The behaviour question

29th November 2013 at 00:00

Isn't behaviour management ultimately the result of a teacher's personality? If so, no amount of reading blogs or following tips and advice can really make a difference. I've never found following advice to be much help. In fact, it often seems to make things worse. So are teachers who are not naturally gifted with behaviour management skills destined never to be much good at it?

What you said


Behaviour management can be learned in the same way that any skill can. It is dependent on adopting a range of strategies that can be passed on from one teacher to another. To say that it is the personality of the teacher implies that there is some sort of inborn gift of behaviour management. This is not true.


I think some people find it easier to master the skill than others do, but it can be taught. Otherwise, all teachers would be exactly as good at behaviour management as they were when they were newly qualified. A lot of it is about self-belief and being prepared never to give up, to accept knock-backs and to try new strategies.


Behaviour management can definitely be taught, and it tends to get easier if you stay at one school for several years: students usually have a, perhaps subconscious, respect for veterans.

The expert view

No, it is not just personality. It is about what you do with the students. It is about how you act. Actions may flow from character, but character by itself has no impact on anyone else until you do something. You can alter your habits and actions, but your character is much harder to amend. So if you are naturally too kind, you can try to rein it in. If you are angry, you can pretend to be calm. And that is what affects the students. Behaviour management can be learned. Character is part of that equation, but not the only determining factor.

Tom Bennett is author of The Behaviour Guru. Read more from Tom on his TES Connect blog (bit.lytombennett) or follow him on Twitter at @tesBehaviour. Watch his behaviour videos at www.tesconnect.combehaviourvideos

Post your questions at www.tesconnect.combehaviour.

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