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Getting behaviour right from the start

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by lindor1306, Jul 28, 2016.

  1. lindor1306

    lindor1306 New commenter


    I'm about to go into my third year teaching Reception, and I'm a bit terrified because I've had two extremely challenging classes in a row. I want to make sure I get behaviour right from the start in September, so does anyone have any suggestions for things I should put in place from day one to make sure children know the expectations straight away. I don't want to be introducing things through the year so want to have routines etc in place from the start.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  2. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    I think it depends what you want in your classroom. Whatever is your 'golden rule' (whether it's doing as you're told when you're told or being respectful or whatever) then that's the thing you set up right from the beginning and stick to it. With younger children a visual prompt might help, e.g. when you want silence, hold up a hand and count down from 10 or stand up and clap your hands together (or whatever) and they all have to freeze and be silent. You could practice this over the first couple of weeks until they get the hang of it.
    Lara mfl 05, phlogiston and pepper5 like this.
  3. wordsworth

    wordsworth Senior commenter

    Great advice from secret siren. In general, this is an interesting one, too. Every academic year I start off thinking 'I'm not having this-or-that that I ended up having last year', and I begin with every good intention. With some classes, mostly things go ok but with other classes (I'm secondary) things end up descending into some kind of battleground.

    I now believe that some groups have such difficult dynamics that no-one, NO-ONE could really make them behave consistently well. By 'well', I mean, on task, polite, engaged, doing homework, etc. Some groups need a lot of enforcement of boundaries and other groups need a lot of mothering and cajoling, in fact every group needs something different. This is just one of the assessments we need to make as teachers: how to control and validate and chivvy and threaten while getting them to learn stuff, too. It's another hidden art that people outside of the profession fail to understand.
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi Lin

    Two excellent posts above with sound advice.

    If you look on the Pivotal Education web site, you will find useful information on behaviour management.

    I use three simple rules

    Follow instructions fast
    Stay on task
    Work without disturbing others

    You might have to reword these for the age range you teach, but put them up on the wall perhaps with pictures.

    Teach routines explicitly. Have a routine for entering the room, carpet time, long up. Give thought to this and spend time teaching the class the routine until they know it well.

    Explain that the rules and routines are there forms purpose: so everyone has fun learning and working as a team

    Have a system of sanctions and rewards. Never use sweets for rewards.

    If you post this over on the behaviour forum, you may get further responses.

    The most important thing you can domis teach yourself to remain calm and deal with the misbehaviour in a rational manner.

    If I were you, I would also consult some specialist books on behaviour management for the age range you teach. If you look on the Pivotal web site there may be something or you could contact them. Also have a glance on Amazon.

    Remember the wise counsel in post 2 above. There are now groups that due to the mix of students in them that even the most experienced teachers will be stretched.
  5. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I agree with Wordsworth - sometime the social dynamics in a group (even a good one) can be very difficult to overcome.

    It's worse when you have a system where the same group travels round with each other all day, every day to every lesson. That's what we have and we are now having to untangle it because it has created a couple of groups that are virtually unteachable.
    pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    The devil makes work for idle hands to do.

    With R you have to be rigidly structured. You can relax with a decent bunch but always have a plan A.

    I do believe in regimentation for R. They need the security. Don't give them options (I am emphatically NOT like this with older kids).

    Yes, it's lining up. Hands by your sides. But make it fun! Model it for them. Show them how to walk and how to sit. They pretend they're puppets. All that jazz. Make it fun for them to cooperate.

    So the emphasis is on behaviour - not maths or English. Except that every lesson is an English lesson. Fold arms. Fingers on lips. Look at me. But all in a fun way. Zip it. Stand up one table at a time to go to the carpet or trays. Make sure all the kids on one table have trays well spaced so they don't all jostle.

    Keep your eye on the clock so you leave plenty of time to tidy away and, if you have spare time, have a quiz or behaviour feedback and dish out 'awards'. Don't forget the stickers!

    Get loads of ruddy stickers and 'letters home'.
  7. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I agree with the advice above. I would also say that this is probably a whole school thing, and that as a team you should be talking with your Head, sorting out the reasons why behaviour has not supported learning and planning a behaviour policy that works.
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    i agree with all the above posters very sound advice.

    One thing I might add is that you need to concentrate on one particular thing you'd like to 'set in stone' at a time. Reception children are very young and every day is new learning and would cope with 'new expectations' much easier than older children, because it's all part of their new learning experience. (In my opinion at least)

    So I would prioritisethe essentials. Introduce the absolute essentials (and keep reinforcing them until they're firmly in place- even at the expense of other 'learning' in the early couple of weeks). Then you can move on to adding extras as their responses and expectations will be in place for them to respond much quicker.

    Do bear in mind that nowadays many children come into Schools with real problems and there may be no way you'll get completely on top of classes with a high proportion of such children.
    grumpydogwoman and pepper5 like this.
  9. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    The "whole school" approach is best

    Doing it is entirely a different problem.
    Lara mfl 05 and pepper5 like this.
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    After having a brief look on Amazon there appears to be quite a few titles on the subject of behaviour management for the early years - some with positive reviews and around £20.0
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  11. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I like Sue Cowley's books but as we all know the only way to learn about behaviour management is many hours of experience in the classroom.

    Although there are some teachers who never "get it"
    grumpydogwoman and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  12. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    ...and by "get it" I mean are effectively able to control their classes.

    I know two teachers like that very well, one is lazy so I'll say no more about him but the other really tries but just doesn't have what it takes and to be honest no amount of reading or CPD would probably improve them from where they are.
    pepper5 likes this.
  13. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    People can get better at behaviour management. Sometimes, reading tips then putting them into practice helps; other times it is observing others and trying out their approaches. Although managing classes may come easier to some than others, teachers can learn and improve.

    The teachers who are excel at it, could mentor those who need help.

    The main thing is that a teacher has believe in their abilities and that they are the ones in charge of the class and are making the decisions for the best interest of all.

    It all goes back to as you say a whole school approach which far far easier to talk about than actually do.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.

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