The route to good Behaviour

To be honest, behaviour is not much of a problem as long as you plan good, engaging lessons. The reason for this is because if pupils are making progress they forget about behaving badly.

When kids do misbehave, you should plan your lesson around making sure their needs are met. For example, the work may be too easy, or sometimes even too hard. This means that it is likely that you haven’t differentiated for that individual.

The best way to deal with behaviour is to ignore it. If you ignore things, they go away. Behaviour issues are usually attention seeking, so if you ignore it, and praise good behaviour, kids learn to behave well as they get what they want – attention. Too often in schools teachers allow themselves to be distracted and to focus on negative behaviours.

If a student is misbehaving, find something positive. Anything positive. And then praise them for it. And then address the behaviour, and then praise them for something else. This will change their behaviour.

It’s not worth setting detentions. It’s basically setting a detention for yourself, because you have to stay as well. Keeping a kid behind for 2 minutes and talking to them about their behaviour is just as powerful.

Schools shouldn’t have behaviour policies. Their Teaching and Learning policy is their behaviour policy. If a school has great Teaching and Learning it will not have a behaviour problem. Focusing on behaviour is not focusing on the problem.

When there are behaviour problems, the kids see it as weakness if the teacher calls for backup, so in all but the most extreme of circumstances, kids should be dealt with by the teacher. In the unusual event that health and safety is threatened, the Head of Year or SMT should be involved, but the teacher must organise sanctions, contact parents (immediate is best, but sometimes you will have to wait until break or lunch or after school), and make sure the kid knows that they are in control.

Extravagant behaviour policies, like having an on-call system or a time out room, just encourages teachers to use this room. Removing a student from a lesson should be a very exceptional event, otherwise it appears you don’t care about them. Having SMT on call is worst of all – what a waste of money.

The most difficult kids can be dealt with by developing relationships with them. Kids don’t misbehave for teachers they care about, so encourage them to care.

Exclusions should be exceptional, because that means the school has failed. And exclusion means that kids have little chance of achieving, will be left behind in the next lesson, and hence if a kid is excluded they are more likely to misbehave. If you exclude a kid from school – and this applies to your lesson as well – you’ve shown you don’t care about them.

Most of all though, great behaviour is about great teaching and learning. Especially, try and pitch your lesson so it relates to their lives. Get that right and you’ll rarely have to worry.

This is all correct because it’s in the Steer reports on behaviour.

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