Struggling to manage behaviour? Here are Moxi’s top tips for managing behaviour and encouraging effective learning.

1. Agree on classroom rules with the students

It can be a good idea for your first lesson to have a discussion about professional expectations and behaviour in a classroom setting. Sitting down and agreeing on classroom rules and talking about why these things might be important so the young person understands the reasoning. For example, if no shouting out in class is a rule, this would be important because it disrupts learning. Then tell the young person what you expect them to do, if they can’t shout out they may put their hand up instead. After you have discussed and agreed the rules for the learner then print these out and put them on display in your classroom. Refer back to this if needed as a reminder to the student of the rules that you have agreed to.

2. Set realistic goals and expectations

It is important to set realistic expectations for a young person, especially when working with learners that have SEMH or additional needs. Sometimes a student may have mannerisms or ways they behave when they are feeling nervous or threatened. For example, they might fidget a lot, or become aggressive in certain situations. It is important to make them feel safe within the environment and set short term goals that are attainable. For example, a student that may fidget constantly is not suddenly going to stop. You need to replace the habit with a coping mechanism and help them reduce this over time. If you are not realistic in your expectations it can have the opposite effect on a young person and their behaviour.

3. Read and Understand the Educational plans

Before starting with a class, it’s a good idea to read what information you have on the young people. Ask for and familiarise yourself with Education Health Care Plans (EHCP) if the young people have these. Understanding the needs of a young person, or their triggers before they start means that you can adapt your methods of teaching and managing behaviour.

4. Give choices

It is important to give a young person choices and allow them a chance to make the correct decision. If a young person is not cooperating, giving them the option of cooperating and forgetting about sanctions or if they continue facing a sanction, will put the ownership onto the young person, and educate them in the fact that their behaviour is a choice and making the right choice can influence a decision that is beneficial to them.

5. Be positive!

It is important to remain positive with the young person and to give them hope. In some situations, young people may have not always been given a positive outlook or always been tarnished as being “naughty” or “disruptive.” All children deserve to have a positive influence in their lives and someone on their side. Small things like greeting a child with a smile and a hello in the morning can make all the difference in terms of how that young person’s day starts.

6. Countdown Technique

In classrooms when switching between activities or when first starting a lesson, you may find that it can be slightly disruptive between switching around activities due to low-level disruptions and conversations. It is important to settle the learners before you continue with your activities, and so instructions can be clearly heard. Having a 3 to 5-second count down before beginning a new activity is a good way to transition between learning.

7. Reframe the narrative

Linking to point number 5 on remaining positive, reframe the narrative! If a young person has had a difficult day try and get them to look at the overall perspective. Maybe they responded or behaved positively towards something, or maybe they have made a small improvement. Rather than allow a young person to feel negative about this, reframe it. If a setback or a hiccup has happened turn this around on what a young person may have learned from this. Having perspective and awareness is fundamental to a young person’s development.