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Behaviour management for PGCE students and other trainee teachers – PP8

The topic of the week is Behaviour management for PGCE students and other trainee teachers.


chief-learnerThis week, Paul talks in depth about aspects of behaviour management wich will be helpful to all trainee teachers as well as experienced teachers who want to sharpen up their practice. He goes through what he calls the ‘basic building blocks of behaviour management’ which include:

  • 1. Move around the room – trying to manage behaviour from behind a desk piled with books is never going to work
  • 2. Meet and greet pupils at the door of the classroom – if you are a trainee teacher working with a teacher, arrange to establish your authority by meeting and greeting the students
  • 3. Agree with the class teacher a way of indicating that you need support
  • 4. Ignore honeymoon periods – just because the first week went well, doesn’t necessarily mean you have ‘cracked’ behaviour management
  • 5. Keep your promises – positive or negative
  • 6. Be enthusiastic but don’t be a children’s party entertainer – the class doesn’t need a Tigger in the room as it probably has a couple of its own already
  • 7. Break the class down into groups early – don’t try to do lots of whole class teaching or explaining the rules – ger the pupils working productively as soon as possible
  • 8. Look smart – even if you end up more smartly-dressed than your teacher, you are trying to impress other members of staff, your mentors, the headteacher and Senior Leadership Team and parents
  • 9. Bring your own lunch and coffee – in written rules may exist in the staffroom and colleagues may not take kindly to those who are uninitiated

What happens if you find yourself working in behaviour management system you don’t agree with?

Paul also discusses the difficulty of working as a trainee teacher in a behaviour management system with which you do not agree and over which you have no say. However, you do have the opportunity to add a few touches of your own, by negotiating with the teacher to use your own positive notes or stickers, for example. Disparity between behaviour management approaches are not unique to trainee teachers – this is something you will have to learn to deal with all your working life. Other helpful strategies include having a sheet of photographs of the class with their names and spending time learning them before the first lesson. This isn’t always possible but it should be possible to obtain the reading ages of the class members. This can be very useful in planning behaviour management strategies and approaches. Combine this with giving name badges, stickers or signs for the table out to the pupils the moment you meet them for the first time. Paul stresses the importance of giving the pupils something like this which can start the relationship off brilliantly. Another approach is to slow sanctions down, particularly if you are concerned that the systems used are not positive. Combine this with recognising and rewarding children for the positive behaviour they exhibit. Trying to negotiate systems is unlikely to be a good idea. Rather, try to focus on one aspect, for example a ‘one voice’ rule in a debate or group work situation. There’s bound to be an equivalent rule already in use. Overall, your relationship with the class teacher is key and you need to arrange a time to sit down and discuss behaviour management.

Best practice of the week Paul introduces a tweak to the positive notes idea which involves adding a QR Code onto the back of the note. Parents who have appropriate smart phones can then scan the QR code and be taken to a virtual copy of the work the positive note has been awarded for.

Questions Finally, we had a question from Kerri via Twitter. She has a very large class of Year 7 science students and is concerned about managing such a large group in a practical subject. Paul pointed out that there are bound to be other adults in the room, such as TAs or LSAs. Kerri should meet with them to find out all she can about the children and to create a seating plan. She should try splitting the class into two halves and setting only one half the practical tasks. Also, she should get the recognition board going quickly as this is the best way to start influencing behaviour positively. She can even get a responsible child or a TA to help in spotting positive behaviour.

Links Paul mentioned the hilarious YouTube video, Educating Enfield. Unfortunately, this seems to have been removed. We will post a link if it re-appears!

What would you like to hear covered in forthcoming episodes? Let us know by emailing or by leaving a comment below this post.

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