Dealing with misbehaviour within a classroom setting is not something that comes naturally. Schools and teachers can often feel unable to improve behaviour management, but it does not have to be that way. We have provided a few methods that will positively help both the behaviour of students and how it is managed within the school.
1. Be consistently fair
If you treat select pupils differently, this can lead to jealousy and adverse behaviour from others. By ensuring you respond consistently to any similar situations, then the risk of triggering these behaviours is reduced.
It can be tempting to let some behaviour slide, especially when it has already been a tough day. But by doing this, the pupil and the rest of the class will believe it is acceptable, and therefore the likelihood of these occurrences increases. If you nip bad behaviour in the bud, this sets an example for the rest of the class, and will result in positive behaviour management overall. Be clear on your expectations and make sure these are consistently displayed and that you model these at every opportunity.
2. Stick to your rules
You will likely have classroom rules/expectations, but if they are forgotten soon after being implemented and are not consistently used and modelled in your classroom on a daily basis, students won’t believe they need to be followed. To guarantee they are thoroughly grasped by all, they should be at the core of everything you do in the classroom. You can display them on the wall to remind yourself, as well as the pupils. They act as your mechanism for promotion of positive behaviour and challenge against negative behaviour. Expectations are to be expected after all! Another good idea is to write down how each day went, with examples of how the classroom rules were followed and how they were not. This will help you to notice when they are not adhered to in the future, so you can act on these choices and behaviours from your students immediately.
3. Use engaging learning methods
Pupils often misbehave because they are bored. To combat this, you can engage pupils by introducing methods that require their interaction. You could make a statement, and find out whether students agree or disagree by getting them to raise their hands or sit on opposite sides of the classroom.
Cooperative learning can be put in place for positive behavioural management too. Instead of you giving the information, students work in groups to complete a task. They can critically evaluate one another’s ideas, and benefit from each other’s skills and resources. This produces positive outcomes, such as interdependence.
4. Respond quickly
Spending lots of time reacting to bad behaviour disrupts the lesson for the entire class, and is also more likely to result in further behavioural problems as the pupil has got the response they wanted. To combat this and achieve positive behavioural management, make sure how you respond is low-key and short.
One such method is to make it clear with your body language that you think what they are doing is unacceptable. You will need to ensure that it is not intimidating in any way, and also make affirmative movements, such as smiling and nodding your head, when students demonstrate good behaviour.
5. Give positive feedback
Too much focus on negative behaviour can cause those behaving badly (and the rest of the classroom) to feel like they are not achieving anything. Pupils need to be given positive feedback and recognition when they are doing well, whether it is on a consistent basis or when their behaviour has improved.
Take the time to give students feedback on regular occasions, not just at parents’ evening, but throughout the school day. If they have improved, give them some sort of reward or let them know how impressed you are. Do not focus on what they have done in the past – good behavioural management is about improving the future of the pupil.
Your classroom reward and sanction system is key to supporting you in reinforcing positive behaviours and sanctioning negative ones. If you don’t have one think about how one can be put in place that links clearly to your schools behavioural policy and supports your practice in the classroom
‘The behaviour you pay attention to is the behaviour that is most likely to happen again!’
6. Create a calming space
Some students may be prone to anger or may have elevated anxiety levels due to traumatic or inconsistent experiences. If you react badly, it is only likely to worsen it. Instead you can provide them with a calming space, perhaps a corner of the classroom, or outside it, so they can take the time to calm down.
You can assist by providing a worksheet that allows them to explain their anger. They can detail what made them feel this way, how they should have behaved instead, and what they can do in the future to reduce the risk of them getting angry again. Analysing their feelings is certain to lessen bad behaviour, helping to achieve positive behaviour management.
A calm approach from the adult, no matter how much the child is in an escalated state, will support the child in calming their emotions and therefore behaviour and will support the de-escalation of the situation. The student will mirror your approach so show this calm approach in your body language, tone of voice and words you use.
7. Discuss behavioural management openly
To improve behavioural management, it is often good to talk about it. There could be other issues going on in a pupil’s life that are causing them to misbehave, and once these are identified then a plan can be put in place to help them.
Senior members of staff and a pupil’s parent or guardian may need to be brought into the discussion. Ensure that you do not appear to be criticising their child, but are calmly expressing your concern for their behaviour. This way, they’ll be more likely to be active in helping improve behaviour management.
Sometimes further outside help may be needed, such as Aspire Behaviour Management. We work in partnership with local authorities, schools, educational settings and families. Our training packages have been proven to develop a culture of positive behaviour management. We also provide tailored services to families, combatting challenging behaviours in the home environment to further support their development at school.