Positive behaviour management… Every teacher’s favourite topic, right? This is a topic that we know is on a lot of people’s minds at the start of the new school year. On that note, there are still spaces available for our free online course ‘Practical Classroom Management for Teachers.’ See here for more information and to book your place. In this week’s blog, we are focussing on practical tips for positive behaviour management. In the coming weeks, we will share more practical advice for positive behaviour management with you, as well as an update on how our CPD went.
1. Stick to the Behaviour Policy
It is important that all members of staff abide by the same policies. Some of your students will have little or no consistency in rules and routines at home and will crave this structure in school (even if they don’t verbalise this!) Use lots of positive reinforcement to remind the whole class of what they should be doing.
‘I can see MOST people have done brilliantly and have already started their work…’
At the same time, make sure you use the warning and sanction system outlined in the school’s policy IF you need it. Sometimes a student will do something that requires the use of a warning (often referred to as a C1 in many school policies), so make sure you do not let behaviour slip.
2. Positive Behaviour Management at the Start of the Lesson
Set up and maintain a regimented start to each lesson. Practice this and aim for consistency. For example:
- Start by standing at the door, managing the space and allowing students in one at a time.
- Hand the students a Do Now activity – get them into the routine of having a productive task to complete on entry.
Note: It’s hard to see who is not following if there are loads of things out on the tables. Try to limit resources and avoid handing out books until you need them.
- Stop the flow of students if those in the classroom are not following ‘Do Now’ task instructions. Remind the whole class of your expectations.
- Display the seating plan on the board at the beginning of the lesson alongside the ‘Do Now’ activity. (Especially important for secondary classes). Students must sit in their allocated seats and this is not negotiable – check they are sitting where they should be as they enter the room and pause the line if they are not.
- Hand out books whilst students are settled doing the ‘Do Now’ or ask an early finisher to hand them out for you.
- Give the students time to copy the date and title, but not too much time. Have a second slide with the objective/aim displayed to show them that their time with the title/keywords is nearly up.
- Display the answers to the ‘Do Now’ activity for students to self mark, spending just a few minutes on this before introducing the main learning objectives and activities.
- Throughout, give precise positive praise to students making good choices at the start of your lesson.
“Fantastic, Basil! You’ve made a really focused start on the Do Now. I can tell you’re going to be really on it this morning!”
3. Plan for all Transition Points in Lessons
By transition points we mean the bits in the lesson where there is a change – children entering the classroom, students moving on from the ‘do now’ activity’, resources being handed out for the main activity, students packing up and preparing to leave for break time etc.
Manage activities like writing down the date and title (if this is required in your school) by thinking about what students are doing once they are finished.
It’s important to consider that some students write faster than others and that these tiny transition points within the lesson can be the difference between a smooth flow into the first activity, or a lesson being spoilt by students getting distracted and beginning to talk. A simple way to manage this is by having the date and title displayed on the second slide (after the Do Now) and then on the third slide making these slightly smaller and displaying the LOs for a student to read out. In this way, all students have something to be doing and the pace is maintained. This is just one example, but it’s important to think of points throughout your lesson where students need this strict direction and not allow behaviour to slip due to students not having anything to do.
4. Address the Class Positively
Use body language when addressing the class. Do not sit down behind the teacher’s desk, the students will assume you do not require their attention. Body language is very powerful – be consistent with where and how you stand to deliver instructions. Stand and position yourself so that all students can see that they need to pay attention to you. Sitting down implies that the teacher is not really trying to address the class.
5. Plan Ahead for Potential Issues
An important part of planning for positive behaviour management is to anticipate potential issues and mentally prepare for them. What if a student turns up late and distracts the class? What if the noise level rises again whilst some students are still finishing their task? Think ahead about what you could do in these situations and have a plan. This empowers you to be proactive in the classroom without being fazed by unwanted behaviour. See below for a few suggested solutions for potential behaviour issues:
If a student turns up late…
- Have an open-ended Do Now that links to revision of the previous lesson rather than the current one. This means students that arrive on time do not finish too quickly and start chatting. Students that arrive late are also not disadvantaged for the lesson. Because the date and title can be written down and then the Do Now revisited, it gives the maximum time for the late students to arrive and not miss key parts of the lesson.
If students get stressed because they have not finished a task in time…
- An open-ended do now takes as long as YOU need it to take, and no longer. Aim for no longer than 8 minutes (meaning 5 from the time at which the kids should be in your room.) Open-ended do nows (for example, ‘how many calculations can you think of where 54 is the answer?’) don’t have an endpoint so this reduces the chance of a student feeling anxious that they have not done enough.
If students don’t listen to the answers for the do now or become noisy…
- Don’t go through the answers immediately. Have the students write down the tile and date first – then they will be more likely to be silent already – it’s hard to copy and talk. Then you can quickly go through the Do Now, as succinctly as possible.
We hope you’ve found this blog on positive behaviour management strategies useful! We hope to see you at one of our upcoming online courses too… Check here for details on our positive behaviour management course… and here for information on the full catalogue of courses we have coming up! We also have a post here with all the info you need to know about our 2021-22 CPD courses.