Top 10 behaviour management tips

5th September 2009  |  by Greg

Ready Set Go

1. Know what you want it to look like.

Choose and use positive language that clearly and unambiguously describes your behavioural expectations and use the same language consistently. If you don’t know how you want behaviour to look, you can guarantee students won’t either.

2. Teach your expectations.

When you know exactly what you want behaviour to look like (see #1) make sure students know too. Taking the time to do this pays dividends.

3. Have a planned system for recognition and consequences.

Put consequences in a hierarchy and make them easy to implement (otherwise you won’t) and make them as instant as possible. For recognition, put your emphasis on class-wide rewards (see #4).

4. Use class-wide rewards.

This is a biggy. It’s not fair to give Johnny a Mars Bar for not throwing chairs, so it’s much better to set up a system where everyone benefits when he makes the right choice. This way the class support the challenging child instead of resenting them. NB Arrange in private, announce in public. (More on this next time.)

5. Have a laugh, talk about yourself and act like you’re calmly and confidently in charge (even when you’re not).

You will always be more confident if you’ve got a plan- it’s as simple as sorting mail. You’re just delivering a system.

6. Take the time to get behaviour right.

Reception teachers don’t start teaching reading the moment the children walk through the door in September. They spend lots of time teaching routines but they get the time back in the long run; you will too.

7. Ring home with good news first.

This makes ringing home with bad news (when/if necessary) much easier. You’ll know the list of students this may apply to.

8. Don’t counsel children just after they’ve made a bad choice.

Some kids don’t mind whether your attention is positive or negative- they just want attention. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t talk to children about their choices – but just after they’ve made a bad one is not sensible.

9. Never shout (unless you are trying to catch the attention of someone who is quite far away).

If we shout,  then we’re suggesting that raising our voice is an appropriate method of trying to get what we want. It isn’t.

10. Don’t investigate unless it’s too serious to ignore.

Has anyone, in the whole history of children, ever really got to the bottom of an incident that they didn’t actually see? I suppose we’ll never know. If children tell tales, use this phrase: “Make sure you’re following instructions,” remind all children involved of a specific and relevant instruction and then monitor the situation. This saves hours of time and is much more effective.

Have I missed any out? What would be your number one? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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