This informal CPD article, ‘Positive Behaviour Management’, was provided by Prospero Teaching, an Award-Winning education recruitment agency offering an exciting range of teaching jobs in the UK. They work with thousands of Nursery, Primary, Secondary, Academy, Special Needs and Further Education Schools & Colleges.
Some think of behaviour as something you have to deal with when it arises, however the best, most effective form of behaviour management is that which seeks to prevent issues from arising in the first place. As such, the key to effectively managing behaviour in the classroom is to have a strong understanding of what drives certain behaviours and how you can put systems of support in place so that you can help children to avoid them. An important part of this is to understand and accept that you cannot control a child’s behaviour, but you can help them to make better choices.
Behaviour should be thought of as a form of communication. This does not mean that we should seek to ignore behaviour incidents when they occur, or even excuse instances of behaviour that is disruptive, disrespectful, or dangerous. It does, however, mean that we will be able to better manage and support a child with their behaviour when we take the time to get to the root cause of the issue and help them by providing supportive strategies and techniques so that they can express themselves in a more productive way.
Some may argue that doing this takes too much time (something that is precious and in rare supply for teachers) or that there is no root cause to certain behaviours as they come from a place where that child just “wants” to act in that way. Much of the research into behaviour management, however, shows us that it can actually cost us more in time if we don’t try to find the cause and drivers behind a child’s behaviour: if we do not take the time to find the root cause, we leave ourselves in a position where we are only ever dealing with behaviour in the moment, never actually getting to a point where the student makes different choices or preventing the behaviour from occurring. Not only does this take up more of our time as teachers, but it will also have a detrimental impact on the student.
The more often a student receives sanctions and consequences for their behaviour, the more they come to expect them and the less meaningful they become. This can lead to missed learning opportunities for the child (and their peers if they are regularly disrupting learning) and even put them at risk of permanent exclusion.
In order for our sanctions to remain meaningful, we need to make sure they do not become familiar and expected and avoid taking a ‘zero tolerance approach’, lest they become a self-fulfilling prophecy for a child. Not only is there is little evidence that ‘zero tolerance’ strategies can be effective, a 10-year review of such policies, conducted in the United States, revealed that they actually exacerbated behaviour problems and feelings of disillusionment with education. (Nash and Schlösser, 2015).
As such, the environment created when this approach is taken can actually cause more stress for the adults and students alike. This is why it is so important to create a positive environment, whilst also putting clear and consistent boundaries in place where students can feel safe and supported in their learning.
The Importance of Positive Behaviour Management
By implementing positive behaviour management techniques and strategies, and taking the time to build strong relationships with our students, we are setting ourselves and our students up for success. We should seek to create a positive and nurturing learning environment, where our students feel comfortable to express themselves and to speak to you when they are struggling so that we can avoid them getting to the point where their feelings bubble over and they struggle with self-regulation and self-control.
Whilst taking a positive approach to behaviour management may take more time and effort in the first instance, you will find that it pays off in the long-run, with fewer instances of disruptive, disrespectful or aggressive behaviour from happening.
We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Prospero Group, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively, you can go to the CPD Industry Hubs for more articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.