NVR Teacher Coaching Module

Non Violent Resistance (NVR) is an innovative systemic approach to serious and harmful behaviour problems in young people. It was initially developed by Professor Haim Omer (2011; 2004) and his team at the University of Tel Aviv around 20 years ago. The approach continues to evolve and has been adapted for a large number of applications, wherever harmful, self-destructive, and controlling behaviour is concerned.  In a number of European countries, NVR – or, as it is frequently referred to there, ‘New Authority’ – has transformed education in many mainstream primary- and secondary schools, as well as in special educational environments (Omer and Haller, 2020; Lemme and Körner (Eds), 2016). E.g., the city of Zurich has adopted New Authority as its central behavioural model for all of its schools. Teachers tell us how NVR has given them agency and has helped them to re-connect in meaningful ways with colleagues, as well as with students and their parents. Their motto is: “You will never be alone.”

The PartnershipProjects NVR Teacher Coaching Module (TCM) has been developed in response to feedback from schools which educate children and young people who demonstrate complex patterns of disruptive, and often aggressive or even violent behaviours.  Teachers and support staff report that they are left feeling de-skilled and have limited resources for managing such controlling behaviours. Their usual behaviour management strategies, such as rewards and sanctions, are simply not effective. Again and again, staff experience impasses that leave them feeling helpless, and which can result in burn out.  Often, the seemingly only way to manage these problematic and challenging behaviours is through physical restraint, fixed term or even permanent exclusion.

The negative and even traumatic impact of restraint and exclusion on children and young people is increasingly documented in contemporary literature. (Wilton, 2020; Gill, 2017; Timpson, 2019). From our work with parents, we also know that the ability of the family to cope can be seriously compromised, when a child is excluded from school or when school is a place fraught with misunderstandings and multiple sanctions. In not a few cases, these situations will even precipitate family breakdown.

Our Teacher Coaching Module (TCM), focuses on four core elements of the NVR/New Authority approach:

  1. de-escalation;
  2. teacher presence;
  3. effective resistance to problem behaviour;
  4. building support networks. 

It looks in depth at how the NVR / New Authority principles can be used to understand and support these complex children and young people, and at the same time build cooperative alliances with other colleagues and with parents. Each of the four NVR elements is delivered over 3 – 4 sessions to a core group of staff. The exact structure can be flexible and is adapted to best meet the needs of your educational environment. 

Through workshops that combine the practice of NVR methods with role play and reflection in a teaching environment, staff are offered the opportunity to explore and learn more effective ways in responding to these young people’s behaviours.  They are encouraged to bring their own real experiences to the training and develop new ways of working together as a staff body in order to achieve better outcomes. We look at how the implementation of ‘positive action’ methods taken from the NVR / New Authority model can be used to improve staff and pupil wellbeing and improve relationships with parents and the external network around the school. We also support the setting with practical ways of cascading the model to all staff and integrating it into school policies and procedures, in order to have maximum impact.

Gill, K. et al (2017). Making the Difference: Breaking the link between school exclusion and social exclusion www.ippr.org/publications/making-the-difference

Lemme, M. and Körner, B. (2016). Neue Autorität in der Schule

Omer, H. (2011). The New Authority: Family, School and Community

Omer, H. (2004). Non-violent Resistance. A New Approach to Violent and Self-destructive Children

Omer, H. et al (2013). The Anchoring Function: Parental Authority and the Parent-Child Bond  Family Process, Vol. 52, No. 2, 2013 © FPI, Inc. doi: 10.1111/famp.12019

Omer, H. and Haller, R (2020). Raus aus der Ohnmacht: Das Konzept Neue Autoritat fur die schulische Praxis

Timpson, E. (2019). Timpson Review of School Exclusions www.gov.uk/government/publications

Wilton, J. (2020). Briefing 54: Trauma, Challenging Behaviour and Restrictive Interventions in Schools www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk

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