One of the biggest questions we get asked by support workers is about behaviour management in the classroom and how to support the teacher in charge. We have put together a handy guide to help manage behaviour in the classroom.
Observe and record
Classroom observations focus on a pupil’s behaviour and enable the support worker and teacher to better understand the individual. A support worker will observe the pupil over several lessons recording information such as:
Classroom observations focus on a pupil’s behaviour and enable the support worker and teacher to better understand the individual. A support
- Frequency of particular behaviour (e.g. shouting out, moving out of seat, ignoring instructions, distracting other learners)
- Reactions to different activities, people and environments (e.g. ‘Jack may be fine in PE where he can move about and enjoy a practical activity, but is not so good in literacy lesson, where there is a lot of listening expected and he sits in a group of lively boys’)
- Amounts of time spent on or off task and the amount of work completed, compared with their peers
- How different peers affect the pupil’s behaviour
- Strategies that seem to be effective
Discuss with the class teacher and review the information collected above to determine:
- What triggers unwanted behaviour?
- What that behaviour looks like?
- What works best in preventing / addressing it the behaviour?
Discuss The Behaviour With The Child/Parents
An important part of this process is talking to the child and gaining an understanding of their perspective.
Parents/carers may also be able to throw light on the causes of unwanted behaviour. For instance, impending divorce and regular arguments over breakfast resulted in significant emotional stress for a child in Year 6. He reacted by being angry with everyone, about everything. Only by talking to the parents was this issue uncovered and eventually resolved.
With careful thought, positive action may be taken straight away and can prove to be effective. Discussion and joint decision-making between the teacher and the support worker about these issues will help to ensure a consistent approach. Consider making changes to:
- How the teacher/support worker set out expectations, so that the children understand what is required of them by delivering clear instructions and explanations & use visual back-up where possible
- The level of difficulty of work given (too challenging – or too easy?)
- Seating position/grouping
- The amount of choice afforded to the child
- How to address constant fidgeting, perhaps providing a ‘stress ball’ or another way of occupying fidgety fingers
- How the teacher and the support worker relate to the child. Remembering to praise good behaviour (from any child) to model and reinforce; be particularly vigilant in praising the child in question (this may be for minor achievements to start with); condemn the misbehaving, but never the child
- Rewards and sanctions these have to be relevant to the child, properly understood and consistently applied
There will often be more than one aspect of a child’s behaviour that needs modifying, but it’s important to prioritise. Address one or two aspects at a time.
A behaviour plan, with SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-limited) targets can be drawn up with the child (and their parents / carers) and monitored by the support worker.