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Bah Humbug: Behaviour at Christmas!

To borrow a favourite phrase from a certain Mr Scrooge from A Christmas Carol: ‘Bah Humbug!’ Once again, it’s that time of year when the term draws to a close; previously well behaved classes start to show signs of niggling low level disruption and you’re half tempted to put on a video for a lesson (or three). On the approach to Christmas, behaviour can be tougher than usual to tackle. Whether you or your organisation uses the Pivotal approach, we can all promote consistency, security and calm behaviours.

Sanctions do need to be used, of course, when required. Sanctions allow for learners to reflect on their actions, repair relationships and start again the next day with a clean state. A planned 5 minute conversation can have a much more positive effect compared to an hours’ detention. Use sanctions to positively promote and understanding of appropriate behaviour and as a reminder for learners to connect with their original behaviour.

Here are six ways to add impact to your sanctions:

  1. Design them so they can be delivered them as soon as possible after the event. It is not the severity of the sanction that has the most impact, but the speed with which it is delivered.
  2. Once given, don’t remove a sanction. Some children will get the idea that they are negotiable.
  3. Keep your response rational; indifference is better than indignation.
  4. Avoid passing sanctions for others to execute. Use the time to reconcile, repair and reset expectations.
  5. Tread carefully with public sanctions- private is preferable.
  6. Beware of ‘hovering’; deliver the sanction and leave the child to think.

Take a look at our extra resources here:

How to Manage Sanctions (Part 1) – PP16
How to Manage Sanctions (Part 2) – PP17

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