Behaviour Management is one of the greatest challenges facing teachers. And it is not only new teachers who can feel overwhelmed by classroom demands. Because of the ever-evolving nature of teaching, the growing diversity of students and increasing societal pressures, teachers are constantly learning different ways to manage stress, workload and expectations.
Teachers who adopt a positive approach to behaviour are more likely to have improved wellbeing through increased job satisfaction since they are not looking for a quick fix, but recognise that like all learning, we need long term solutions that take the needs of the student into account.
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. Here are 5 simple yet highly powerful ways to create positive behaviour change with your students.
When you are giving instructions, think about the words and tone you use. There is often a more positive way to say most things which will provide a better learning opportunity for your students.
Student and teacher wellbeing are closely linked, and both impact student achievement and outcomes. Adopting some simple practices in the classroom can improve the quality of life for both your students and yourself.
Focus on teaching the skill of listening (yes those acronyms do help). Break the skill into identifiable components for students and then practise, role play, make posters and dramatise scenarios. Use positive reinforcement to help with this and/or reward students for using the skill appropriately.
The beginning of the school year is undoubtedly exciting, but it can also be an overwhelming time for new teachers, or even for experienced teachers and if you are changing schools, teaching a new grade level or a new subject area or going back to teaching after a break, this time can be even more stressful. There are three things that will make a huge difference to your classroom, your sanity and your students’ success and they are not about curriculum, they are about behaviour.
How positive reinforcement can help students behave You can improve student behaviour 80% of the time if you use positive rather than negative feedback. Don’t believe me?
Discipline must come through liberty. . . . We do not consider an individual disciplined only when he has been rendered as artificially silent as a mute and as immovable as a paralytic. He is an individual annihilated, not disciplined.
Many schools have a hierarchy of consequences that increase the level of punishment as the behaviour escalates. While that approach works with 75-80% of the population, a student with behaviour issues will not respond to increasingly negative penalties.
Here is an outstanding list of Behaviour Management Resources for Teachers.
Engagement is characterised by appropriate behaviour (behavioural engagement), positive feelings (emotional engagement), and, above all, student thinking (cognitive engagement).
The end of the year is fast approaching and if you are like any other teacher ever, you will be checking up on how much content you have taught this year, how much you didn’t get done and frantically trying to assess students for their learning so that you can write an accurate report for the end of the year.
When I first started teaching (many years ago!) I was struck by the cookie cutter approach of the education system, that seemed to knock any individualism, originality and enthusiasm right out of young students. Any student who didn’t fit in was poked and prodded (figuratively) till they were made to fit.
ONE: Use their interests to make the learning relevant, meaningful and engaging. TWO: Give them choice in their learning indicating that you value their input and perspective. THREE: Give them opportunities to voice their concerns and their point of view about issues in the classroom and the school.
While we cannot eliminate all change from a student’s school day, we can put some strategies in place that help students to cope and hopefully prevent difficult behaviour or meltdowns that may result from their anxiety.
Student voice and choice. Creating a classroom environment where students and teacher really listen to one another in an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding may be considered idealistic. But what are teachers if not idealists? If students feel accepted and free to express themselves they are more likely to take risks with their learning. They will feel ok to say, “I don’t understand” or “I don’t get it” and to ask for help. To develop a non-threatening classroom climate takes time, effort and effective, consistent practices.
Have you ever had a student who displayed challenging behaviour that baffled you? None of your usual behaviour tricks and tools seem to work. The student responds positively to you one day, but the next won’t do anything for you. Or they love your reward system for a couple of days and then refuse to participate in it.
Some teachers will say that it is not their job to teach students how to behave, or how to regulate their emotions, or how to make friends or what to do when they feel angry. However, if you don’t teach them these important social skills at school, how will they learn?
The classroom environment can contribute to problems between students as well as reduce student engagement and learning. When teachers and schools give careful thought to how the environment is arranged, authentic learning is enhanced and incidental behaviour issues can be prevented.