Inthis assignment, I will be exploring how schools manage behaviour and classroomenvironment. I will make reference to appropriate written materials andobservations from my Placement.
I will assess a range of practical strategiesand approaches for effective behaviour management. Evaluate the factors thatcontribute towards an effective learning environment .I will describe theprofessional requirement and values of teacher in order to build positiverelationships, that secure the best results for children. Finally, demonstratethe ability to affect professional practice through personal reflection.
Behaviourcan be observed and measured, generally meaning “How an organism acts upon the environment inwhich they live, it changes the environment in ways that affect the organismitself” (Ferster& Skinner, 1957, pp 1, cited by Pierce and Cheney, 2004). BehaviourManagement is essential to a successful and positive learning experience anddirectly links to classroom environment. Teachers must enforce variousstrategies, including rewards and sanctions in order to create an effectivelearning atmosphere.
Fraser argues that classroom environment is a “Subtle and nebulous notion’, embracing’climate, ambience, tone, atmosphere and ethos” (Fraser, 1989, p. 307 cited by Haydn, 2014).Thereare three types of learning environment: physical, emotional and respectful.The physical environment consists of working walls, table arrangement, light,cushions, and plants. The emotional environment, means the teacher creates awelcoming environment in which everyone feels optimistic, accepted and wanted.
The respectful environment compromises of pupils feeling respected andappreciated.Thebook ‘Getting the buggers to behave’ (Sue Cowley, 2010) discusses a rangeof effective strategies and approaches for behaviour management including theimportance of ‘Establishing your expectations’. Making children aware of theprecise rules and values is essential. This ensures children see you as assertive,in charge of the teaching and the classroom. She also mentions adapting the useof language and rules for the appropriate age group. For example, for earlyyears a rule could be ‘We always listento each other’, this is clear and can be understood well by youngerchildren meaning they are more likely to follow this set rule. Setting highexpectations results in good behaviour as well as positive relationshipsbecause children will feel like the teacher believes in them. Anotherstrategy that Sue Cowley (2010) mentions is that once expectations are setcommunicating in an ‘unambiguous’ wayis crucial, using words such as ‘Iexpect’, ‘I need’ and ‘We’.
Ibelieve communication is a two way street because it is imperative for childrento be able to communicate and the teacher to listen, this is a significantvalue and requirements on behalf of teachers to build on their listening skillsin order to build good relationships hence generate better outcomes forchildren hence, leading to better behaviour. An effective practical strategy is thatteachers are ‘interested’ in their pupils by building positive relationships,this reinforces good behaviour. Many behaviour issues come from the lack ofinterest in the subject or topic being studied therefore, knowing children’sinterests such as “The Simpsons,Minecraft and One direction” allows you to be able to incorporate theseideas into lessons, as well as using this to come up with suitable rewards thatchildren would truly be determined to work hard for (Appendix 1). Establishingexpectations was evident in my placement as most children were aware of rulesand requirements (Appendix 1). The teacher sets ‘high expectations’ and is confident that the children will followthe rules. After a P.E lesson outside the teacher told the children to be quietas “other children are in lesson so I expect you to be on your best behaviour”,the use of language was effective as the teacher was assertive, this approachhad a powerful influence on the children’s behaviour.
This links to SueCrowley’s book (2010) as she emphasises how important expectations are in’effective behaviour management’ in order for children to know the teacher is seriousabout rules. Teacher standards (DfE, 2011) are met in terms of behaviour asteachers “have high expectations ofbehaviour, and establish a framework for discipline with a range of strategy”.The rules are clearly presented on a large paper in the classroom so childrenare constantly aware of what they need to do. Theteachers and children have a good relationship which results in positiveoutcomes. The teacher knows the children’s interests which he uses in thelessons to make it engaging and interesting for the children (Appendix 1). Forexample in a science lesson on teeth the teacher related this to ‘Jurassicworld’ explaining the difference between human teeth and animal teeth, thechildren all enjoyed the learning and were more able to attain the importantinformation.
The rewards given to children are based on their interests andparents are informed of reward assemblies to celebrate their child’s behaviour,this makes children more determined to behave, for example, rewards include’each term teachers will nominate a child who has achieved Gold consistently toattend a ‘Head teachers Party'(School Behaviour policy,2016) IvanPavlov’s experiment with dogs can belinked to behaviour of humans to rewards and sanctions. Pavlov’s experimentconsisted of dogs in a chamber presented with meat powder and the salivacollected in a tube. He noticed that the dogs began salivation before offeredwith the meat powder due to sounds of the machine that distributes the meatpowder or simply by the presence of the meat provider. From this, Pavlov usedthe ringing of a bell when the meat was given to the dogs various times untilthe bell was rung alone. From his predictions the dogs salivated just from thesound of the bell which acted as a stimuli. The pairing of the bell to thestimulus caused the dogs to salivate. In other words the meat powder is’unconditioned stimulus’ and the bell is ‘conditioned stimulus’ (Pavlov, 2003,cited by David 2014).
