Behaviour and classroom management are probably the most difficult parts of teaching to master. What works with one class or one child may not work with another. Some say, “Don’t smile til Christmas,” “Go in and show them who’s boss..”Over my short teaching career, I have dealt with a lot of tricky behaviour and here are some tips which worked for me.
- Talk about what makes a good student and what makes a good teacher. Allow the children to work in groups of 4/5 to brainstorm these two questions. Then make a whole class list together and decide the 5 most important. These will then form the class rules. (This can be set up as a contract where each child signs their name meaning they will abide by the rules).
- Have a very clear management plan both for good behaviour and negative. I use Class Dojo. This is a fantastic, free resource where you can manage behaviour. I aware points for good behaviour and subtract points for negative behaviour. When children reach a target e.g. 10 points – they can choose a reward. (These may include – choose your learning partner, who to sit beside, where to sit, a job, first in the line, warm-up for P.E. or any other suggestions the children may have.) Before taking away points – have a warning system – 2 warnings and you loose a point. (starts afresh for each session.)
- Be fair and consistent. Always treat each child equally. Children notice when you are not fair and resent it- big time.
- Have a quiet area – children can go here when they feel they need to calm down.
- Use visual cues. If a child is interrupting you when you are speaking – put your hand up in a stop motion and continue speaking. The flow of the lesson is then not interrupted. If a child is being disruptive, walk towards them or stand behind them.
- Never speak when you don’t have their full attention. If you do they will learn not to listen to you. Speak in a quiet voice so they have to listen really carefully to catch your instructions.
- Don’t allow time for a child to answer back. If you give a warning or a reprimand – state clearly why and walk away.
- Never give out to a child when they have an audience. 9 times out of 10 this will make things worse and the child will resent you for making them look ‘uncool’. Ask the child to step outside and speak to them in private.
- Don’t raise your voice or get angry. Stay calm and positive.