Behaviour Management: How have you tackled this in the classroom?
Before starting my PGCE, behaviour management was one of my major concerns, and it quickly became a focus for me throughout my phase 1 placement. Prior to starting teaching, the advice I received was to be firm, fair and consistent with the school’s behaviour policy. At first, the biggest challenge I had with this advice was knowing what my boundaries were, as the teachers I observed all had different boundaries, and when it was appropriate to issue consequences. Once I established firm boundaries around what behaviour was acceptable and what was not, improvements in behaviour were clear. I also found that establishing routines, so that each lesson followed the same pattern, was a useful strategy, especially when I first started teaching my classes. Since I had not yet built relationships with my classes, this helped in making the situation controlled and manageable, whilst also helping the students feel secure.
For example, the expectation at the start of each of my lessons was to begin the starter activity in silence, whilst answering to their names on the register. This routine meant that the class settled quickly, and the atmosphere was positive for the remainder of the lesson. Aside from this, another key strategy that I found very effective was making good use of the seating plan. As persistent behaviour issues arose between students turning around and talking, the most effective solution to this was often just a quick alteration to the seating plan. The final aspect of behaviour management that I want to touch upon is waiting for silence. I observed lots of different teachers using various techniques, and began a process of trial and error to know which one I found most effective. Personally, I did not find a countdown useful, and nor did I want to use the raised hand technique – when the teacher raises their hand, everyone must also put their hand up and stop talking. Instead, I found that simply telling the class to turn their attention to me was very effective, mixed in with pausing when a student spoke.
By Ellen Eastwood
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