Influential Classroom Culture (behaviour management) - an introduction

An overview of the importance of behaviour management in teaching that provides a perspective grounded in academic research. It offers actionable insights for educators to consider and apply in their classrooms. Includes a reflective task and a list of 16 resources, many of which are peer-reviewed.

Influential Classroom Culture (behaviour management) - an introduction
prompt - a thriving classroom scene in an inner city school
"Effective behaviour management is arguably one of the most valuable teaching skills student teachers need to acquire."(Woodcock and Reupert, 2012, pp.3)

My teaching journey has had chequered times. I recall my first teaching post after leaving university some 30 years ago. It was a tough school, and I was a new teacher. I was alone in the classroom for the first time and made the major mistake of trying to be the student’s friend. When misbehaviour happened, I gave lots of chances and didn’t establish boundaries early on. This leniency resulted in a breakdown of basic discipline. Students became disruptive, leading to a chaotic and unproductive classroom environment.

One day, in particular, stuck out for all the wrong reasons. Somehow, a group of students had learnt my first name. I heard them calling it in the corridor on the way home. I tried to ignore them, but they followed me out of school, calling after me, ‘SEEE - PO. SEEE - PO’. I eventually lost them at the train station. I left the school two weeks later, losing my sleep and creating much anxiety.

Effective behaviour management ranks high among the skills teachers must acquire. How teachers manage behaviour is informed by their training and deeply rooted in their personal beliefs and values.

That awful experience many years ago made me promise myself that I would never let something like that happen again, and I became a lot better at managing behaviour, or what I like to call classroom culture.

Approaches to Classroom Culture

Many teachers already employ various strategies, from setting clear expectations to varying their voice pitch and volume, depending on the situation.

You might want to try

  • Learning students' names
  • Setting clear expectations of how you want students to behave
  • Ensure that you do not speak over students, and they are quiet before you talk.
  • Where do you position yourself in the classroom?
  • Always follow up with students where necessary and always, always do what you say you will do.
  • Having a clear voice and varying your pitch and volume depending on the situation.

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