A Spring Clean of Behaviour
With the next half term about to commence, this is a great opportunity to reflect on your behaviour management, try something new and get in touch with any feedback or requests for advice. These top tips are a great reminder for everyone.
1. Spring in their step
After an incredibly satisfying break, your students ‘should’ positively bounce back into school. But remember: they should not be allowed to cross the threshold to enter your classroom without meeting your behaviour expectations. Having an entry routine is an essential part of classroom management. Greeting students at the door builds a positive start to your lesson (and combined with an engaging starter / DO NOW activity) reinforces your expectations and ensures that students are ready to learn (because you don’t let them in if they’re not!).
Routines are not limited to the start of your lesson though. Transition routines for exiting the classroom, tidying up, self- and peer-assessment and even the distribution and collection of resources and books can save time and remove distractions.
2. The Silence of the Lambs
While in the countryside the approaching bleating of lambs is on many a farmer’s mind, such a cacophony in your classroom may seem like a horror. But by now you should have an established signal for silence e.g. a countdown, raised hand etc. After half-term, you must continue to ensure you insist on 100% silence when you ask for it. You must be consistent with your own expectations.
If you are struggling to gain 100% silence, try giving problem students jobs/roles of responsibility whilst you give instructions or try changing your lesson planning to include group work or work that doesn’t even require you to talk (then there can be no excuses)!
Remember: if you are struggling to gain or maintain silence, then don’t ask for it! Plan your lessons to avoid you needing to give verbal instruction and just get the students DOING!
3. Sunshine not rain
Whilst we can’t control the British springtime weather, we can control our own responses to the student behaviour we are presented with. It is also obvious which of your dispositions students would prefer to be exposed to. By giving clear and straightforward instructions students know exactly what they should be doing to get rewards for being nice rather than being naughty. Setting high expectations means students know what is expected of them 100% of the time. But why? Why should they follow the rules when they are never told what the consequences are?! Being clear and consistent with consequences means that students are far less likely to misbehave.
4. Planting plans
Like any thriving garden or allotment, great lessons need preparation. Planning your routines and expectations are the first steps to crafting a positive classroom environment. You must then ensure that your lessons are accessible and challenging. The more students are busy ‘doing’ something, the less opportunity there is to misbehave. Here are some questions to ask yourself if students are losing focus within your lesson:
- Are students engaged with a starter / DO NOW activity as soon as they enter the classroom?
- Are your instructions clear? Displayed on the board/worksheet as well as verbally explained?
- Are the activities challenging? Activities that are too easy or too hard will result in boredom and misbehaviour.
- Are your activities accessible? Is there appropriate differentiation, e.g. modelling, scaffolding and structuring, of the work to enable all students to access the learning and be challenged?
- Do students know you’re going to check? Make sure there is a challenging time frame and a certainty that their learning is going to be checked/assessed.
5. Spring chickens
Whilst many a teacher may be tired at this time of year, together with your colleagues you can flock together for support. Your school should have policies and routines in place to help you with your teaching and classroom management – make sure you find out what these are. Do not be afraid to ask other teachers how they establish routines in their classroom. Your colleagues will know what works well for your school’s students. Middle and Senior Leadership should be able to assist and advise on more serious behaviour issues. And remember: the Training and Development Team here at Prospero are all experienced teachers happy to advise on any issue you might be having.