When you start a new job in a new school there is so much to learn. One of the most important aspects within an NQT's role is managing classroom behaviour.
Its much easier to prevent bad behaviour than react to it. This will allow newly qualified teachers to focus on what they are teaching their pupils rather than their actions.
So what can Newly Qualified Teachers do to prevent bad behaviour?
1. Don't dwell on the past
First of all don't dwell on the past, whether it was behaviour incidents from your previous school, a lesson you a have just taught or a different class.
By always putting your energy on reliving past incidents you won't spend energy on the here and now. You could keep a diary of incidents, write down what happened, how you would deal with it differently the next time then turn the page and never look back.
2. Fast-paced lessons
Every lesson you teach needs to be fast-paced and offer a variety of challenge that is relative to your class. We all know that when inspired children become more involved in activities they learn more and are less likely to get involved in behaviour problems within the class.
3. Instil standards
From the very first lesson instil some standards and expectation. Perhaps get the pupils to decide what these standards should be themselves. Make sure they are visible in the classroom and remind pupils of the standards when they slip out of line, more importantly reward those that meet these standards reguarly. Things to focus on are punctuality, keeping the classroom tidy and agreeing ways that pupils can speak during class, especially when asking questions. By envolving the pupils in these standards you will demonstrate that you care about their views and oppinions and you are also giving them a sense of ownership.
4. Use other people around you for help
Don't forget there is no shame in asking for help. The better you get to know your pupils the better you can prevent behavioural problems from occuring. Use the Teaching Assistants, parents and other teachers in the school to get as much information about your pupils as possible.
5. Settling and finnishing time
A small amount of time at the start and the end of a lesson is imperative. Before you start make the pupils aware that they have 5 minutes to say "hi" to their friends, find the right equipment, sit in the right place and turn all their phones off. Make it clear that after these 5 minutes there should be no disturbances. This will stop any disturbance during the lesson which often interpets the flow and can ignite bad behaviour. The class should settle pretty quickly which will give you time to do a fun brain-teasing game to get their brains work. After this period of time you can then set out expectations of the lesson and what you will be teaching. Towards the end of a lesson allow for a few minutes to conclude your lesson and warn the pupils to tidy up and leave in an orderly fashion.
6. Come up with unique reward schemes
Whilst the school's reward or punishment structure is essential to responding to negative or positive behaviour, when a pupil receives something that is unique and special, no matter the value of the reward it means the world to them. On top of that you can instil reward schemes that suit the needs of the classroom. You might be spending a lot of time correcting bad behaviour from the majority of class and failing to recognise the small amount of good behaviour going on with a select few. By focusing your attention on rewarding good behaviour the group may recognise this and respond to it positively, especially if the rewards are tailored to their tastes and hobies. All of this will allow you to then focus on the teaching.
7. All actions have consequences
It is imperative that negative behaviour is addressed. First of all give the pupil what we all call "the look" and a calm "stop" with a hand signal. After this explain to the pupil simply what behaviour or action they have completed that is wrong. Ensure that you provide a consequence to this behaviour if it is repeated. If the pupil repeats the behaviour provide him or her with one more verbal warning, this time raise the tone of your voice slightly. If the child repeats the action you must follow through the consequences with them. These could be, depending on the situation:
- Loss of points from the school reward system
- A call home to their parents
- Send the child to a senior member of staff
- Loss of privaleges or fun whole school activities
- Moving the pupil
- Sending them to a time out room that the school may have
- Keep them behind after class in their lunch or break time
It is imperative that you get to the bottom of the behaviour, which again may prevent the behaviour in the future.