After 10 years of teaching, only one things is for certain when it comes to behaviour management…There is no one strategy that one works for everyone!
In my career, I have used a multitude of techniques to deal with negative behaviours: shouting, discussion, losing time at lunch, losing golden time, classroom removal, break time detentions, planned ignoring, the list goes on.
The only thing I can confirm is no one thing I have done suits every child. Whole school behaviour policies do work for most children, but they must be flexible for the small percentage that struggle.
Obviously I am not talking about some brief shouting out in lessons or strutting about the class for a chat while the teacher is talking.
The behaviour management techniques I apply to these situations follow a great deal of clapping, ‘teacher staring’ and general reminders of our class rules. But when a child displays a much more negative behaviour (lashing out, hurting another, swearing, etc.) you need to ask yourself a few mental questions…
1. Is this a battle? or is the behaviour due to something else?
Not all behaviours need to be dealt with. Take into account the child, their background and home life.
What happened this morning? Are they tired? Are they hungry? Do they just want attention? Will a mild positive distraction work better than being told off? To some children, any interaction is better than no interaction at all.
2. Has the behaviour been instigated by another child?
The behaviour of the pupil could be a result of retaliation to another student. Ask the pupil with the negative behaviour a few questions before administering any consequences. If a disagreement has taken place, you could encourage a discussion between the two students to help resolve any issues and prevent repeat behaviour.
3. Does the child have additional needs and is this behaviour due to one of these needs not being met?
4. Am I the right person to deal with this?
Sometimes a little word with a different adult has more impact, than say, a major consequence from your own class teacher. Additionally, if the behaviour becomes more drastic and completely unacceptable you should you be sending the pupil to a senior leader, who may be able to administer more severe consequences than yourself.
5. How do you resolve this behaviour without destroying their self esteem?
Labelling can have a huge impact upon a student, instead of telling them they are “bad, “naughty”, explain that the behaviour they are displaying is “naughty” and that these negative acts are undesirable and hurtful to you and the other students in your class.
Yes we need to deter the negative behaviours in our classrooms, but ultimately, we are in a role where our main purpose is to create tiny, functioning humans. Treating negative behaviour with negative behaviour continuously, is never going to create a positive environment for the children to enjoy and develop in.
Written by one of our guest teachers, “Gracie Lou”who enjoys creative classroom displays, teaching IT and comfy shoes.