Classroom Practice


It's always good practice to evaluate and reflect on the lessons you teach but try and do this as objectively as possible. Especially, if it has been a lesson you are less than happy with, learn from your mistakes but distance yourself from the experience.

Your lesson plans will always be an indicator of lesson outcomes so use these as an effective tool in future planning. Comparisons of lesson plans and lesson experiences/outcomes are very useful ways of learning how to make changes, improve your teaching and perform better.

In regard to behaviour management, keeping a diary of incidents again helps you to reflect on your management of certain situations and enables you to consider how to deal with them differently in the future.

Planning lessons

Lessons you teach need to be very carefully planned in order to meet the needs of all the children you teach but in addition a well prepared lesson also minimises bad behaviour. You should always aim to challenge the children you teach by making their learning as interesting as possible. When children are involved and interested in activities they tend to learn more and are less likely to become involved in bad behaviour.


When you meet a class for the first time it is important to demonstrate to the children that you have high expectations of them both in their learning and their behaviour. Initially if you do not have access to the school’s Behaviour Management Policy, it is often helpful to engage pupils in creating an agreed set of ‘Class Rules’. Once the ‘Class Rules’ have been developed ensure they are made visible in the classroom. The children/young people are much more likely to adhere to a set of ‘Class Rules’ that they have developed as it gives them a sense of ownership. They can be used to remind pupils of these agreed expectations when they fail to comply. Once you do gain access to a school’s Behaviour Management Policy please ensure the ‘Class Rules’ sit within this overall framework.


Consistency is one of, if not the most important aspect of behaviour management and but can be the most arduous and trying at times. If you say that you expect X on Monday, then you have to expect it on Tuesday and Wednesday, if not you leave the children and young people very confused and with the impression that ‘what you say is not always what you do’. Pupils will always be looking for chink in your armour and once they find it they will do their best to hack away at it. Children prefer structure and consistency as it provides them with a sense of security.

Rewards and Modelling Good Behaviour

Most schools offer some sort of reward system to their pupils for example a Class Points System or Golden Time. When children consistently follow the ‘Class Rules’ this should be acknowledged and rewarded, examples of such rules could be punctuality or adherence to class policy regarding the asking and answering of questions. Focus your attention on good behaviour and ensure that you reward it accordingly as pupils always appreciate their good behaviour being noticed.

Some teachers like to introduce their own reward system to respond to positive and negative behaviour. If you do consider this as an option you must always check that your own system conforms to the school’s policy.

Children and young people learn from each other and it is important to acknowledge good behaviour publicly so that other pupils can learn from their peers.

Staff Support

Regardless of your experience there will always be occasions when teachers need to ask for support from their colleagues. It is always helpful to pick up tips and information from the teachers you work with. Teaching Assistants are also a very good source of information about the school you are working in.

Start and Finishing Times

Whether it be the beginning of the day and or the beginning of a lesson it is important to do this as efficiently as possible. It is also important to ensure that the children are aware of your expectations of their behaviour at these times.

Pupils need to ensure they have the right equipment or that you have provided the correct equipment, they need be sitting in the right place and they should turn off their mobile phones. They should fully understand that once a lesson has started there should not be any disturbances. All good lessons start with a clear indication of the learning outcomes that should be achieved by the end of the lesson.

Lessons at the end of the day also need to be concluded in an orderly manner. Try to ensure you stay on top of your timekeeping so you do not have to rush the end of the lesson as this can lead to chaos.

Negative Behaviour

The better you get to know your pupils the better able you will be to prevent behavioural problems from occurring. When meeting a new class for the first time you will find that parents, teaching assistants and other teachers are a good source of information.

It is always important to address negative behaviour but the starting point in relation to that behaviour should always be the task you have given the pupil. You must always ensure that each child is engaging in a learning activity that is appropriate to their attainment level. Children often try and disguise their inability to cope with a learning activity by disengaging themselves and distracting others.

Headteachers expect teachers to manage behaviour in a calm and professional manner. Therefore you need to find strategies that will enable you to do this. For some pupils "the look" is enough to ensure they stop what they are doing for others it may require a calm "stop" with a hand signal. Ensure that you provide a consequence to negative behaviour if it is repeated. The less attention drawn to bad behaviour the better as pupils not only learn to behave well from each other but conversely they also learn how to behave badly.

When a pupil behaves badly it is important to talk with them about their behaviour at a more appropriate time e.g. playtime or lunch time. Sometimes there is a reason for the behaviour and discussing this with a child may prevent further bad behaviour.

Pupils need to be given choices regarding their behaviour so they understand that if they do X then Y will happen and if they choose A then B will be their reward. If bad behaviour becomes consistent then a verbal warning may be necessary. It is often productive to raise the tone of your voice slightly so that the child/children can recognise the change in your response to their actions. Consistent bad behaviour needs to be followed through the consequences.

Examples of such consequences are

• Moving a pupil so they cannot be distracted or to prevent them from distracting others
• Keeping a pupil behind after class, during their break time or their lunch period
• Loss of points from the school reward system
• Loss of privileges
• Withdrawing a pupil from whole school fun activities
• Referring a child to a senior member of staff
• Contacting a pupil’s parents/carers
• Detention

Use of any of the suggested consequences should only be adopted if they are in line with each individual school’s Behaviour Management Policy.