Behaviour Management in Primary Schools

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 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.


2 thoughts on “Behaviour Management in Primary Schools

  1. I like Andy thought this lecture on behaviour management was very interesting and it made me reflect about the techniques I have seen used in the classroom. I too have seen names on the board for miss behaviour along with children being called out and told off in front of the class. When I first did my work experience in a school I thought these were good ways to challenge pupils negative behaviours and also send a message to the rest of the class. However, after the lecture I have changed my mind completely and these are not good ways of behaviour management. The lecture instead focused on positive ways to tackle behaviour in the classrooms, for example putting names on the board of children who are listening, engaging with the lesson and those who are on task. That way children who are engaging with the lesson are praised and you show the class how the rest of them should be behaving. Also if you praise the children who are listening and on task, you keep the lesson focused on them instead of stopping the lesson to focus on bad behaviour and limit your time spent on those who are willing to learn.

    The lecture also focused on why children misbehave in a lesson, that there is always a reason for continuous negative behaviour. We were advised to instead of call these children out in front of the class to speak to them after the class has gone to their tables or to do an activity and to speak to the child as to why they are not working. However, this has to be done in a way where you do not get into an argument or an altercation with the child, but to ask them questions that will make them think about their behaviour rather than to become defensive. It is important to remind children about the good things they have done in the past and that you as a teacher expect them to behave like that all the time. This way the child remembers a time when they felt good participating in the lesson and how they can participate again in this lesson.

    Like Andy, another part of the lecture that stuck with me was not to act on the moment when both the teacher and pupil may be frustrated but to speak to the child or children when you have both calmed down. An angry teacher is a teacher who has lost control and this is not good example to set the children in your class. As teachers we are role models to the children on our class and if we want our children to behave in a certain way the teacher should act in a certain way, If we want positive and good behaviour in our class, the teacher should display positive and good behaviour to show children how they too should behave in the classroom.

    All of these behaviour management skills however, can only be enforced when we have developed good relationships with the children in our class. If we walk into a classroom for the first time and the children are being disruptive then these methods may not work so well than if we had developed relationships with the children. Therefore, the key behavioural management skill is to spend time developing positive relationships with the children before using any of the other management skills mentioned and this will take time and perseverance from the teacher and also the other staff in the school. Other staff in the school also need to display the same positive behaviours and stick to the same behaviour policies in the school because as Andy rightly pointed out, consistency is the key across the school for a god behaviour management policy.


  2. I agree to an extent with both Helen and Andy on positive reinforcement of behaviour. ­­It has been proven that children respond to positive reinforcement and that is something that surely every teacher wants; not only to be able to praise children, but also for them to behave. The idea of dealing with poor behaviour in private is also something I would agree with, however, the notion that not putting names on the board remains an ideal for me, as I have no experience of doing it otherwise, and the school I am on placement at has a behaviour policy where names are placed on where their current behaviour is reckoned to be eg. Star for outstanding, green for good, red for poor, and from observing this behaviour policy, it seems to work, or at least with the majority of children. I personally like the idea that poor behaviour is dealt with in private and not made a show of. However, the “traffic light” system is very effective in dealing with minor behaviour problems, such as persistent talking despite warnings from the teacher, shouting out in class, or, in what seems to be common in my classroom, children knocking each other’s belongings off of the table. Being consistent with the behaviour policy of the school allows the pupils to understand what they can and can’t do, knowing if they decide to act poorly they will be punished in accordance with the schools behaviour policy, every time, as every pupil has done before them.
    Having been placed in a school that has behaviour issues, my class being particularly notorious for it, it’s been a touch of fly or die in my case. The tactic I have employed, which has had notable effect with some of the trickiest children, is to take time in building relationships that are based on a mutual respect of one another. Of course there are still a handful of children that I have yet to get through to, however, on the whole, the relationships I have built in a short period of time have allowed me to succeed in behaviour management by being able to talk to them in a mature manner, and I have yet to raise my voice at a child, and I shall endeavour to ensure this continues.
    I therefore agree with both Andy and Helen’s blog posts, but believe that, although following the behaviour policy will curb behaviour issues, it may only be fire fighting, in that there is no improvement, whereas building relationships allows for long term change in behaviour.

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