Lets have a quick recap as to where we are with this.
Having set our expectations high for the work in the classroom and also implemented the sanctions that apply for work that is done incorrectly or to a poor standard – we are now going to extend this towards behaviour in the classroom.
Firstly we need to consider what is the school’s approach to behaviour management and what systems exist in school. As we find in so many cases there are a few options that cover what you might find.
- Your school is well organised – they have a whole school approach to behaviour management which is progressive and operates across the school. Parents are also aware of how this operates and when and where.
- Your school has a simple behaviour system that really doesn’t extend much beyond the policy. There is a “notional” hierarchy and progression but it really doesn’t operate in the classrooms to any degree.
- Your school has a written policy for behaviour (which it needs!) but beyond that there really is nothing. Your class behaviour management starts and ends at your own classroom door.
Looking at the 3 choices I am sure you will be able to identify your own school. If your school is 1 then great news – you can put your own spin on the behavioural system in your class in the knowledge that you have the support and guidance of senior members of staff to turn to if necessary.
However if you are in 2 or 3 then for all intents and purposes you are on your own here. School 2 will give you recourse to senior management if necessary but the day to day management is down to you with only “serious” incidents being referred.
School 3 is effectively failing in its duty to both staff and children. The senior management team is more than likely unable to cope with the behaviour problems in the school and the problems will just get worse. You need to be able to get a grip on your own class to provide stability and a sense of calm for both yourself and the class.
Putting things into practice – All these things take time and the ideal formula is to implement all these measures at the beginning of the school year (expectations for work and behaviour). Your new class is introduced to the ways that you do things in your class and made aware of what you expect and also the consequences of not meeting these expectations.
Once these have been laid out then it is up to you to hold to these expectations and sanctions – day in and day out they never change. The children will very quickly get used to what is expected and act accordingly. If you do not keep to this system then the children will receive mixed messages about what is ok and what is not and it will cause confusion and resulting poor behaviour and work.
After a while you will notice that fewer children are having to repeat or complete work in playtimes or lunchtimes and that the behaviour of the class is markedly better.
You will need these things:-
- Your classroom should have the class rules on the wall – make sure that you have a detailed discussion about these and what they mean
- You will need to have a small whiteboard or blank display paper at the front of your class that you can write children’s names on. (By being at the front and in full view it emphasises what you are doing and leaves it to be seen)
This is the sort of thing…or any variation on this. Here they have a large whiteboard and partitioned it off to give the side area. But as most classes now have lost the whiteboard in favour of Screens you will have to get creative!
The following stages and steps are for guidance only but please look at how the system works and adapt as you think necessary. Your system needs to be outlined to the children so that they are aware that
- There is a system in place for expected behaviour in class and around the school
- The steps that are involved in your system and how they follow on from each other
- What the consequences are to the child with regard to each step.
Steps and consequences – these can be implemented without even informing the child – this avoids lesson disruption and you as the teacher constantly having to stop and speak to children. When the children recognise that this system in place it has its own effect.
Steps and consequences
- Childs name is written on the board – no consequence warning only
- Child has tick put next to name – 5 minutes break time or lunchtime missed to discuss with teacher. (if this happens in an afternoon then the 5 minutes are carried over to the next day.)
- Child has 2nd tick put next to name – 10 minutes break time or lunchtime missed to discuss
- Child has 3rd tick put next to name – sanctions can vary here. a) Could move onto losing 5 minutes golden time if school has this. b) could be agreed letter home informing parent of “poor days behaviour”…needs signing and returning. c) possibly sent to see senior member of staff. As a last option go for 15 minutes from playtime or lunchtime (just make sure they get a toilet break before lessons start again!)
- Each day starts new with the exception of lost golden time (if it is used in your school.) However do be aware that some children may “owe” you time from the previous afternoon. So what do I mean by this? Well for the majority of KS2 classes there will not be an afternoon playtime. This can cause a slight problem for your system of sanctions as for any morning incidents then they can be reflected in playtime or lunchtime “reactions” but for anything occurring in the afternoon then there is no such option. So what you need to do here is carry them forward. In other words the child’s name remains on the board overnight as does the tick or ticks and the sanction is then applied / served the next day at playtime. This not only reinforces the fact that it does not disappear nor does it give the impression to some children that misbehaving in the afternoons has no reaction at all!
This system needs to be applied right from the start and consistently in line with your behaviour expectations. Initially you will have quite a few children with names on the board and missing time. However as you keep applying this you will notice that the numbers get less and less as they see that this is the consistent system in place.
- You do not need to keep stopping your lesson to tell children off – you can use the system at all times and the children will know what the resultant consequences are.
- The children understand that it is their own actions and choices that produce these results and gradually modify their behaviour
- The consequences are immediate – reinforcing the link between action and consequence (except for next day carry forward however the time lag is not too great)
So there’s a simple system for you to use if you find yourself struggling a bit with behaviour. Remember you have to create an atmosphere in your classroom which has high expectations and to be quite honest you have to drag the children up to meet those expectations.
You will find that initially you are spending quite a few playtimes and part of your lunchtime with children in your classroom – but this will gradually decline as the message gets through.
I always find that your class will settle in the first 1/2 term of the year (for more difficult classes it may take almost the whole first term) but after that you will have 2 great terms to enjoy and thrive. The alternative is to struggle along all year with a constant battle on all fronts and that’s not really what I would want to be doing.
So stick with everything you set out in the work that they do and the behaviour you expect and you will find that gradually you will achieve the goals that you set.
When I was a pupil at school the teacher told my parents that he “never smiled before Christmas” – he wasn’t too far off the mark in setting out what he expected, and you know…..” I can still remember him as a great teacher !”