16. Behaviour management

Most children appreciate being in a well-managed classroom with few behaviour problems.

Some of the most important points in behaviour management:

  • Active, varied, interesting lessons reduce behaviour problems.
  • When you ask your students to be quiet, don’t let them continue talking. Wait until they are quiet before talking, don’t allow students to talk at the same time as you.
  • Be aware of what your students are doing and notice good and bad behaviour.
  • Deal with misbehaviour using ‘1–2–3’
    1. Warn the student their behaviour is wrong: ‘Jack I need you to stop talking’.
    2. Warn them again: ‘Jack, if you don’t stop talking you will need to …’ offering an appropriate punishment for not following your instructions.
    3. Carry out the threat: ‘Jack, take your stuff and move seat to here’.
  • Choose appropriate punishments:
    • For talking, moving a pupil often stops the chat because the pupil is moved from their friends.
    • Chat with the student about their behaviour after class.
    • Keep the student in class after school – detention.
    • Ask the student to write a letter explaining why their behaviour was wrong and how they will change it.
    • Call in the student’s parent to discuss the behaviour.
    • Ban the student from school for a day. This is for serious offences.
    • Expel the student from school. This should be a last resort.

Some other thoughts:

  • Be fair. Sometimes one child steals something. The other child reacts and gets into trouble.
  • Young children are more likely to get distracted than older ones. So be more lenient with them.
  • Stay calm and don’t lose your temper.
  • Children should not be surprised to receive a punishment.
  • Students behave better when they are in the classroom of a teacher that they like and respect.
  • Avoid punishing an entire class for the actions of one student.
  • Set clear expectations for the students regularly. At the start of a course I ask the class to tell me how they should behave. I agree with most suggestions and then share my expectations:
    • Try your best to do well.
    • Bring a pencil and exercise book to all lessons.
    • Arrive on time.
    • Be quiet and listen when another student or the teacher is talking.
    • Try and think of good questions to ask in lessons.
    • Ask for help when stuck (friends first).
  • Students like to have clear rules about what is right and wrong.
  • Have clear school rules. It is easier to enforce rules if all teachers are enforcing them.


What challenges do you have with behaviour in your lessons? How can you deal with it?