How to encourage good behaviour in your students

Classroom behaviour and discipline is one of the toughest challenges teachers face – in fact, classroom discipline is rated as one of the top four difficulties teachers face in public schools. Disruptive behaviour does not create a conducive learning environment, and ultimately wastes your time and your classes time.

Here are 6 ways to encourage good behaviour in your students

Keep consistent rules

Establish your classroom rules from the very first lesson. While you draw up your list of rules, ask your students for suggestions on what should be expected of them and how misbehaviour should be addressed. Students are far more likely to respond to rules they helped create.

Once you have your rules established, you need to follow them consistently with all your students – there can be no exceptions. As soon as you give one student leeway, everyone else will want the same thing.

Show R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Mutual respect, teachers! If you want to be respected by your students, you have to role model the correct behaviour to them. Showing respect to your learners includes listening to their needs, as well as preserving their dignity. Teenagers especially thrive on being treated as adults. 

Showing respect also means living up to their expectations of you, such as greeting them at the beginning of class or returning marked assignments on time.

Plan quality lessons

Have you ever been to a boring workshop, conference or training? When you’re bored instead of engaged, it is difficult to pay attention and you find yourself fidgeting. The same goes for students in your classroom – boredom and frustration often lead to disruptive behaviour.

Design lessons that are engaging, with activities scattered throughout. Where possible, allow your students to do their own research and discover information for themselves. No pupil is going to concentrate on the sound of your voice for 45 minutes straight.

Stick to a discipline strategy

Address student misbehaviour in a consistent manner. This can be difficult for teachers who find many different strategies on how to deal with behaviour in the classroom (such as logical consequences, behaviour management, and assertive discipline).

The point is to find a strategy that works for you, and stick to it. Chopping and changing your discipline style indicates a lack of decisiveness, which your students may try to take advantage of.

Model correct behaviour

You may need to remind yourself to follow the class rules. For example, if you ask students not to eat in class, refrain from doing it yourself. We all have a lunch time!

It’s very easy for students to abandon the rules when they see someone else do the same without consequence, so make sure that you are following your own rules.

Get their full attention

Make sure you have the attention of every single student before you tell them anything. If they’re not focused on you, they’re not listening to your instructions.

Ensuring that they are listening from the get-go will ensure that you don’t repeat yourself, and that they don’t plague fellow learners with questions of “what must I do?”.

Creating an environment in which students follow the rules is challenging, but not impossible. With these tips in place you can lay a foundation for positive behaviour that lasts all year!

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