MAPA stands for Management of Actual and Potential Aggression. It is described a course with a “focus on prevention” which “teaches management and intervention techniques to help [teachers] cope with escalating behaviour in a professional and safe manner”.
Now, I am no expert. I certainly do not hold a long list of credentials that I can rattle off. What I do have, however, is expert knowledge on what it’s like to actually be on the front line of teaching every day. And yes, that is a war reference because after this training I can only describe the classroom as a battlefield.
To break it down, this training looks at diffusing quickly escalating situations and to resort to ‘disengagements’ and ‘holds’ to safely restrain a student if necessary. Basically, it trains us on the professional way to use physical force if necessary. But we have to use the politically correct terminology of ‘disengagements’ and ‘holds’. I am tired of not calling it what it is.
I will make it very clear that to engage in a hold is the absolute last resort where a teacher has exhausted all other options and the student is a serious danger to themselves and others. This was emphasised continuously throughout the course. In my personal teaching journey of eight years, I have thankfully never had to engage in a hold. I have evacuated a classroom and placed the school into lockdown, but I have never had to use physical force (hoping I never will either!).