Matt McGuire, PGCE Trainee reflects on what he learnt from the Behaviour Conference
Plato said that “all learning has an emotional base” suggesting that behaviour puts a student’s feelings on display, so teachers need to know exactly what to say to enable students to process the information and get on with it. The workhops focussed on how we as teachers can act in ways where good behaviour is inevitable and bad behaviour is rare. Throughout the day it became clear that the most significant factor is the quality of the teacher, and how behaviour is something that is taught rather something that is managed. As a teacher it is important to not only know but also understand the tools at our disposal including voice and body language. Looking at scenarios, I learnt the importance of planning for behaviour through understanding student’s backgrounds in order to implement appropriate strategies. Although reflection is important, it is important not to dwell on the negatives and instead learn from them. Finally, I learnt that when teaching behaviour, students can be motivated in different ways. Teachers must decide which technique is most appropriate to use, depending on the individual situation.
Florelena Galvis, SD PGCE Trainee reflects on the day and what she personally gained.
Last Friday’s Behaviour Conference provided a great opportunity for teacher trainees to discuss and understand a topic that is central in today’s teaching classrooms: behaviour management. The conference opened with a lecture about “Behaviour and/for Learning”, by Dr Simon Gibbs, Reader in Educational Psychology. In this talk, Dr Gibbs focused on how teachers could turn poor behaviour into positive learning by creating classroom routines and adopting strategies that would directly address students’ anxieties, reminding us all that a significant portion of the nation’s pupils are excluded every year due to undesirable performances in the classroom. How can teachers make a difference in children’s learning process?
A series of workshops continued, initiated by a discussion about why students behave the way they do. In this first session trainees learnt about the nature of behaviour, which was defined as “thoughts and feelings in display”, meaning that pupils carry with them “bags of stress and fears” caused by situations at home, outside home or maybe even at school, and that we teachers need to take this into consideration. The following session concentrated on behaviour management techniques and strategies, and presented a very effective way to minimise poor behaviour in the classroom: see everybody, hear what is going on, communicate clearly and uses body language appropriately. The next workshop encouraged a discussion that involved real classroom scenarios and effective ways to deal with these that would promote a safe learning environment within the classroom. For example, a good way to deal with a misbehaving student is to give them choices where the responsibility for changing their behaviour around falls entirely on them. The final session referred to how teachers can help improve behaviour for learning by incorporating tactics in their lesson plans that account for any opportunity of misbehaviour or prevent misconduct from escalating.
All four workshops presented several ways that teacher can deal with poor behaviour effectively in the classroom, and a common conclusion from all four meetings was that teaching is an emotional profession, and that teachers must control their emotions and reactions in front of every occurrence of poor behaviour, no matter how bad this is, in order to be able to successfully deal with them.
The behaviour conference was not only exciting and enjoyable, but also very enriching in arguments and answers. It allowed trainees to think about possible behaviour situations that could threaten the progress of their lessons and potentially turn into a build-up of whole-class poor conduct. The conference provided a fertile base for participants to think about ideas and strategies that could be put in place to minimise poor behaviour and to maximise learning. Trainees left the conference feeling more confident about managing students’ behaviour, and willing to try different techniques that could help them secure behaviour for learning and, more importantly, overcome their apprehensions about behaviour management.