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Wednesday, 5 September, 2001, 14:17 GMT 15:17 UK
Pupils hear from horse whisperer
Monty Roberts with horse
Monty Roberts: "Gentleness is the true strength"
Teachers at a school in Birmingham are adopting the methods of a world-famous horse whisperer.

Monty Roberts is credited with revolutionising the way horses around the world are trained but he says his methods work equally well on people.

Staff at the Kingshurst Junior School became interested in the horse whisperer's philosophy after one of the teachers saw him in action.

The horse-whisperer met and talked to pupils at the school on Wednesday.

I realised that Monty's methods which teach gentleness, non-violence, and calmness have always been my beliefs

Stephen Taylor
Staff say the ideas are one of number of methods they have adopted to improve communication between teachers and pupils.

Stephen Taylor, a teacher at Kinghurst Junior School, first heard about Monty Roberts in a television programme.

After seeing a live performance in Solihull in 1998 he decided to introduce the ideas to other teachers in the school.

"I realised that Monty's methods which teach gentleness, non-violence, and calmness have always been my beliefs and the way that I approach teaching.

Behaviour rules

"Monty always says that gentleness is the true strength and I very much believe that."

But Mr Taylor says gentleness does not equal weakness.

One of the methods the school uses is to ask pupils to help negotiate correct behaviour rules and the punishment for breaking those rules.

Monty Roberts as a young man
Monty Roberts as a young man
"We try to take the confrontation out of issues.

"Recently the whole school discussed the problem of litter and the pupils agreed at an assembly that if litter was continuously dropped, the next day there would be no lunch break.

"The headmaster told me that children are picking up litter now without even being asked."

Monty Roberts has always believed his methods are just as useful in the classroom as the stable, for helping troublesome children as well as unruly horses.

He has three of his own children but has fostered more than 40 others, and believes that the principles at the heart of horse whispering can also be used to be a better parent.

See also:

08 Jul 98 | Entertainment
The real horse-whisperer speaks out
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