Effective Behaviour Management

Gregor Kirk explains what are his essentials for effective behaviour management.

Gregor Kirk, Primary Teacher, Fencedyke Primary School, North Ayrshire

Having completed my dissertation that focused on children's perceptions of disruptive behaviour I felt I was well versed in the literature surrounding behaviour within the classroom.

Also throughout my four years at university I had encountered many different levels of disruptive behaviour and I was confident about entering my probation year in a single stream school in North Ayrshire.

It was on my first day however, as my first ever class of 23 boys and 7 girls entered the room that it dawned on me I had never set up a behaviour management system before. I had always started placements when the teacher had already put in the hard work to set these up. Fear gripped me as the noise level escalated and my four years of training went out of the window and I shouted rather loudly at them to be quiet.

My probation year has been the biggest learning curve and the best experience for dealing with disruptive behaviour within the classroom. There are certain things that I would never attempt again when dealing with behaviour and many more that I look forward to experimenting with in the future.

Below are what I consider to be my essentials for behaviour management. You have to find what works for you, your personality, school, classroom and children.

Know your children

Understanding your children I think is the most important aspect of behaviour management. Get to know your children and dedicate time in the first few weeks of a new session to building your classroom community with them. Find out how they respond as individuals to rewards and sanctions. Play around with your seating plan to identify a place for each child in the class where they can work with relative comfort and without distraction.

Have a behaviour management system in place

Most schools will have their own behaviour management system and if so then you should find out how it works within the classroom and use this system instead of creating one of your own. The children are likely to be familiar with it already and you can always alter it slightly to suit you and your teaching style. If your school does not have any system in place then create one and trial it within your classroom, this would give you a great CPD (continuing professional development) opportunity to implement your system across the school.

Set high standards

Over the course of this year I have set rather high standards for my children and I would say I can be strict at times. You should set clear class rules in consultation with your children and allow them to decide on the punishment for breaking these, if appropriate. It is my opinion that you should ensure these rules are followed at all times. If your children can see that you will not let the little rules be broken then they are less likely to push you on more serious issues.