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A Guide to Behaviour Management, by Darren

Here's the first of a three parter by Darren, an Australian teacher currently working in the UK through Protocol Education.

Behaviour Management - A Three Part Harmony (Part 1)

I'm not sure about you, but my experiences at university certainly didn't spend sufficient time on the topic of behaviour management... and yet I'm sure most will agree that feeling in control of the classroom environment is paramount to coming home from a days work and still feeling sane.

In my first few weeks of teaching I spent many spare moments at home cramming for those 'behaviour management exams' that every class gives you when you turn up. So here's a few tips that I've found help to keep classes from spiralling out of control:

Before You Even Start:

* Arrive early so you're not feeling stressed otherwise kids pick up on the rushed feel and they feed off that awkward energy. Even if it means for the first 15 mins, you're sitting down in the staffroom sipping a coffee with the care-taker, you'll be taken to your class as early as possible and have maximum time to make sense of the daily plan and make changes that will ensure that it fits your style of teaching.

* Whoever it is that shows you to your classroom is your first resource - ask them if there is a standard procedure for behaviour management. The really good schools have a consistent approach and if you show you're following it properly, the students will be used to it and not push the boundaries as much. Also, find out how the students enter the classroom throughout the day (do they line up, do they just come in, do you need to pick them up from the playground, and do you need to be outside at the end of the day to see them off to their parents?)

* Write up a daily plan on the board (with times) - This gives the students a sense of security and stops the need for them to constantly ask "do we have PE today, etc..." It can be beneficial to write in 'game?' at some stage too (15mins before lunch and/or 15mins before hometime) This can be an extra incentive for the whole class to work together to behave and if they're not, then drop the time back 1min at a time on the whiteboard. This saves you having to keep students in at lunchtime (which wastes precious organisation time for yourself) and/or the end of the day (which pisses off parents). The question mark shows that it is not guaranteed and that they have to deserve it.

* Have a great literacy-related game and a great mathematics-related game ready as incentives (I'll post some suggestions on these in another blog). This means that any 'game-time' is still useful and if any other teachers/TA's are in the class, they're less likely to be concerned about you wasting precious learning time with silly games.

* Have spares(This stops "I haven't got...." in its tracks and shows your number 1 priority is for students to work)- Bring: a large, cool-looking pencil case with coloured pencils, grey-lead pencils, sharpeners, rubbers, and a few rulers; and a wad of blank and lined paper (in an envelope file to keep them un-crinkled).

* Have some interesting extension work for maths and literacy (Nothing causes chaos more than bored students who have finished their work early). I often draw up a few 'magic squares' on the board for maths ( or a nine-letter-word puzzle ( for literacy that students can do on some scrap paper. If you have worksheets, make sure they're fun like discovering a code or something... very few students want more work after doing all their work (what sort of reward is that?). For younger years I have colour-by-numbers worksheets for maths and a blank word search template for literacy so that kids can create a topic-related puzzle for their friend ( maybe you have some other great suggestions? Please comment below!

~by Darren, an Australian teacher working in Cambridge through Protocol Education.

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Tags: Teach in England, Teach in the UK, Teach in London, Tips on Behaviour Management, UK Schools, Protocol Education

Category: Teach in the UK

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