Improving the behaviour of pupils to maximise learning is one of the most difficult challenges facing student teachers. It is the topic they most frequently request yet at times little time is allocated for it in most ITT programmes. In order to help students to develop the skills required, 26 scenarios have been created for subject tutors to use with groups of trainee teachers as a part of their training programme. The materials are equally suitable for use as the basis for short courses on behaviour improvement and for use by mentors in schools.
Whilst tutors and mentors may already be familiar with much of the content of the scenarios, the resource draws together information for those who wish to:
- be reminded about the key concepts in behaviour for learning
- see further explanation of the learning methodology
- receive assistance with planning a session
- be provided with links to resources and further information.
The senarios are designed to slot into an existing ITT programme and to be flexible and adaptable. Although they present one or more answers in each case, they do not cover every aspect of each problem; moreover, the scenarios represent a selection from some of those which might be encountered by trainees and early-career teachers. There will obviously be different solutions to different situations and tutors and mentors will be able to elaborate on these and discuss them as appropriate. The suggested approaches do follow current good practice guidelines about improving behaviour for learning but are not intended to be exhaustive or prescriptive.
The opportunity for reflection, trying out different approaches, discussion, further reflection and the development of good practice are important features of these resources.
Scenario 1: Outline
This topic links closely with Scenario 2 - ‘Gaining the attention of a noisy class' - and the two can obviously be usefully combined. However, the emphasis in Scenario 1 is more about establishing those routines and procedures that assist the teacher in starting lessons quickly by settling pupils into a learning mode.
The importance of this issue can be underlined by considering the long-term impact on behaviour for learning of a disorderly start to lessons and its effect on attitudes for learning. There are also pupil safety issues to consider - for example, the start of a lesson is often a "hot spot", when bullying or other inappropriate behaviour can occur.
Settling a class and gaining their attention, is one of the most frequently raised behaviour management issue for trainee teachers (and sometimes for qualified teachers!) because it involves the most common behaviour change required of pupils during a lesson.
It is a particular challenge at the start of a lesson when settling pupils not only requires them to change activity but also to adjust from one learning or social environment to another. So achieving an orderly start to a lesson with a challenging group draws on many of the basic principles of behaviour improvement. The process of ‘turning on' a whole class to learning depends on having established routines and knowing what works in different circumstances - this can be a tall order for a trainee who does not have the benefit of experience in a school to achieve this. Tutors and mentors will want to reassure trainees that the more effective teachers, are not only well qualified technically they have also become astute observers and analysts of social behaviour: this process will take time.
This Scenario can also assist in promoting knowledge and understanding of the underlying principles for changing activity in a group and provide opportunities for trainees to model the processes involved in starting up lessons in different situations. Emphasis can usefully be made that repeated practice, and reflection on that practice in school settings, alongside discussion with mentors and experienced teachers, are the most important stages in embedding a repertoire of approaches to starting lessons in an orderly way.
Each scenario is supported by PowerPoint slides
These resources have been developed in association with Centre for Learning Behaviour Ltd. (CfLB)