However experienced you are as a teacher, there will always be occasions when you face challenging pupil behaviour. Use these behaviour management tips and techniques to get the best out of your students and maintain calm in the classroom.
Some students get distracted easily, or have difficulty switching from one activity to another. Help your pupils to focus on your words by counting down from 10 to 1 to give a warning before asking them to do something. This method offers extra time for students to adjust, and can be very effective in catching their attention.
When they are trusted to carry out a responsible task, pupils are likely to rise to the occasion with a positive response. By giving your students useful jobs, such as giving out textbooks, or cleaning up after an activity, you are demonstrating that you trust them to behave in a mature and responsible way.
BE A VISIBLE PRESENCE THROUGHOUT THE DAY
One important way of managing pupil behaviour is to show your students how much they are valued, by working to develop genuine relationships. While a lot of this work will be done in the classroom, being present and accessible at break times, at mealtimes and at the school gates every morning can send a powerful message that you are invested in your pupils.
CHANGE YOUR CLASSROOM LAYOUT
The traditional classroom setup, with pupils all sitting facing the teacher at the front, doesn’t always encourage a collaborative atmosphere. Consider a more flexible classroom layout, perhaps by getting out from behind your desks altogether. Sitting in a circle is always a good way to foster communication as a group.
SHOW AN INTEREST
It’s always easier to manage behaviour if you have the trust of your students. There’s no need to get ‘down with the kids’, but by paying attention to individual pupils’ particular lives and interests, you can build trust and motivate them to listen to you. Small gestures like hunting down a book they may like, or offering space for them to practise a hobby, can make a big difference to behaviour in the classroom.
USE BODY LANGUAGE TO DIFFUSE TENSION
Communication isn’t just about the words we use. Teachers can send powerful signals through body language, which is a crucial tool in managing pupil behaviour at school. When talking one-to-one, a taller teacher can easily intimidate a pupil, so for better results, crouch down below eye level, so that the pupil is looking down at you.
Introduce a dedicated quiet space
Sometimes pupils need time out away from the stress and noise of the classroom. A standalone therapy room, or a separate, quiet space where students can talk one-to-one or simply take a moment to calm down, is a valuable addition to any school. It can be particularly valuable for pupils with autism, behavioural problems or other additional needs. A modular classroom is an ideal space for time out: find out more about our modular school buildings and how they might fit within your school.