So today we had our first internal school Teach Meet with a focus on behaviour management (particularly for Years 7 to 9). It was delivered by an experienced Head of Year and it started quite a good Q and A session at the end, especially by the newer teachers within the school. Her approach to behaviour management can be summed up as: Firm, friendly and fair.
These are just a few of her thoughts she shared:
- Get the balance right as the students will mirror you.
- Have high expectations so they have high expectations of themselves.
- If you are polite and respectful they will be too. Model the behaviour you are looking for. For example, I say ‘Good morning/afternoon’ to each student when I do the register and they respond the same way; it helps set the right tone and atmosphere.
- Also, apologise when you make mistakes (which you inevitably will).
- You need to follow the rules if you want them to. For example, don’t chew gum or wear headphones whilst they work if you want them to. You set the standards.
- Being too hard, aggressive and hypercritical will elicit the same response from them. NQTs & PGCEs – please don’t believe that you shouldn’t ‘smile before Christmas’!
- Be too soft or reward / praise students when they don’t deserve it then they will not respect you or your classroom.
- Act confident even if you aren’t and stay calm. The students can spot anxiety a mile away and will happily exploit it. If you are too exuberant, they will quickly lose control of their behaviour.
- Plan for positive behaviour. Make sure you are keeping them challenged in class; the quickest way to encourage poor behaviour is through poor planning. Work that is too hard or too easy will lead to problems. Similarly, avoid issues by working out groupings in advance – letting the students work with friends can lead to issues with concentration and make other students in the class uncomfortable if they have difficulties finding a group.
- Follow the advice available for individual students. There will be times you won’t know the full picture (for example when there are child protection issues). You must trust the HoH or Senco and follow their advice. They will never suggest that you do nothing! Don’t back off a student and let them do what they want because they have problems or are difficult. Just follow the advice given and let HoH know if there are problems.
- Know when to get help. Deal with behaviour issues as far as possible yourself; if you call for support too much then you undermine your own authority. If you don’t call they won’t take you seriously. You can’t subcontract out your behaviour management to their tutor, HoY or to your HoD.
- Don’t typecast students or hold grudges: if a student thinks you don’t like them or if you are not being fair then they will make life difficult. When you give consequences to students (which you must do when they don’t meet expectations) make it clear that they can move on from this. They aren’t devils and we all make mistakes. Try to keep things in perspective and don’t make mountains out of molehills. Be firm, calm and clear when challenging behaviour and then move on.
- Give rewards / praise when they deserve it. Sometimes the students who are most likely to be disruptive are the ones with the least confidence in your subject.
- Never let negative comments or behaviour pass unnoticed or un-commented upon in your lessons. Be clear as to the sort of climate you want in your classroom.
- Always follow through and don’t back yourself into a corner. Never give whole class detentions as this actually alienates you from the class not the people who have been disruptive.
- Harness the power of perception! Perception is powerful and children can be highly suggestible. Confidently tell them that students behave beautifully in your lessons and they will believe you. Ultimately, you should aim to build a positive reputation for being in control of your classroom and half of your behaviour management will take care of itself through students’ word of mouth.
A really positive and well attended start to our schools new CPD provision.