Posted on: March 10, 2020
Our students crave confidence and trust in their teacher. They seek it out, listening for it in the words we speak and looking to read it in our every gesture and movement. We send out messages all day long that are stored and accumulated by our students. Our students loathe mixed messages. When we say ‘Any questions?’ but we then don’t pause and wait for a response because we don’t really want any questions, our students lose a degree of trust. Each and every interaction makes up our relationship, and that relationship can define the behaviour of our students. The craving our students exhibit for confidence and trust in their teacher is largely grown from our being caring and consistent. Creating clear and consistent behaviour management strategies will sit comfortably with a climate of unmitigated regard for our students.
1. Set the behaviour bar high
We can do this by making explicitly clear what good behaviour looks like, sounds like and feels like. Take a moment to ponder that point. It may sound simple and plain common sense, but we too often underestimate the value in doing so, explicitly and repeatedly. Too many students simply don’t know what good learning or good behaviour actually is, and we can too easily overlook this plain truth.
One strategy I have employed with my younger classes with success is to co-create with them a character that embodies the ideal student at the very beginning of the school year. At first it only cues a series of simplistic stereotypes, but when you get students to unpick the specific behaviours of such a student – how they ask questions; how they work in group situations; their physical behaviour when they are listening, etc – it builds up a picture of the behaviours you expect in a usefully concrete fashion.
The value is making such desirable behaviours real, embodied in a simple character, so that we can use that as our high bar of expected behaviour. That character can be emblazoned on the classroom wall as a reminder.