Back to Blogs

A Teacher’s Guide To: SEMH & BESD

  • Publish Date: Posted 10 months ago
  • Author: Katie Armstrong

Supporting Students with Social, Emotional, Mental Health and Behavioural, Emotional, Social Development Challenges

In the world of modern education, the terms SEMH (Social, Emotional, and Mental Health) and BESD (Behavioural, Emotional, and Social Development) hold significant importance. As a teacher, understanding these key words, recognising their indicators, and knowing how to effectively support students with SEMH and BESD is what sets apart good teachers from great ones.

SEMH - Social, Emotional & Mental Health

Teachers bear the responsibility of addressing the social, emotional, and mental health needs of their students. Spotting SEMH issues in children and implementing strategies to improve their SEMH are vital aspects of a teacher's role.

Recognising the signs of SEMH issues

To identify SEMH issues, keep a watchful eye for the following indicators:

  1. Emotional detachment from others and difficulties forming/maintaining friendships.

  2. Fear of interacting with others.

  3. Outbursts and sudden mood swings.

  4. Engaging in fights, displaying self-harming behaviors, or engaging in bullying.

  5. Weight loss or signs of eating disorders.

  6. Decreased ability to concentrate.

  7. Unusual changes in behavior.

  8. Evidence of substance abuse.

How you can provide assistance

As a teacher, there are several steps you can take to help students who exhibit signs of SEMH problems:

  1. Consult the school's guidance counselor or arrange a meeting with them and the student to discuss any issues at home or school.

  2. Take a firm stand against bullying, promptly addressing and punishing such behavior. Bullying negatively impacts a student's SEMH, so it must be stopped immediately. Encourage students who are being bullied to speak up and seek appropriate support.

  3. If necessary, involve the student's parents by contacting them and informing them about the observed signs. Remember, SEMH issues can originate from both home and school environments.

  4. Implement positive SEMH teaching strategies. Introduce variety or new tasks in the classroom and observe how it impacts your students' attitudes. However, maintaining a predictable structure and a calm environment helps anxious students feel safe. The way you handle your class will depend on your teaching style and your students.

  5. Practice praise and attention equally. Ensure that students who require praise receive it, and acknowledge and reward good work and accomplishments to maintain a positive SEMH environment.

BESD - Behavioural, Emotional & Social Development

Students with behavioral issues often have conditions such as ADHD, autism, ODD, or other challenges that affect their concentration, communication, and information processing. Emotional difficulties can arise from anxiety, mental health issues, addictions, or depression. These emotional difficulties often intersect with the aforementioned behavioral conditions. Social issues can stem from neglect, challenging backgrounds, feeling unsafe at home, or other related problems, which influence how students perceive themselves, school, and others.

Effects of BESD issues on students

Students with BESD may exhibit similar signs to those with SEMH difficulties. However, the most prominent indicators of BESD challenges include:

  1. Anger and frustration.

  2. Absenteeism.

  3. Social isolation.

  4. Inability to establish and maintain friendships.

  5. Irregular interactions with friends and other students.

Effective strategies for managing BESD problems

Managing student behavior plays a crucial role in effectively supporting students with BESD conditions. Consider the following approaches:

  1. Choose your battles wisely. Challenging students every time they step out of line will lead to constant confrontation. Determine what behavior needs immediate attention and what can be ignored without disturbing the class.

  2. Assert your authority and maintain control. Ending discussions with sharp, authoritative phrases shows that you will not tolerate acting out. Phrases like "End of discussion," "That's the final word," and "No more on this" establish your position of authority and respect for students with BESD challenges.

  3. Remove the audience. Many students who act out seek attention. By addressing them outside the classroom, away from their peers, you diminish the audience and the attention they desire.

  4. Don't punish fidgeting. Students with BESD often struggle to sit still. While fidgeting may be bothersome, it can actually help these students stay focused.

  5. Emphasize positivity. Rewarding good behavior and setting goals can have a more positive long-term impact on managing BESD student behavior than frequent punishment. Establishing a good learning ethic and building strong bonds with your BESD students are important aspects of this approach.

  6. Get to know your students. Building a trusting and respectful relationship with BESD students can provide them comfort and reduce the likelihood of acting out in classes taught by teachers they trust. Sharing effective strategies with other teachers can also create an encouraging and engaging environment for these students.

SEMH and BESD challenges have rapidly increased due to the effects of lockdown and the pandemic. Teachers must take these issues seriously to motivate students, maintain a positive classroom environment, and promote constructive learning experiences.

At Dunbar Education we care about you and the students you teach. We offer free CPD courses covering various topics, including behavior management, to all registered candidates. Additionally, we provide webinars, skill-building workshops, and access to dedicated consultants who work tirelessly to find you the perfect job. With an extensive pool of jobs from all over England, we cater to full-time, part-time, and supply teachers.

Register with us today and discover the fulfilling educational opportunities you've been seeking