Controller, Friend or Benevolent Dictator with Fintan O’Regan

The impact of a teacher’s style and approach can be profound, especially when it comes to students with special educational needs (SEN) and behaviour challenges. Some teachers effortlessly handle students perceived as “difficult”, while others struggle and resort to excessive punishment.

On this week’s podcast, we’re discussing teacher styles for supporting SEN and behaviour with our regular guest Fintan O’Regan. Fintan looks a 3 specific types of teacher style and considers the merits of each – are you a controller, a friend, or a benevolent dictator?

  1. Controller – These subject specialists adopt a “my way or the highway” mentality, often displaying rigid behaviour management techniques.
  2. Friend – Teachers with a friendly approach aim to be liked by their students. They create a classroom environment based on negotiation and democratic principles.
  3. Benevolent Dictator – These teachers strike a balance by setting clear rules and expectations while remaining realistic and making reasonable adjustments to accommodate students’ needs.

It is crucial that teachers themselves, recruiters, and those involved in teacher training consider what it takes for the vision of every teacher to be a teacher of every child. This includes those who appear ready and available to learn and those that have SEND.

Listen to explore the considered merits of the 3 teacher styles, which Fintan perceives to be the most effective, and strategies and potential outcomes with each approach.

“You have to find a way that suits your style within the institution you’re in and be allowed to flourish.”

Fintan O’Regan, Behaviour and SEN Consultant

Fintan O'Regan

About Fintan O’Regan MA, PGCE BSc   

He was the Head teacher of the Centre Academy from 1996 -2002, which was the first specialist school in the UK for students between the ages of 7-19 specialising issues related to ADHD, ASD and ODD.    

He is an associate lecturer for Leicester University, the National Association of Special Needs, the Institute of Education, the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre and the former Vice Chairman of the UK ADHD Network and of the European ADHD Alliance.  

Fintan now works as trainer and consultant for schools and school support systems including, Social Services, Health, the Police and Foster carers   with regards to providing behaviour management strategies for children and families struggling with SEND and behaviour issues. 

Contact Fintan


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