Managing the behaviour in your classroom can often take up much of your time. Here are some top tips to improve your behaviour management skills to maximise learning in your lessons.
1) Consistency – You must be fair and consistent in your approach. Your class need to understand that you will respond in the same manner each time there is an incident to be dealt with. Sometimes it is easier to just let certain behaviours ‘slide’ and not acknowledge them, but this is a sure fire way to create uncertainty and negative response from your class.
2) Bring the class back together – Using a “countdown” helps children understand the timeframe for their actions. If you need the class’ attention, start counting down from 5, and if necessary add more information to your countdown. 5 – I’d like your attention please, 4 –, finish of the sentence/calculation… you are working on 3 – Can you put your pens and pencils down, 2 – Right everyone looking this way and finally 1 – Ok let’s begin. This allows children to finish off their conversations, add in that last few words and get ready for listening. Managing the whole class this way, encourages the children to take responsibility for their actions, and gets them ready to learn.
3) Responsibilities – The children in the class need to take responsibility for their own space. Allowing tasks to be completed by the children gives them an element of responsibility – so they feel ownership and “grown up”. Whether this is closing the blinds, feeding the class pet, washing up and tidying the art materials. The class works as a whole and responds to this level of responsibility.
4) Effective lesson planning – A well-planned and organised lesson, will leave less openings for poor behaviour. If the children are engaged, interested and motivated, behaviour just grows from this. Always ensure you know what you are teaching, have planned carefully and are aware of your expectations. The children will respond.
5) Signals – It is surprising how well the “Look” works within the classroom. This strategy involves the teacher using a certain look to convey to the misbehaving student that what he/she is doing is inappropriate. When using the look you can often pause what you are saying, this gains the attention of all children in the class when you stop speaking mid-sentence. Touch is also another positive response, moving around the classroom and touching the shoulder of a child, will often bring them back on task; sitting behind your desk is likely to lead to disruptive activities.
Not one strategy will work with every class; always have multiple approaches in your repertoire.