Book: “Transforming behaviour in the classroom – a solution focused guide for new teachers”

G James (2016) “Transforming behaviour in the classroom – a solution focused guide for new teachers” Sage London & New York 

Search online or available from the publisher ( ) Available in paperback, hardback and Kindle.

A brief note

I was approached by the educational publisher Sage in 2013, soon after my  Local Authority Educational Psychology and Specialist Support Service was disbanded due to major cuts in Government funding for school support services in the UK. Sage asked me to write a book about my work, using, training and developing the Solutions Focused approach to solving complex problems – the kind that children often come up against and struggle to deal with. 

I’d been deeply engaged in Solution Focused Brief Therapy and SF Coaching since 2001, applying the work in many varied settings – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, the LA Residential Service, school Behaviour and Learning Support and LA Organisational services. I found the approach to the complex problems children, and their families, carers and teacher and support staff in schools struggle with, to be straight forward and highly effective.

Sage suggested aiming the book at new teachers, in view of the limited scope of initial teacher training in developing new thinking about children’s behaviour and what we can be done to support children to engage in learning. My intention in using the idea of “transforming behaviour” goes more widely than that – solutions focused thinking and practice have a profound effect on adults and children, shifting attention away from ‘what’s gone wrong’ and attempting to prevent it by rewards and punishments, to ‘what’s going right’ – finding solutions to complex problems already working – and doing more of what works.

Instead of ‘doing to’ children in traditional ways the SF approach is  about ‘working with’ children, discovering their strengths and resources and in so doing building their ability to recover from set-backs, their self-confidence and self-esteem as they grow and develop. 

I hope you find the book interesting and a useful resource, particularly in this time of stress, loss and worry in the ongoing pandemic. I’d love to hear your reflections. Be solutions focused, hopeful, successful and resourceful. 

Dr Geoff James   January 2021