“Teaching is 90% discipline.” – Dr Richard Rive

A master at anything makes it look deceptively easy … so easy that you think you can do it. Watch out! Ask almost any parent and they will tell you that managing children’s behaviour is not for the faint-hearted.

Besides having to contend with all the different elements of the curriculum and the related admin, teachers also lend their charges emotional and, sometimes even, material support. Over and above all of those, a teacher also has to display good behaviour management skills.

Ask any teacher and they will tell you: teaching is the easy part! The tough part is managing the children’s behaviour. That is the part that causes the most anxiety for people training to become teachers. The task requires a lot of determination, unflappability, courage and a single-minded belief in yourself and your abilities. These are invaluable qualities to possess, but don’t stress if you don’t have them: they can be learned.

Developing successful behaviour techniques in the classroom is one of the most important things you can do to make your life easier on a daily basis. This isn’t some abstract idea or concept; it is a real, implementable strategy that has major implications for your capacity to manage your classroom.

Having a solid background in behaviour management will help you minimise behaviour which can disrupt and derail the educational process. Putting into practice what you have learned about behaviour management can put you back in control of your classroom and, once again, have you excited about the act of unlocking young. hungry minds.

This knowledge really makes the task easier – for novices as well as experienced veterans, who may have hit a slump. Let’s take a look at some of the indispensable skills and tools that will result in an effective behaviour management plan.

Check out the Impact of behaviour management theories in the classroom on Superprof

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What is good behaviour?
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Why is Effective Behaviour Management Crucial?

Crucial is quite a strong word. Why not just say important? That is because the entire act of teaching a great lesson can be totally blown out of the water if you have to pause every so often to correct the behaviour of mischievous or disruptive learners. The disruptive behaviour may impact negatively on other learners, stall the educational process and start to eat away at your self-confidence and desire to teach. This is why an effective behaviour management plan is crucial. It can turn an ordinary teacher into a great one.

There is no way that there can be a positive learning environment in a situation that is chaotic. The constant interruptions and inattentiveness will make it nigh impossible to get through the content of your lessons.

Effective behaviour management will win every time – and make everyone in that situation a winner. This will have nothing to do with you handing out rewards, praise or punishment. It will, rather, be about how you elicit the best from your students and prime them for achievement in the future.

Below we have set out reasons for behaviour management being crucial.

Successful Classroom Management Supports Student Connection – and Achievement

So, your job should not be about praising and rewarding. It should really be about creating a positive learning environment that is experienced positively by each individual in the classroom, including yourself, the teacher.

A solid behaviour management plan does exactly that: it shapes and informs the behaviours which will allow each learner to engage with the subject matter and sets the tone for the best set of conditions for learning to take place.

The end result is not a set of robots who sit dead still in their seats, never questioning the teacher. It is, rather, an environment within which respectful conversations are possible and where all learners are pushed to achieve to the best of their abilities.

A Classroom Management Plan Creates Routine and Consistency

For the learners, it does become challenging to devote all your attention to the act of learning when, every other day, your teacher has different expectations of you.

Managing children’s behaviour means that you have to do so consistently, in such a way that particular behaviours have predictable consequences.

If you have put in place a set of classroom rules and procedures, do ensure that you follow them. This creates a safe framework within which learners can work and co-exist with due consideration, knowing full well what the consequences are if they disregard the stated, agreed-upon guidelines.

If learners are constantly navigating changing rules and procedures, their focus will not be where it should be – on their schoolwork. Routine and consistency will obviate that!

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Classes need to be well-behaved to learn

Save Time and Energy with Behaviour Management Skills

In one UK study, it was estimated that almost forty days of teaching time was lost per annum, because of disruptive behaviour in the classroom.

It is not quite clear exactly how the lost time is calculated, but what is important is the following: if the teacher constantly has to admonish learners for bad behaviour, precious teaching time goes out by the window – time that could have been spent consolidating and deepening learning.

Therefore, having a solid plan which targets positive behaviour techniques in the classroom, will save you valuable teaching time and create an environment that is conducive to the children learning optimally.

