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The Ten Good Habits to Acquire

1.Dominate the room

Use eye contact, speak slowly and stay still. Smile and stand straight. If you look and sound like you expect to be listened to, then this is far more likely to happen.

2.Take action early

What you ignore, you approve. Every single behaviour that you don’t want, must be addressed – it might be in a low key way, such as standing near to the pupil who is off –task, so long as they know that you are responding. If you accept poor behaviour you’ll be given more.

3. Be persistent

If it’s ‘hands up’ to answer questions then it is hands up and no exceptions. Praise those who do it right and challenge those who don’t: “Hands up, thank you”. If you persist they will do it right eventually. This is another aspect of ‘teaching behaviour’.

4. Teach behaviour

Think through your lesson – what precise behaviours do pupils need to demonstrate today if it’s going to be a success? For example if they are doing some peer assessment they’ll need to actively listen and to give constructive feedback. Those skills need to be taught.  If you wade into your content hoping that ‘behaviour’ won’t happen you are asking for trouble.

5. Use routines

Your signal for attention e.g.  ‘let’s have a quality audience on 5..4..’, the signal they are required to give you e.g  ‘hands up to answer’, the lining up, the formal register, the collection of homework, the distribution of equipment and countless other features of each lesson are opportunities to use routines so that good behaviour becomes a habit. These routines need breaking down into small steps and teaching ‘by rote’.

6. Take them as they could be, not as they are A quote from Haim Ginott:

“If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”

We should take every opportunity to point out our pupils’ better selves to them and to remind them of their potential. Every young person needs to know that there is an adult who believes in them. As teachers we are in a great position to be that person.

7. Apply the rules

Can you quote the golden rules? You should use them all the time. You may or may not be bothered by chewing or headphones – but, just like parents, the united front shown by staff is vital. You’ll stand or fall by your willingness to insist that the rules are followed and by your persistence in following up.

8. Be ‘least intrusive’

Always be as low-key as the situation will allow. From a privately understood signal to screaming in a child’ face is a long journey and short cuts must only be taken in exceptional circumstances. If you let-loose your tactical nuke because someone forgot to bring a pen, where do you go from there?

9. Show respect and demand it

No one calls you ‘man’, not ever! Remind pupils that you are showing them respect and  be clear about how exactly what respect looks and sounds like. The tough part is showing respect to pupils whose behaviour is not praise worthy. It is so tempting to be edgy and sarcastic with pupils who push our buttons but if we can resist that temptation and just be grounded in our responses you’ll be paid back time and time again. I have this confirmed for me first hand every week.

10. Use scripts

One way to stay calm is to use scripts. Think of the behaviours that annoy you the most and compose least-intrusive scripts e.g. “Sitting up on your chair, thanks Eric” or “Back to your seat thank you Callum” so that when these irritations occur we are less likely to, in the words of the great Bill Rogers, go ‘guts to gob’.


For an inspiring , entertaining and practically useful day on behaviour book a place on Effective Behaviour Management Made Simple’ Course

Why should you hire me?

Here are some of the issues that I can help you sort: If the answers to any of the issues to the right is yes then get in touch – you have found the man you are looking for!

But you don't need to take it from me, have a look at my testimonials page.

If you have:

  • Some of your staff keep getting into unnecessary confrontations with pupils?
  • Some staff struggle to deal with social chatter?
  • Subject leaders who don’t take the lead on behaviour for learning
  • Head of house/year who are buried in the reactive and want to be proactive?

If you want to:

  • Improve attendance?
  • Improve behaviour?
  • Deliver SEAL whole school
  • Get help with the behaviour and safety SEF?
  • Have better behaviour and attendance data?
  • Get PLTS embedded?
  • Get pupil voice working?

And also:

Do you want the best whole staff behaviour CPD at an affordable cost?

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