for learners to be both vulnerable and bold.
C - Create safe enabling environments
Every child can flourish when they feel safe, and every child can learn. We share the responsibility to create affirming, appreciative and enabling school environments. Practices which isolate or shame children or families have no place in education. By focusing on equity, being empathetic and practising co-regulation we create successful learning environments for all.
D - Deepen our understanding over time
Every child deserves teachers who keep learning. Understanding of trauma, vulnerability and attachment continues to evolve, and it is not legitimate to assume our practices should be static. We respect, learn from and contribute to the expertise of fellow teachers and other professionals. By working collaboratively and with curiosity we co-create knowledge for practice to become highly effective inclusive teachers.
What do you do to ensure 'ABCD' in your own classroom? What next steps could you take, to develop atuned teaching for inclusion?
Cathy and Rachel have worked together on developing a 'Manifesto for Attuned Teaching' on which they have written the below book chapter:
Gunning, C. and Lofthouse, R. (2022), "A Manifesto for Attuned Teaching", McGovern, W., Gillespie, A. and Woodley, H. (Ed.) Understanding Safeguarding for Children and Their Educational Experiences, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 85-96. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80262-709-120221009