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 scenarios 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.
All of us thrive on praise and encouragement - it is far more effective (if properly handled) than criticism and punishment. This approach is as true for parents as it is for teachers, so working together to motivate pupils can be particularly helpful. It also lies at the very heart of a ‘behaviour for learning' approach. Children and young people of different ages have different attitudes to praise, particularly if it is public, so a variety of approaches may be necessary. What is appropriate for a five year old will not always go down well with a 6th former, and vice versa, that is not to say that older pupils do not need praise - it may just need to be given differently. Schools may have a preferred approach too.
Praise does not have to be effusive - simple signs of approval are sufficient. Pupils feel pleased when someone they respect shows them approval.
Approaches for different ages might include: a nod; thumbs up; smile; commendation/merit mark; team or house points; stars, stickers or stamps, or a note on good work or in planner/ home book; work displayed; letters or postcards home; commendation by senior staff; certificate; cup; praise in assembly; or an invitation to give a presentation to other pupils or staff. Perhaps the trainees could be asked to add to this list at this point or later (see slide 8). The aim would be to develop a scheme which is supportive and helpful and which the pupils find motivating. Good organization is needed. In particular, it is important to be consistent and fair.
Each scenario is supported by PowerPoint slides
These resources have been developed in association with Centre for Learning Behaviour Ltd. (CfLB)