How Do You Manage Behaviour In The Classroom? - By Siobhan O’Kane

Working in an outstanding all-girls schools, classroom behaviour is not something that I constantly have to tackle and worry about. Generally, the girls are respectful towards me and each other and are eager to learn. However, as a new student teacher, low level disruption has to be considered in all lessons. Although the girls work hard, sometimes they are quietly chatting during examples, or not being on task during independent work.  

Pupils require consistent rules and routines, regardless of their teacher, in order to work well. I ensure high standards from the beginning of the class and adhere to the school’s policy for the start of lessons to set the tone for the rest of the lesson and make sure pupils are ready to learn.  

With regard to the activities within the lesson, clearly, they need to be engaging in order to ensure pupils are on task rather than chatting with their friends, particularly as I don’t like a silent maths classroom and believe pupils should be able to work together to solve problems. I ensure a variety of different activities which engage pupils in different ways by making the level of challenge appropriate for individuals. This means that pupils do not become bored by tasks they are already able to do nor stressed and disengaged by being too challenged. Furthermore, the activities should arrive at a fast pace otherwise pupils feel they can take their time on a small activity and hinder their own progress in the lesson. Once pupils have finished, I encourage extension activities to maintain their engagement so that pupils always have something to be getting on with.  

I regularly allow designated discussion time to help tackle low-level disruption before it begins. Approaches such as think, pair, share, where students are given time to discussion a problem or a concept with a partner, means that they are more likely to be quiet during the remainder of the task. Collaborative learning and giving each pupil a role within the group allows for on-task discussion, ensuring pupils are engaged as they all play a vital role in the activity. This helps fight low-level disruption as the pupils know they will have time later to discuss the concept in groups and therefore are less likely to try to do so during a teacher-led activity.  

Finally, I consistently use the school’s behaviour policy to reward and sanction pupils appropriately. I find regularly rewarding good behaviour and praising pupils for behaving well encourages those who may sometimes shout out, or talk quietly when they shouldn’t, to behave appropriately in order to benefit from the rewards. 

By Siobhan O’Kane



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