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Behaviour Policy Blues

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Richard24601, May 14, 2018.

  1. Richard24601

    Richard24601 New commenter

    Have you ever noticed that the more stringent a behaviour policy is, the worse the actual behaviour tends to be?

    Have you noticed schools which have a merit / rewards system tend to have worse behaviour?

    Have you noticed that some schools are very inconsistent and the students do not actually know what they'll achieve through the convoluted merit system?

    Is anything obtained from putting a child into detention three evenings a week? If they keep attending detention but also keep reoffending, then is there not a bigger problem here?

    I am feeling that in a post primary setting, there should not be the need for merits / demerits. A school should try to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and leave the starcharts in the primary school. From experience of various schools, when a school has no sense of pride then the students will act up and will keep acting up regardless of how strict the system may be.
    Behaviour and how to deal with it should be left down to the class teacher rather than having a draconian policy in place throughout the entire school as behaviour is completely relative to the time of day, personal lives and what has gone on before your lesson.
  2. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    Sorry, I disagree.

    Having taught in schools where there was an all-through policy as well as ones which left it to the classroom teacher, on the whole the consistent policy through the school meant that behavior was better. Students understood that messing around in a History, Maths or Science classroom all led to the same consequences and were absolutely clear on that. Where there were problems, these could in part at least be put down to the teacher not fully enforcing or not knowing the behavior policy. It also means that, as a member of staff, if I needed to seek support I could say exactly what I had done and if the next step required SMT involvement then I could insist on it.

    Yes, there are an infinite number of things which could affect a student's behavior. But part of growing up is being able to understand and deal with consequences of our decisions. A shopkeeper wouldn't accept someone stealing a loaf of bread, regardless of whether or not they were starving - the reasons explain the behavior, rather than condoning it. Having a strong policy in place I find means that when you need to make exceptions, or put in place support for the student, then it happens more easily and more quickly.
    Bumptious and JohnJCazorla like this.
  3. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    And when the child escalates beyond the class teacher's control or is revolting for more than one class teacher? Then the SLT all chorus (preferably by email, from their ivory towers)
    "Behaviour [is] down to the class teacher"

    Absolutely agree with @amysdad.
    install and Bumptious like this.
  4. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

  5. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    In secondary schools, they are still only 11 at the beginning. I really think it's human nature to be motivated by praise and reward. All the way through education (and employment!) don't we enjoy being rewarded for doing the right thing? I think it's unrealistic to think students post-primary school should be able to motivate themselves, work hard and resist peer pressure to do the wrong thing simply because they're proud of their school/appreciative of education etc. A few certificates and stickers and saving up merits for a prom discount etc surely go a long way in most schools. Unfortunately, this reward side of a behaviour policy is under-represented in many schools.

    I think many teachers would feel isolated without a behaviour policy.

    In my experience, in schools where the policy is simple, clearly conveyed to pupils and staff, and followed, it works well. It fails when it is complicated, inconsistently applied or doesn't include sufficient escalation options.

    Many teachers handle behaviour with absolute aplomb.

    However, as you say there are many reasons why a student misbehaves and these can be really challenging for any teacher to deal with, alongside 29 other students/curriculum and exam pressures/differentiating work/supporting weak students. If, as a teacher, you can only set a detention in your own time with yourself, it doesn't hold the clout that a separate detention with a senior teacher can hold. I can admit that I need support in my classroom sometimes and I want to know that if a student has been rude/disrepectful/is consistently doing little work etc, I can rely on the chain of command to step in and take over situations once I have tried classroom methods with no success.

    Heads of year and pastoral leaders also need to be involved in these issues to get an overview of how students are actually doing, both academically and personally. You mention repeat offenders and I agree that it suggests a bigger issue for the child and something different needs to be tried. If individual teachers are dealing with their own behaviour and aren't collating their behaviour information through a head of year or similar, those issues can be missed and not tackled.
    JohnJCazorla, install and pepper5 like this.
  6. 50sman

    50sman Lead commenter

    The issue is consitency
    ALL schoold are consistent in their inconsistency!
  7. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    It doesn’t matter how fancy or comprehensive-looking the policy is - it’s whether everyone is following it. Often the practice doesn’t match up with the theory, or not everyone agrees with the policy...
    install, Bumptious and pepper5 like this.
  8. install

    install Star commenter

    Behaviour has sadly become the responsibility if teachers in many uk schools - and is even used against teachers if they cannot control an unrul class :(

    It seems too that in some schools the need to save money and not exclude students has caused teachers to be stuck with extremely poorly behaved students more and more. Hence, the poor recruitnent and increasing exodus of teachers these days.

    Policies too sadly tend to be unreliable in some schools where some slt refuse to deal directly with poor behaviour - but are quick to blame teachers for it :cool:

    There needs to be 'danger money' made available maybe to some teachers to work at some schools now.
  9. LeftTheBuilding

    LeftTheBuilding Occasional commenter


    install likes this.
  10. LeftTheBuilding

    LeftTheBuilding Occasional commenter

    "Behaviour and how to deal with it should be left down to the class teacher rather than having a draconian policy in place throughout the entire school"

    A behaviour policy can offer clear, consistent expectations for staff and children. It needn't be draconian and it can allow for individual staff to use their own judgement. Used as tools, not rules, behaviour policies have their place.

    (Apologies for edits: rubbish connection, thanks to Storm Chris.)
    install likes this.
  11. install

    install Star commenter

    That is so true. It seems to have become common in some schools recently. Blaming the classroom teacher for the continued poor behaviour of a child all round the school. And if you have some slt that point blank refuse to be part of the consistent approach of challenging the behaviour itself - then it escalates :eek::eek::eek:
    pepper5 and JohnJCazorla like this.
  12. LeftTheBuilding

    LeftTheBuilding Occasional commenter

    …or an SLT that doesn't consider what might be behind a particular child's behaviour and offers only a one-size-fits-all punishment, "because that's fair to everyone".
    pepper5 likes this.
  13. LeftTheBuilding

    LeftTheBuilding Occasional commenter

    That doesn't surprise me, but I'd add that correlation does not imply causation.

    Research has shown that, generally, rewards undermine intrinsic motivation. If you're interested, I'd recommend Alfie Kohn's book, Punished by Rewards. http://www.ascd.org/publications/ed...-Rewards¢-A-Conversation-with-Alfie-Kohn.aspx
    pepper5 likes this.

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