Friday, 31 August 2018

13 Effective Behaviour Management Strategies

Throughout my years of teaching I have learnt many effective behaviour management strategies. Having worked in a range of schools, including some incredibly challenging settings, I have now got a good grip on behaviour management. Behaviour management is tough though, but oh so essential to have an effective classroom. Today, I'm sharing some of the most effective behaviour management strategies that will have a huge impact in your classroom.

Clear Expectations - This is an obvious one, but have clear rules and expectations that are understood by all is essential to ensure students know what constitutes unacceptable behaviour. The consequences for bad choices should also be clear.

Positive Relationships - Children want to make you happy. By building positive relationships with all students, they are much more likely to make better choices. Often, you learn to read a child and can anticipate negative behaviour and intervene before it happens.

Consistency - Consistency can be exhausting but it's one of the most important factors in managing behaviour. You need to address 'bad choices' EVERY SINGLE TIME! The moment you let one pass by, you begin to pass over that power. For example, if you want a child to walk in the classroom, you need to make them go back and walk every time they run, until eventually they do this automatically. It's exhausting, but so worthwhile in the long run.

Fairness - Children will never trust you if they feel that you don't like them or you are not treating them fairly. Always treat each and every child with fairness and equality.

Reward Positivity - Reward children for making good choices and strategically ignore the negative behaviour (sometimes) Children love to be praised and recognised and as children see others being rewarded for good choices, they are more likely to behave appropriately too. It's important to 'spot them being good' when this happens.

Understanding - Children all have different needs and what works for one child, may not for another. You need to be the kind of teacher who listens, knows their students well and adapts to meet their needs. Sometimes a whole class system doesn't work for individuals and they may require their own incentive. Give them this, it is your job to meet all of the students needs.

Use of Voice - Voice is so incredibly important. Children detect so much from your voice and I highly recommend you prioritise developing your use of voice as is it one of the most effective behaviour management strategies. If you use a quiet voice, children will often get quieter too, if you use a sad voice, the children will understand how they've made you feel. A good use of voice is one of your best teacher tools.

The Teacher Look - All teachers know about the magic 'teacher look' that comes with a huge amount of power. The look is the best way to put a stop to negative behaviour without interrupting your lesson or drawing attention to the behaviours. Get working on that look if you haven't already mastered it, it will serve you well!

Choices - It's nice to have choices and where possible we should give children choices, but there are times when they don't have a choice and they need to complete a request. The phrasing of the request is important in these situations. If the child has no choice, make sure you tell them what to do, rather than ask them. Asking implies that they can say no, when in actual fact, they can't. That said, politeness is always well received. Equally, if you are having a hard time getting a student to do something you have asked, you could provide them with 2 choices, one being the thing you want them to do and the other something they definitely don't want to do. They almost always choose to do the task requested.

Countdown - Counting down from 5 or 10 is. extremely effectively in getting children to do what they need to do. I'm not sure what they think happens when you get to 1, but most children never want to find out.

Visuals - Providing visuals for behaviour management is such a great aid for children. There are so many options out there, but I recommend keeping it simple. I use a simple traffic light system which is really effective. I always make children move their own name on the traffic lights as this has much more impact than me doing it for them. Class Dojo is another great visual resource.

Follow-Through - Always follow through with the things you say. This stands for positive things as well as consequences. If you say you will inform parents, you then need to do it. If you say you will give a child a sticker, make sure you remember to do so. Never threaten things that you aren't prepared to carry out. The moment you don't follow-through with something you say, your children lose trust in you and you lose your power of behaviour management. Consequences for negative behaviour should be immediate where possible, particularly for younger children.

Come-Back - Children need to know that one bad choice does not mean they are a write-off. Sure, they need to receive a consequence for a bad choice, however, once they have received their consequence they need to know that they can come back from it, otherwise what is the point of trying? Once my children have had their consequence they move their name back to the green traffic light so they get to start over and make better choices.

Parents - It's essential to have parents on board when managing consistent bad choices. I always try to manage situations at school first, particularly at the start of the year as children settle into new routines. However, for consistent bad choices, it's important that parents are well informed and there is a consistent approach to behaviour management at home and school. Parents can sometimes feel threatened when you approach them with bad news about their child so it's important to plan your approach, be understanding and recognise the positives as much as possible.

Are there any effective behaviour management strategies that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments.
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