Theories on Behaviour Management

As stated before, behaviour management is far more interesting and nuanced than a term like ‘classroom discipline’. Of course, discipline in the classroom is important. Without it there will be very little or intermittent learning, at best. It is, however, only one aspect of behaviour management, which as a topic or subject itself, is based on theories some of which go back almost a century.

The Different Theories of Behaviour Management

Behaviour management theories outline for us the underlying reasons and motivations for the behaviour of people, and, in our sphere of interest, that is our learners. This is why it is important for us to heed what they say.

B.F.Skinner

B.F. Skinner was an American psychologist who had a marked influence on behaviourism. Referred to in one survey as “the most influential psychologist of the twentieth-century”, he “referred to his own theory as ‘radical behaviorism’ and suggested that the concept of free will was simply an illusion. All human action, he instead believed was the direct result of conditioning”.(www.verywellmind.com)

With reference to behaviour management theory, he is best known for two particular terms, one being operant conditioning. This was the name given to a process which he had identified. On the other hand, positive reinforcement was a technique which he had identified as a vital part of behaviour management.

Operant conditioning, also referred to as instrumental conditioning, is a way of learning where “the consequences of an action determine the probability of it being repeated. Through operant conditioning, behaviour which is reinforced (rewarded) will likely be repeated and behaviour which is punished will occur less frequently”. This became the foundation of his management practice.

William Glasser

Far more unusual than Skinner, William Glasser became famous for his ‘choice theory’, which came under a lot of criticism. This theory was based on the assumption that all of a person’s behaviour was a matter of choice.

In effect, he was saying that if a teacher were to direct a learner to perform a certain action, whether or not the child carried it out, was a matter of choice.

Alfie Kohn

Alfie Kohn became known as a behaviour theorist whose ideas were student-directed. He believed that the contributions and ideas of the students should direct the programme of study, that the curriculum should not foisted on learners from above.

He, further, asserts that schools should rather be places where children ‘make meaning’ rather than places where they receive information – while the importance of good behaviour and study were to be located within the process of learning.

Behaviour Management Theory: Why You Should Learn It

Does what you’ve read here resonate with you at all?  Do you think that there some elements here that you could make use of in your classroom?

Once you understand some of the underlying causes for your learners’ behaviours and how to positively and pro-actively prepare for them and, possibly, try to obviate them, the more you will gravitate towards investing in researching behaviour management.

Some Great Classroom Management Techniques

To teach successfully, that is, to have all of your learners engaged and invested in class activities, takes a bit of forethought, planning. There are a number of great behaviour techniques in the classroom that make for a pleasant, enriching learning experience.

Below are a handful of tips to make your classroom an awesome learning environment.

Involve Learners in the Creation of Classroom Procedures and Rules

One of the best ways to get your learners to ‘toe the line’ is to involve them in the setting of the procedures and the rules that will control activities in the classroom.

Have them contribute in a discussion on what is expected of everyone in the classroom and what the consequences should be if anyone transgresses.

This fun activity will give them ownership of ‘their rules’ and may result in them taking greater care of how they behave in a shared space.

You Must Remain a Consistent Classroom Manager

Don’t flip-flop! Stick to rules that have been decided on! Behaviours must meet with their identified consequences or your learners will become disorientated (not knowing what to expect), miffed or disappointed.

To keep the ship on an even keel, apply the classroom rules consistently, so that there won’t be occasions where learners become unhappy because of perceived unfairness.

Find why is managing learner behaviour important?  on Superprof

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Behaviour management is so important.

Encourage Your Learners to be Curious

One of the most important qualities that you should develop in your learners is curiosity! They must be encouraged to have a healthy interest in the world around them and a desire to keep learning is fundamental to behaviour management. The tasks that they are set should be self-directed and open-ended.

Allow them, at times, to discuss topics that really interest them. They should be allowed to share their thoughts with others – inside and outside of the classroom.

Remain Professional

A crucial point to be aware of is that you should allow the process, that has been mutually agreed upon, to take its course. Remain cool, calm and collected no matter what happens.

If you feel that you would like some assistance in this regard, get some great support from our clued-up folk at Superprof!

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Trevor

Career teacher turned writer. Passionate about family, running, and the great outdoors.