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A Guide to Behaviour Management, Part 2, by Darren

Darren's latest blog follows on from A Guide To Behaviour Management. Darren is an Australian Teacher currently teaching in the UK through Protocol Education.

A Guide to Behaviour Management: Part 2

A Script for Starting the Day with a New Class (The most important bit!! Although this sounds like a lot, it should only take 5-10 mins and will set you up for a productive day... or at least morning):

* Say as little as possible to students before you start. You are the mystery guest.... use this to your advantage! Be polite and say good morning to individual students and maybe go up to individuals and tell them they need to settle down, but try to avoid addressing the whole class just yet, and avoid getting in to distracting conversations!! (if they ask you who you are, just say "I'm Mr/Ms..... and I'll let you know the rest when we're all inside")

* If they line up to come in, make sure they're relatively settled before they come in (walking up to individual students and quietly letting them know they need to settle down... at this stage, "I don't want to know about it at the moment" is fine for niggly complaints about other children). Tell students to quietly come in and sit down. If they are noisy, tell them to stand up and line up outside again. Go through the same procedure and you'll find they do pretty well. This may seem like wasted time, but it sets you up for the rest of the day with an expectation that students need to be settled whilst they're in class.

* Once students are inside, stand at the front of the class in complete silence in a confident position (maybe exaggarate looking at your watch and/or fold your arms), making eye contact with individual students. To the ones who are sitting quietly, give them a smile or thumbs up. To the ones who are still up and about and/or talking, you need to imagine you are a traffic cop: use hand signals and facial expressions to show them that you want them to be quiet and seated (use a stop signal if they're talking to you, a 'shhh' signal (finger on lips) if they're talking to a partner, and point to the chair you want them to sit in). Think of it as a game of charades and if you win this game, they'll think you have magical powers that make them want to behave for you for the morning. You'll find other students will help you in this game in a positive peer pressure way. You may have to go up to a student or two and whisper in their ear that they need to sit down and be quiet and refuse to get into any conversations (but make it so that no one else can really hear and it will keep that magical vibe of control in the air).

*Once all students are seated and AWKWARDLY quiet (not just quiet!), then address them quietly, clearly, and with as much personality and friendliness that you have (stopping at ANY hint of noise and using your non-verbal policeman cues)!

* You probably will then have to take the register (expecting only those whose name you call to answer). I call the name and then reply with Good morning *name*, this means that you say the name twice and it will help you remember them better. If you have a dinner register, then this means you will have said every child's name 3 times in the first 5 mins (a HUGE help with behaviour management).

* Introduce yourself (maybe tell them a little about what you like to do when you're not at school or where you're from), tell them why you're there (their teacher is poorly, but should be back soon or the teacher has some work they need to get done today). This will put them at ease knowing you're a real person and that they don't need to worry about the mystery of their missing teacher.

* Ask for one big favour: "When you put your hand up to talk and I point to you without saying your name, it probably means that I haven't quite learnt your name yet. I really like to call students by their name, so when you put your hand up to talk and I point to you without saying your name, please say your name first so that I can get to know you. It's a lot nicer when I can say your name rather than just pointing and saying 'hey you'".

If you're returning to this class, you may want to feign calculating how many students you have seen since last time you had them and then say "since last time I've taught..... hmmm... about 500 other students, so I might not quite remember your name and will still need the same favour as last time"

* Then ask them "hands up to tell me what can I expect in terms of behaviour from year 3's (or whatever they are)?" (if they say good behaviour, then ask them what that means or what it involves). Then as students give suggestions, reword their answers into just a few categories until you have the 'rules' that you want for the day. Mine are: Hands up (to talk), listening (to the teacher or whoever's turn it is to talk), be sensible, be kind. You may want to add your own (ie. Sometimes I add these if I think it necessary: Do your best work, stay in seats, and take responsibility for your own behaviour). Write these on the board if the class has no rules up - but keep it to 3 or 4 rules that are positively worded!

* Although you know the class' disciplinary procedure (because you asked when you arrived), then ask the class. "What can you expect if you are showing these positive behaviours that we've just talked about?" They'll be very keen to tell you about punishments, but remind them that "we're not talking about that yet,.. just the rewards for the moment" (this puts you in a good light, showing that you value positive behaviour and that you're not overly focused on 'containment'). They'll let you know about positive points, house points, class rewards, etc... and each time, acknowledge that you'll be looking out for students or groups who are *insert rules here* in order to give those rewards out. If they come up with something that's not correct, you will know already and be able to say "sorry, but that's only on Fridays"... or whatever and it will show the students you actually know how everything works here and that it's not worth trying to stretch the truth. You may want to add your own as well ie. stickers (here is a good time to mention the possibility of a game if students are doing the right thing and getting lots of work done).

* Again, even though you know the answers, ask "What consequences can you expect if you're not showing these wonderful behaviours?". After each correct answer, let them know that that is something that you will also be doing. DON'T say "I really don't want to have to do this, but if I have to..." as it is really saying to the students "I'm too scared to follow up with this stuff because I might look bad". Just be matter-of-fact about it.

End your spiel on a positive note saying something like. "Great, we all know how things are going to work today, so it should be a wonderful day where we all get along, get plenty of work done, and we might even have some fun".

The next time you visit this class:

* If it was a good day last time, remind them that "we had a great day last time, got lots of work done, and even managed to play a game". Shorten the above-mentioned process by just recapping your rules, and telling them that you are looking for students to give positive points to, etc and that unfortunately if they're not behaving *insert consequences here*. This is a reminder to them that things will be just like last time. However, if last time did dissolve in to minor chaos... then go through the longer process again which makes them think about what good behaviour involves - putting it at the front of their minds for at least the start of the day. This also is like a reset button for you to try and get that magical aura back that you lost last time! Then after lunch make sure the class are silently settled, tell them "hands up who can still remember what our rules are for the day?", have them answer and then say "great!... Everyone remembers so it should be a good afternoon", remind them you are looking out for students to reward for their behaviour and remind them of consequences of their behaviour (this also helps remind you if you haven't really been giving out much praise/rewards, or if you haven't really been following through completely on the consequences. You may also mention this to the students to assure them that the afternoon will be different.... they know already, so you may as well let them know you are aware of it).

~by Darren, an Australian teacher currently teaching in the UK through Protocol Education.

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Tags: Teach in the UK, Teach in England, Teach in London, Uk Schools, Protocol Education, Primary Teaching, Secondary Teaching, Special Needs Teaching

Category: Teach in the UK

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