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.
One of the frequently expressed concerns of trainee teachers when starting out with a class is how to set appropriate expectations and standards of behaviour.
Often the task is seen as a challenge to establish authority and a no-nonsense approach - typified by the old and somewhat misguided adage, "Don't smile until Christmas".
In behaviour for learning terms, the task of establishing a set of appropriate expectations can be seen as an opportunity to develop cooperative relationships and a common agreement and ownership of ‘behaviour standards' - an agreed and understood code of conduct rather than a list of infringements to be punished. This way of thinking will be familiar to tutors and mentors, as it is firmly established in current guidance on behaviour and attendance from DCSF.
Within these guidelines there is an understanding that effective rules are best framed in positive terms and form an agreement about how everyone in the group will behave so that learning can be maximised. Trainees should be alerted to the wider benefits to the teacher if opportunities to discuss the advantages of rules and to agree shared expectations with the class are taken. This fits in well with the SEAL-approach..
Much of this way of working will already be well-developed in placement schools, so that trainees will be able to experience it first-hand. This includes the school's own published ‘code of conduct' which will be part of their behaviour policy. It is obviously important for trainee teachers to fully understand the standards and expectations of the school and to use this as the starting point.
Each scenario is supported by PowerPoint slides
These resources have been developed in association with Centre for Learning Behaviour Ltd. (CfLB)