Pavlov’stheory links to rewards used in schools, the reason being is that children aremotivated by rewards and associate good behaviour with praise. For example, ifa child produces good work they may be rewarded a sticker or a raffle ticket,this instantly makes other children realise the consequence for good work.Similarly, when bad behaviour is punished e.
g. disruptive talking in lesson canbe punished by moving down the behaviour chart, therefore other children willrealise and associate that kind of behaviour with that punishment. This willmake children aware of what behaviour is expected of them, what consequencestheir actions have as well as making them wary of the decision they make. Thisis what many teachers require and value in order to create the best outcomesfor children.
DuringPlacement I was able to observe numerous kinds of behaviour and ways in whichthe teacher used rewards and sanctions appropriately (Appendix 1). Badbehaviour had a number of consequences in order to teach children a valuablelesson .The school use a colour chart for behaviour and attitude. This consistsof Gold, Silver and Green meaning that children are behaving exceptionally overa long period of time. However, Red and amber means the child has beendisruptive and refuses to follow the school rules. Once the child is moved onthe chart the next step is a five minute ‘time out’ followed by the child beingsent to a class next door, play/lunchtime detention, Class exclusion andfinally fixed term exclusions. These consequences are put in to practicedepending on the severity of the behaviour. Good behaviour is alwaysappreciated and rewarded with either of the following; points that can be usedin the Hodge hill reward shop, postcards home, behaviour awards and much more(Behaviour policy,2016).
The use of Dojo Points is effective because when pointare given and taken away it makes a loud sound, which grabs the children’sattention, it also creates competition in class. Parents are also able to keepa record of their child’s behaviour which means children are more encouraged tobehave well (Appendix 1). This is an effective strategy to behaviour managementand meets teacher standard seven ‘using praise, sanctions and rewardsconsistently and fairly’ (DfE, 2011)In anEnglish lesson ‘child A’ shouted an inappropriate phrase saying ‘That’sracists’, the teacher remained calm and controlled, immediately told the childto move their name to Amber on the behaviour chart (Appendix 1). However, thechild persisted and continued being disruptive in the lesson, which resulted in’Time Out table to consider their Behaviour and Attitudes to Learning’ (Schoolbehaviour policy, 2016).The teacher then used an effective behaviour strategywhich consisted of sitting with the child to reflect on his behaviour. He askedthe child what they did wrong and what would happen if they continue behavingthe way they did.
He finally ended the talk with suggesting an positive way ofbehaving i.e. “why don’t you sit here for a couple more minutes, continue withyour work and if you carry on like that for the rest of the day you would berewarded”, this caused the child to change his behaviour instantly because hewas motivated extrinsically and wanted to get the reward, linking to Pavlov’stheory the child realised the consequence and associated the good behaviour hestarted putting into practise to the reward he was getting which had asimultaneous effect on behaviour .However, “Extrinsicrewards have been found to reduce intrinsic motivation”(Beswick,2009).
Pupils at the school are constantlytold ‘if you do good work you will be rewarded ‘For example I heard the teachersay in a P.E lesson “Whoever is ready will move to Gold and get a raffle” (Appendix1), this has a negative impact on learning and behaviour as they will alwaysexpect rewards for good behaviour which means they are not taught to motivatethemselves intrinsically hence children will struggle to continue goodbehaviour where rewards are not given. TheOfsted report (2015) of the school states that the ‘Behaviour isgood and pupils feel very safe in school’. This means that Teacher standardseven is evident in school (DfE, 2011) which states that ‘Manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment’.
Ofsted(2014) “Below the Radar” converses the idea of the impact of low leveldisruption such as ‘talking unnecessarily or chatting. The negative impact isthat ‘pupils are losing an hour of learning each day’. This kind of behaviourhas a serious impact on not just the lesson but the life chances of pupils.Throughout placement I realised that ‘talking or chatting’ is the most commonbehaviour issue. With this, teachers simply follow the behaviour policy andschool rules to deal with it accordingly.
On theother hand, Tom Bennett (2017) “creating a culture” discusses the importance of the school leaders rather than teachersand parents in maintaining good behaviour. Tom believes “strong leadershipcould offer even greater possibilities for driving better behaviour in schools”.In my placement school, teachers discuss ways to better behaviour in theschool, they constantly reflect on ways of improving. I believe self-reflectionis vital for professional development and in order to constantly betterteaching and classroom environment which creates better outcomes for children.School staff are therefore meeting teacher standard eight which explains’fulfilling wider professional responsibilities’ as staff are seeking advicefrom each other and school leaders creating a positive culture in the school.The school’s Ofsted report (2015) claims “Thehead teacher provides strong and much focused leadership”, this issignificant as it will provide the foundation in which the school needs to succeedoverall.