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Module D – Understanding behaviour

Module D – Understanding behaviour

(Links with modules A and F)
Below are optional activities for running this module. However, it's important to run activities and methods that best suit your ESYLs, ensuring you fulfil the aim and objectives of the modules.

During their time working with one of the younger sections, every ESYL will encounter a range of situations where they will be managing young people’s behaviour. They should promote positive behaviour in the Section, or they may need to respond to challenging situations; diffusing arguments, encouraging an individual to participate, or responding to a clingy young person, for example.


There are a number of reasons why young people behave in certain ways. The aim of this module is to give ESYLs a basic understanding of the different behaviours that young people can display and explores some of the potential reasons underpinning those behaviours. By the end, you should be able to recognise and propose possible strategies for dealing with different behaviours.


By the end of this module, you'll be able to:

  • understand different types of behaviour
  • understand and talk about the causes and triggers underpinning different types of behaviour
  • demonstrate a number of tools or methods that could be used to manage behaviour
  • explain how ESYLs can assist with managing behaviour in the section
  • explain where they can get further assistance, and when to involve adults


You'll need:

  • pens
  • Post-it notes
  • flipchart paper
  • games equipment
  • Appendix F
  • Appendix G
  • Appendix H

Begin the session by introducing the module and explaining what the aim and objectives are.

Make sure that you cover the following points in your introduction:

  • Every young person is an individual and all young people should be treated equally. They can display a range of behaviours that can be both positive and negative.
  • A sudden or noticeable change in behaviour may be due to a variety of underlying causes of which you might not be aware.
  • All volunteers should focus on recognising and rewarding positive behaviour, and should never label a young person or adult.
  • When speaking about behaviour in the section, volunteers should focus on the behaviour itself, rather than on the young person in question. For example, instead of saying that young person is being ‘naughty’, they could talk to the young person about their behaviour, clearly explaining why it's not appropriate.
  • Responding to challenging behaviour can be difficult for all leaders at times.

ESYLs need to be prepared with the confidence and skills to respond consistently and appropriately to varying behaviour within the section. To allow them to explore the possible challenges, you'll need to ask them to give examples. It's important that this discussion is held in a positive and safe environment in which young people feel able to ask questions honestly and openly.

Conclusion of Module D

Summarise the module by revisiting the objectives. Ask the ESYLs whether they feel they have covered all of the objectives satisfactorily. Before they go, carry out a review or an evaluation of the session.