How Do You Manage Behaviour In The Classroom?

Maria EtheredgeFirstly, behaviour management across schools and departments is widely varied depending on the personality of the teacher and their relationship with the class. What works well for one may not work so well for another just down the corridor. 

Secondly, there are things which all staff must be aware of and stick to. The school behaviour policy is there for a reason, and though you may deal with low level disruption in different ways, not using the school wide behaviour system in the way that it is intended will be undermining other colleagues. This will make your life difficult both in the classroom and the staff room. A united expectation of what good learning behaviours look like is the epitome of a safe and structured learning environment.

So personally, what do I do in my classroom? I have found that the following steps give students a gradual but clear impression of their current standard of behaviour.

1)      Set the expectations. 

High expectations lead to high self-esteem and good progress because students are proud of themselves and their work. This starts before they even enter the classroom. If my expectations are not upheld then we need a…

2)      Non-verbal reminder.

Instead of interrupting my flow and the attention of the class by naming and shaming those looking out of the window, a tap on the desk or wiggle of fingers in their general direction should do the trick. 

3)      Individual conversation.

What next? Instead of drawing attention to them, having a quiet word beside their desk will be an individual reminder and a positive next step. This can be a time for the student to raise an issue which can be dealt with quickly and quietly and to make my expectations transparent.

4)      Take-up time.

During my individual conversation I may have issued an instruction – gum in the bin, move seat, put your phone away. Some teenagers have lots invested in their image, so acquiescing as soon as asked is often not their idea of street cred. Giving some ‘take-up time’ will give them a few minutes to huff and puff under their breath and then follow the instruction. 

5)      Behaviour system.

I like this to be the last thing that happens in my classroom. Only if the student’s behaviour is having a serious impact on the learning of the other pupils will they leave the classroom.

Having a system that students know is followed consistently provides that safe environment where students are comfortable to learn and flourish. 

By Maria Etheredge