How Do You Manage Student Behaviour In Your Class?
Student behaviour is one of the biggest challenges facing teachers and, let’s face it, if behaviour is not managed well, productive teaching and learning does not occur. It is strongly linked to engagement in learning as well as academic and social achievement and highly effective teachers address behaviour issues thoughtfully.
One of the main reasons for unproductive student behaviour, can be lack of planning by the teacher.
Planning does not just mean preparing your lesson content, but giving thought to how you want your students to behave before, during and after the lesson.
The most common times for students to be off-task or disruptive are:
- During transition times
- When given inappropriate work tasks ie too easy, too hard, boring, irrelevant,
- When they are expected to sit and listen for long periods of time,
- When they have to wait for the teacher to get organised,
- When there is a social issue they need help with.
When student behaviour is not managed effectively, all learning is compromised.
5 Simple Ways to Manage Student Behaviour
1. Set up behaviour expectations
As part of your ‘getting to know you’ routine at the beginning of the year, discuss the need for a code of conduct in your classroom.
Give students the opportunity to talk about why it is important to have a class agreement about appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.
Letting students voice their opinions helps in getting them to take ownership and makes it more likely that they will cooperate.
2. Organise routines for transition times
Because transition times can be tricky, having a clear process to follow can help students feel secure and confident. Provide a routine for how to submit work, how to access resources and equipment, how to clean up, how to enter the room, how to leave the room and how to ask for help.
3. Take the time to explicitly teach and practice student behaviour and routines
This is where many teachers fail to follow through, especially in high school. Some teachers think that if they tell students how to behave then they will do it. Teaching is not telling!
Make the lessons interesting by using a variety of resources, giving the students a voice (they could debate the merits of a particular expectation) and use cooperative learning strategies to improve social skills.
4. Know what you are going to do
Accept that kids will not be perfectly behaved all the time and decide the action you will take when they display certain behaviours. For example, if a student is out of their seat, you may give a non-verbal reminder by nodding toward their desk or pointing to the written expectation for them to be seated.
Low level student behaviour must be dealt with in a way that does not further disrupt student learning. When teachers have a plan for what they will do they feel more confident to deal with off-task student behaviour.
5. Positively reinforce students who are on-task
Because of a natural negative bias, our attention is grabbed by a couple of students who are misbehaving, while the majority of well-behaved students go unnoticed.
Giving positive feedback to the students who are working well, will encourage more of the same from them and the students who may not be cooperating.
While it may seem time-consuming to focus on student behaviour when you have so much content to cover, highly effective teachers know that setting up and teaching classroom expectations saves them time in the long run.
Teaching and learning become more effective, enjoyable and successful!