Behaviour Management Strategies Making connection

General tips

• Be definite – know what you want and let the children know what you expect in a calm and polite way
• Be clear about general as well as specific behaviours – lining up, entering/leaving the room, talking, doing work, listening, showing respect, trying your best
• Be aware – what will happen if you do or don’t get what you want – plan your response
• Acknowledge good behaviour and reward with specific, detailed praise
• Use proximity praise when low-level misbehaviour starts, ensuring you and the children know which sanctions apply for specific misbehaviours
• Be calm and consistent – remain polite and fair, applying school rules and sanctions consistently
• Treat the children as you would a colleague in the office
• Have a clear structure to the day or lesson – a clear pattern offers safety and security
• Be positive and keep standards high – expect the best and praise/reward those who achieve highly
• Be interested – get to know the children and form good relationships with them
• Be flexible – if your class are bored/unsettled/tired then change your plans and bend a little
• Set small targets for individuals who struggle and notice when they achieve them
• Be persistent – never give up on a child or class. Look for the solution. Behaviour takes time to change.

Behaviour matters- How literate is your school?

Controlling the class

• Learn to ‘read’ the class – be flexible and adapt your approach according to their behaviour
• Wait for silence – expect complete attention to be focussed on you. Use non-verbal techniques to gain this – stand, look and wait; pause and wait; use an egg timer, bell, clapping or shaker; hands up or on heads; establish a phrase ‘may I have your attention please…’
• Use cues – remind the children of the rules as pat of your instruction – ‘Put your hands up if you know..’, ‘When I say ‘go’ you can start your work..’
• Give them the choice – make choices and consequences simple and clear and follow through on these
• Be reasonable but don’t reason with them- have realistic expectations about what children can do and there will be no need to reason when you ask them to do it
• Use statements, not questions – say what you want to happen instead of asking why it isn’t – ‘Why are you messing around’ becomes ‘I want you to sit properly and listen’
• Use repetition – to gain attention and to ensure your message is heard and understood, repeat the child’s name until you have their full attention and repeat instructions to ensure understanding

Strategies for Children who need to be in control/are seeking revenge

• Stay calm yourself – avoid a power struggle
• For off-task behaviour, redirect the child and then walk away, expecting the work to be resumed. This avoids confrontation and the child saves face.
• Too much obvious praise too soon will have the opposite effect as the child doesn’t want to please you or appear to conform. Delay praise, keep it subtle – a nod or a smile will reinforce acceptable behaviour or a quiet word. Avoid audiences.
• Special responsibilities are a controlled way of giving the child some power – supporting younger peers in successful subjects will reinforce acceptable behaviour whilst making the child feel important.
• Rephrase what you say – use ‘you are working well instead of ‘I’m pleased with you.’ This gives control to the child – you are recognising their positive choices.
• Keep boundaries firm and consistent. Discuss and negotiate rules to involve the child and so they see the relevance to them.
• Apply consequences to the whole class and keep them logical, to avoid accusations of being ‘unfair’. Be seen to be fair and consistent.
• Be prepared to listen rather than accuse, remain positive and friendly and avoid taking the behaviour personally.
• Speak privately about inappropriate behaviour.
• Aim to reframe actions by finding positive reasons for behaviour e.g. ‘I can see you are not working yet and that you probably need more thinking time’.

Controlling behaviours

• Arguing
• Rebelling
• Defiance
• Contradiction
• Bullying
• Temper tantrums
• Dishonesty
• Disobedience

Strategies for children who show attention – needing behaviours

• Use planned ignoring/proximity praise. Ignore the child who is behaving inappropriately and praise a child nearby who is behaving appropriately.
• ‘You get the behaviour you pay attention to’ – acknowledge and reinforce appropriate behaviour.
• Sometimes do the opposite of what is expected – give the child permission to carry on – if permitted the behaviour loses its attraction. This works best when the behaviour was intended to irritate, antagonise or annoy the adult.
• Make expectations about behaviour very clear. Establish rules and boundaries and reward compliance. Use stickers, certificates and letters home.
• Develop a whole class reward system. This will encourage a feeling of belonging and working towards a common goal.
• Teach friendship skills to enable the child to make and maintain friendships.
• Express surprise at the misbehaviour.
• Pair with a good role model. Use a ‘work buddy’ system.
• Make them feel valued by organising a special job or responsibility.
• Teach child new skills – juggling/playing an instrument – to achieve a valued role.
• Label the behaviour and not the child to keep self-esteem intact. Use ‘I’ statements and acknowledge feelings. E.g. ‘When you talk during story I feel irritated and the other children can’t hear the story…’
• Teach all of the children to use ‘I’ statements: ‘I like you but I don’t like it when you push in…’
• Offer consequences for chosen misbehaviour – this makes children responsible for their behaviour and takes the stress of failure away from the adult. E.g. ‘If you continue to talk you will be moved, the choice is yours.’
• Take an interest in the child and their hobbies. Share relevant information about common interests.
• Use circle time activities to encourage cooperative group work and place problems in a social context. Foster a sense of belonging where every member is valued and valuable. Create an environment where it is safe to take risks and make mistakes.
• Introduce a special person once a week in circle time to provide an opportunity for celebrating individual strengths.
• Give as much individual praise as possible – just for being themselves.
• Extend feelings vocabulary so the child can express their needs clearly.
• Plan for success and celebrate when it happens.
• Focus on the children’s abilities and strengths – stay solution focussed.

Attention-needing behaviours

•Continuous behaviour that demands excessive attention from adults and peers
• Frequently disturbs adults and peers
• Talks out of turn
• Makes silly noises
• Constantly gets out of seat
• Interrupts lessons with attention-needing behaviour
• Works only when receiving attention

Carolyn Bromfield – University of Plymouth Trudi Fitzhenry – EPBST
Sue Cowley – ‘Getting the buggers to behave’
Continuum International Publishing Group 2006