9. Establishing a culture of positive behaviour

A school behaviour policy should set out how teachers can manage a disruptive child positively, and also set a culture of positive behaviour in the school. Teachers should be able to follow strategies in the policy including graduated rewards and sanctions for different situations.

Activity 2.7 Positive behaviour management strategies

Allow approximately 15 minutes for this activity:

  • Read Table 1 and the GATE resource about managing behaviour
  • Write an example of a strategy to positively manage behaviour, that you have tried or observed in a classroom on the Week 2 forum and say why it worked or not. 
  • Note down any contributions that could be used or adapted for the context in which you work.

Table 1 : possible actions to positively manage disruptive behaviour

At the start of term

Work with the class to agree asset of class rules. Put them in groups and ask each group to contribute up to five rules. Draw them together to make a list of no more than 7.

Before the child misbehaves

Start the lesson by reminding everyone of the class rules and set the class a goal to achieve a certain number of rewards (marbles in the jar).

Praise and reward good behaviour

When the child first starts to disrupt

Praise and reward others’ good behaviour

After the lesson, or in a quiet period, ask the child about their behaviour and if they are anxious about anything.  

If the disruption continues

Talk kindly to the child about the class rules and success you want to see in the lesson

If the disruption continues

Give a warning of the low-level sanction e.g. missing 5 minutes of play time

If the disruption continues

Record that the child will miss 5 minutes of play time

If the disruption continues

Give the child a short time out of the lesson

From a student’s perspective, good behaviour is easier if there is a consistent approach across the school. For this reason, it is helpful if school’s have a policy in place which sets out the expectations for behaviour, the rewards and the sanctions. Even better, if creating the policy involves discussions with teachers and pupils. For example, pupils might be asked to suggest their own classroom rules for good behaviour. Once agreed, displaying it around the building will help to create a shared understanding of what good behaviour looks like and why it is important. What a positive behaviour policy might contain is discussed in the next section.