First steps in managing behaviour

By Karen Hornby posted 16-09-2022 09:49

Written by Jane Winter, Professional Development Leader

For those who are looking forward to teaching for the first time, behaviour management is often one of the first areas of professional development that we focus on.  During the Managing Behaviour for Learning online course, one issue we delve into is the importance of recognising that there is only one person’s behaviour that we can control, and that is our own. Once we understand this, it becomes obvious that we must make sure that we DO control our own behaviour, however we might be feeling inside, and however much the children might try to provoke us. Controlling our own behaviour means staying calm instead of shouting, smiling when we might feel like frowning and treating our pupils respectfully even when they might not be showing us the respect that we think we deserve. 

However, this is not the same as letting our pupils get away with unacceptable behaviour.  Of course we insist that they face the consequences of their behaviour.  But, even as we are following through with our expectations we do what we need to calmly and thoughtfully because of choices that we have made rather in response to provocation; we at no point hand control of our behaviour over to the children!

This attitude is considerably easier once we realise that poor behaviour is rarely directed at us personally.   

Once we are able to remain calm and in control whatever our learners throw at us (hopefully not literally) we have a strong foundation upon which to build productive working relationships. 

In other words, once we consistently behave in this way, we start to create the sorts of mutually respectful working relationships that are needed for effective teaching and learning.  So, once we realise that we cannot control our pupils’ behaviour, but concentrate on controlling our own instead, we are not only likely to see better behaviour from the young people that we work with but we are likely to see better learning too, and what could be better than that?

If you would like to learn more about this and other aspects of behaviour management and about the experiences of teachers from around the country as they grapple with this difficult issue, why join us for the Managing Behaviour for Learning course

On this online, self-paced course, you’ll explore how your own behaviour influences your pupils’ behaviour’, and learn how to control your emotional responses when you’re interacting in the classroom. You’ll also discover a wide range of techniques in classroom management such as:

  • reparation and restorative practice
  • achieving consistency
  • diverting and diffusing
  • scripted interventions
  • properly recognising positive behaviour
  • and building trust in your classroom

This course is for teachers, teaching assistants, supply teachers, newly qualified teachers, trainee teachers and others involved in the education of young people at primary, secondary or further education (ages 5-19 years). We would love to see you there.

Go to Managing Behaviour for Learning course or search for course code NE700.

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