An NQT’s behaviour management guide to controlling your class
Good behaviour management within the classroom is, and continues to be, one of the biggest focal areas in the teaching world. Pupils with challenging behaviour can cause something of a ripple effect, not only impacting their own development but also that of other pupils in the classroom. Having your own strategies in place is therefore crucial in overcoming potential barriers and pitfalls.
Of course there are no hard and fast rules and as a trainee teacher it is incredibly useful to try different methods and ideas; in turn developing your own practises. Having read up on various behaviour management strategies, techniques and positive experiences of other professionals, I have compiled a list of methods that I have found to be highly effective in reducing behaviour issues, these are:
Be firm yet fair and establish routines
Consistency is key when setting boundaries for pupils. It’s important to make pupils aware not only of potential consequences for poor behaviour but to also enforce a sense of responsibility. To make sure it becomes an embedded routine I constantly promote these high expectations so that even on a bad day, pupils are aware of the standard that they are expected to assume.
Put systems in place
I have found that using a countdown to get the class’ attention works very well but I notice a positive change in atmosphere when I implement praise and rewards rather than sanctions- motivating good behaviour creates a positive culture within the classroom.
It is important to keep communicating with form tutors, heads of years and parents to promote positive behaviour for learning as they too want the best for your pupils. I also find it helpful to communicate any concerns with pupils themselves- you may be surprised of the result of a simple conversation with the pupil.
Plan quality lessons
I have noticed that students can exploit ‘windows of opportunity’ in tasks by displaying poor behaviour. If you’re in the midst of a busy part of term it may not always be possible to plan lessons to the standard that you would want- but the better the planning, the better the class runs. As a result of effective planning, pupils are more engaged and therefore less likely to misbehave.
Don’t be afraid to improvise
Sometimes it is necessary to steer away from the original plan, in order to engage pupils. In many instances, I have had to stop the class to introduce a 5-minute Maths game, for example. This breaks the lesson up and re-engages pupils, so they are ready to continue learning.
It can be a challenge to remain on task and engaged after an entire day of lessons, so it is important to find a method and style that suits you. Different methods work for different teachers, different pupils and different classes.
But my final piece of advice is to be confident at all times!