The secret to real consistency in behaviour management

15th February 2012  |  by Greg

Nothing in behaviour management is talked about more or is harder to achieve than real consistency. However, there’s a very good reason for wanting to achieve it:

It’s the consistency of delivery, not the severity of consequences, that shows students that you care enough to give them boundaries.

So, here is my guide to achieving consistency:

1. Have reasonable expectations

What do you really want in your classroom? How quickly do you want it? Are your expectations reasonable? Get this wrong and you’ll find consistency is very difficult.

2. Use reasonable consequences

Are your consequences reasonable? Are you comfortable giving them? If you’re not, guess what? You won’t.

3. Be flexible in advance, consistent in the now

It’s fine to change when and what consequences are given in certain situations, but just don’t do it on the hoof. Be as flexible as you like but only in advance and tell everyone about the changes in advance too.

4. Fair rewards

This is a whole new blog post and is coming soon.

5. Ensure only the choice decides whether a consequence is delivered

This is a toughy but is essential. If you have given a specific and reasonable instruction, and students choose not to follow it, then you need to deliver your reasonable consequences and deliver them every time.

Other factors shouldn’t enter the equation. Factors like:

  • The time of day – you think:  “It’s only 9.10am- it’s too early”  or “It’s nearly lunchtime- it’s too late.”
  • The student involved – you think: “They’re usually good, so I’ll let them off.
  • The number of warnings they’ve already had – you think: “This is their 4th warning which means I have to ring home. I’ll leave it.”
  • The reaction of the student – you think: “If I give them a warning, they’ll kick-off; it’s easier to ignore it.”

So there it is – how to achieve real consistency in behaviour management.

#5 is the biggy but what it shows is that you’re simply delivering the system and that it’s pupil’s choices (and not your whim) that leads to consequences. This is key to building better relationships.

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