Behaviour Management: How have you tackled this in the classroom?

Marta BacmagaComing from a background where I worked purely with adults, having no children in my family, I was naïve on what behaviour I could expect to see in a classroom. 

When I first started teaching, pupils were behaving themselves, giving me further sense of feeling ready. Then two-week mark hit… Suddenly, my well-behaved Year 9s were no longer behaving, and I could see different behaviours throughout the classroom that I didn’t expect in a secondary school. From that day on I realised I cannot underestimate these children and I need to research behaviour management strategies. 

There is so much research on behaviour management I was in a shock! This clearly wasn’t just me, but in general every teacher’s nightmare. Whichever techniques I have used has worked one way or another, however I will outline my three favourites. 

My current school has an expectation that every pupil must stand behind their seats at the beginning of the lesson to get ready for learning, waiting for the teacher to let them sit down. This works well half of the time, however other times it doesn’t always work first time, so I have started asking pupils to stand up again, waiting for them to be silent. 15-20 seconds later the whole class fell silent, and they all sat down ready for learning. I have heard about this technique before, but never expected to work as well as it did!

Second favourite, which I think every teacher has used in their teaching career is counting down from 3-2-1. I normally add a sentence, 3-2-anyone who speaks after 1 gets a consequence-1 if they are still chatting at 2. Works wonders, as it gives pupils a reset – any technique including a quick reset seems to work! One of my commonly used techniques and I do not think I will be saying goodbye to it any time soon.

Finally, giving rewards/house points. I know that consequences do work a lot of the time and are a way to manage behaviour management, but I always think, “What if I can manage their behaviour without giving out any consequences?”. I tried that with my Year 10 class, as they normally get the most consequences out of all my classes and during a particularly bad lesson, I started giving rewards/house points for the smallest acts of respect, i.e. putting their hand up. This surprisingly worked well, they stopped calling out and instead started putting their hand up!

Even though I have few favourite behaviour management techniques that work for me, I do think behaviour management is something I will be perfecting for the rest of my teaching career.

By Marta Bacmaga


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