Behaviour Management Strategies in the Classroom - Creating a Positive Learning Environment

Behaviour Management Strategies in the Classroom - Creating a Positive Learning Environment

As teachers and educators, one of the most important tasks is fostering a positive and conducive learning environment within classrooms. To achieve this, an educator needs to have effective behaviour management strategies. When pupils feel safe, respected, and engaged, they are more likely to thrive academically and gain positive social skills that they will carry into their personal lives. Read on to explore practical classroom management strategies and best practices for teachers and education staff to promote positive behaviour, creating a supportive atmosphere for learning.

Understanding behaviour management strategies in schools

Behaviour management in schools is not about controlling pupils, but rather guiding them towards appropriate and positive behaviour. Through positive reinforcement and clear boundaries, building relationships and teaching pupils the skills they need to regulate their own behaviour, you can effectively manage the behaviour in the classroom you teach.

Classroom management strategy: Establish clear expectations

The foundation of good classroom management lies in establishing clear and consistent expectations from the outset. To utilise this classroom management strategy, begin the school year, term or even week by discussing classroom rules and expectations with your pupils. Involve them in the process by encouraging them to contribute to the creation of these guidelines. When pupils are involved in setting the rules, they are more likely to take ownership of them (and follow them!)

Ensure that your expectations are realistic and achievable. Be specific about what behaviours are acceptable and what consequences will follow if these expectations are not met. Consistency is key here, so be sure to apply the rules fairly and consistently to all pupils.

Build positive relationships

Positive relationships between teachers and pupils form the cornerstone of effective behaviour management strategies in schools. Take the time to get to know your pupils individually and show genuine interest in their lives, hobbies, and aspirations. When pupils feel valued and respected by those in their care, they are more likely to behave positively. To find out more about this classroom management strategy, check out our CPD service My-Progression’s video on building student-teacher rapport.

Utilising proactive strategies

Prevention is often better than cure when it comes to behaviour management strategies. Proactive strategies can help prevent disruptive behaviour before it occurs.

Step one: Establish a well-organised classroom layout that minimises distractions and promotes focus. Review your seating plan, who sits next to whom? Are two best friends sitting next to each other who can get wrapped up in a conversation? Is there a window overlooking a street or car park that may distract some pupils? Review your seating plan routinely as what was working in September may not be working now.

Step two: Plan engaging and interactive lessons that cater to different learning styles and abilities. When pupils actively engage in their learning, they are less likely to exhibit disruptive behaviour. Consider differentiation and fostering an inclusive classroom to ensure every child feels considered.

Step three: Establish consistent routines within the lesson which will allow pupils to feel more comfortable and at ease. Robert Gagnés Conditions of Learning are a tried and tested method for lesson structure that allows time for recall, learning guidance and feedback, keeping learners engaged and therefore less likely to disrupt with negative behaviour.

Classroom management tools for behaviour management

In addition to classroom management strategies and relationship-building, educators can utilise various classroom management tools to support behaviour management. Digital tools such as ClassDojo and GoGuardian Teacher offer features like behaviour tracking, real-time feedback, and communication with parents, acting as a platform to evidence behaviour and track progress.

Visual aids such as behaviour charts, stickers and reward tokens provide pupils with a tangible representation of their progress, motivating them to behave positively. Other classroom management tools include using timers for tasks to help pupils stay focused and creating a class goal everyone has to aim for, such as five days of no disruptions leading to 25 minutes of play time on Friday afternoon. Having a goal as a team holds the class accountable and they will feel a real sense of achievement when they are all successful together.

Responding to challenging behaviour

Even with the best-prepared classroom environment, you may encounter challenging behaviour from time to time. It's important to respond to such behaviour calmly and constructively. You can do this by:

Positive Language: Use positive language when addressing challenging behaviour as it will instil the idea of the ‘right’ way to behave. By saying "stop shouting”, you plant the idea of shouting in the child’s mind, try "it’s time to listen” instead. Another example of a behaviour management strategy is swapping “no running in the corridor” to “we walk in the corridor”, instilling the positive action.

De-escalation techniques: Learn de-escalation techniques to calm potentially volatile situations. This might include taking a deep breath, using a calm tone of voice, or providing the pupils with a moment to collect themselves.

Restorative approaches: Encourage students to take responsibility for their actions and repair any harm caused by negative behaviour. You should also use this time to restore your relationship with the pupil by fostering empathy.

Embrace CPD (Continuous Professional Development)

Behaviour management in schools is a skill that will grow and develop as you do. To hone your craft, take advantage of professional development opportunities to enhance your understanding of behaviour management strategies. Attend workshops, watch bite-sized CPD video content and collaborate with colleagues to share best practices. Reflect on your experiences and be open to trying new approaches.

To recap

Behaviour management is a vital aspect of creating a positive learning environment in the classroom and can be achieved through several behaviour management management strategies. By establishing clear expectations, building positive relationships, rewarding positive behaviour and responding effectively to challenging behaviour, teachers and educators can promote a culture of respect and collaboration. Remember, every classroom is unique, so be adaptable and responsive in your approach to behaviour management and continue to upskill by taking part in CPD activities that will in turn benefit your career.

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