Having recently had a lecture focusing on ‘Behaving / Behaviour Management’ within primary schools, it exposed me to a variety of good and bad ways that behaviour can be managed within the classroom. This area is of particular interest to me as whilst I was gaining my initial pre-course classroom experience I found it difficult to assert my authority, because I had little experience of handling certain situations when they arose. I have also found it challenging during the first few days of my school based training, however, the lecture has brought to light ways in which I can bridge the gaps and to develop them further as I progress.
The aspects of the lecture that really stuck with me are not to ‘react on your own emotions.’ I must admit that this notion at times is easier said than done, but on reflection it is important to remember that you are the adult figure in the classroom. Another effective way to approach behaviour management is to make sure that for every sanction/confrontation you face, you deliver your message calmly. Your ability to do this will help promote consistency within the classroom, which is a vital component when addressing behaviour on all levels.
A very simple, but altogether effective aspect of controlling behaviour is for the teachers to welcome their children into the school/classroom in the morning, at lunchtimes and to be visible in the playground as the children leave for the day. I was surprised that such a simple act could in fact be so significant towards children’s behaviour and it prompted me to research this and I found through an online article by John E. Mayer, ‘Creating a Safe and Welcoming School’ that “If a school is not inviting, students will feel anxious and will not fully participate in their education, no matter how vigorous a school is in trying to reach them.” (John E. Mayer 2007.pg 6) The article goes on to mention that the consequences of a non-inviting school can result in vandalism to the school, negative behaviour towards the teachers and also conflict between other students.
I also discovered another online article by Charlie Taylor, ‘Getting the Simple things right: Behaviour Checklist (2011). The article immediately addresses a selection of schools that have a high proportion of deprived pupils, but were actually in some of the outstanding performing schools regarding behaviour. This came as a particular shock to me initially, as I would personally think the complete opposite and has since encouraged me to not pass judgement based on what might seem obvious at a first glance. The reasons for why these schools had outstanding behaviour was shared by the head teachers of the schools and showed that they all had a common connection. ‘Many of them emphasised the simplicity of their approach, but they agreed that most important of all is consistency.’ (Charlie Taylor, 2011. pg.2) To further support points made earlier, “Where there is inconsistency in schools, children are more likely to push the boundaries.” (Charlie Taylor, 2011. pg.2)
Charlie Taylor took the idea of developing a checklist with the aim to help schools improve behaviour. The concept was for schools to identify priority areas in behaviour they felt needed improving and to then pick five to ten essential actions from the list to promote good behaviour. This would result in the school staff having a bespoke checklist for behaviour and “It serves as a reminder of what needs to be done and ensures consistency across the school.” (Charlie Taylor, 2011. pg.2).
I to have witnessed the way some teachers control behaviour within their classrooms. I have observed children’s names being written on the white board when they have miss-behaved or been disruptive. I’ve seen teachers use empty large jars with marked lines on them, whereby the class’s behaviour as a whole is measured and at the end of each day if the behaviour standards have been met, a child is chosen by the teacher to fill the jar with pasta shells to a specific mark on the jar. The idea is to fill the jar with pasta to the top mark by Friday so that the whole class can enjoy Golden playtime. This encourages teamwork and is a constant visual reminder for all children to see the behaviour of the class. The jar is then emptied and the process is repeated the following week.
In conclusion, I think that it is vital that all teachers know the behaviour management policies within their schools. Making sure they abide by the schools policy, along with all teaching staff so there is a consistency throughout the school. Teachers must start by doing the simple things right and building upon these as well as making clear relations/connections with the pupils and parents. This will help children develop self-discipline, trust and respect, making them feel safe within the school and participate in their education.
John E. Mayer (2007), Creating a Safe and Welcoming School, Educational Practices Series 16, pg 6-8. Viewed 30th September 2014.
Charlie Taylor (2011), Getting the simple things right: Charlie Taylor’s behaviour checklist, pg 2-3. Viewed 30th September 2014.