Behaviour Management and Classroom Environment

3728 words (15 pages) Essay in Teaching

08/02/20 Teaching Reference this

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Introduction:

In this assignment I will be exploring the various behaviour management strategies used within schools and what an effective classroom environment requires. I will be referring to both written materials and my own placement experience to show how these are then implemented in my school. Behaviour management is crucial in schools as for effective teaching to take place behaviour needs to be controlled. Besides this the classroom environment also has an important role in children’s learning as they would need to feel safe, supported and have a sense of belonging.

Behaviour management:

Through my taught sessions and general research, behaviour can be defined how someone acts or behaves either positively or negatively.  Positive behaviour could include being focused, completing your work on time or listening to the teacher (Dictionary 2018). Behaviour management therefore refers to ways this behaviour is managed in schools through using a whole school approach. Teachers can effectively manage behaviour through creating a more warm and welcoming environment that encourages positive behaviour and form positive relationships with children. These positive relationships are extremely important as children feel valued and cared for so are more likely to behave in the classroom. Through using behaviour management strategies, poor behaviour can be eliminated as teachers have a guide on how to effecting manage a disruptive classroom.

One effective behaviour management strategies put in place is proactive and reactive strategies. Being proactive are those strategies that have already been put in place for teachers to ensure that problematic behaviour is prevented. Sharing these strategies is effective as children would be more aware of what is expected of them in the school environment and consequence if they were to misbehave (Tanwar et al 2015). For example the teacher could clearly display the class rules across the classroom expressing them in a positive and non-ambiguous way (Rogers 2000). These rules should be reviewed frequently so children know what behaviour is acceptable and what is not so they can abide by them. As a teacher this is extremely important as children can’t blame their unacceptable behaviour on not understand the rules and expectations. While observing in my placement I noticed the teacher had the same routine each day with the children they would come in say ‘good morning, hang their coats and wait for instructions from the teacher. This was a very effective way of implementing routine at the start as so children didn’t misbehave or be unware of what they had to do eliminating bad behaviour.

Reactive strategies may be used when proactive classroom management strategies are not effective enough. This involves the consequence after the negative behaviour has occurred to help children improve that behaviour, so it doesn’t occur again. (Tanwar et al 2015). Some reactive strategies may include giving the child time out when they misbehave so they have time to reflect, calm down and understand why their behaviour was unacceptable. This ensures that the problematic behaviour is dealt with quickly and effectively and children are aware what will happen if they misbehave again providing an example to the other children. Research by Tom Bennet (2017) suggested that while having in place various reactive and proactive strategies a strong leadership was also extremely important and determined how well a school manages behaviour overall. Even though, it’s the teacher’s responsibility to effectively manage behaviour in class they need to be supported by senior leader that provide them with a clear direction.

During placement as part of their school policy giving an initial warning was the first protocol when dealing with inappropriate behaviour. For example while observing, one child was constantly distracting others the way the teacher handled this was by speaking in a calm tone telling the child their behaviour was disruptive and gave them time out and had to sit next to them. This effective reactive strategy can be used in my own practice to ensure the child knows the consequence for the behaviour before they carry out that negative behaviour.

Another theorist who has contributed to effectively managing behaviour is Canter (1976) who developed the Assertive discipline as a systematic approach to classroom management (Universal class 2018). This invlvoves the teachers asserting their authority in the class, this can be done through reinforcing positive behaviour e.g. praising children and discouraging bad behaviour by dealing with it calming and consistently throughout. Therefore, being able to effectively manage the behaviour is down to the teacher’s ability to creating well planned and structred lessons to ensure children get the best learning. Setting up simple psotive rules and consistnely carrying out rotuines so standards do not fall. Setting up behavioural expectation at the start is crucial as children know exactly what is deemed right and wrong in terms of their behaviour. This allows for undesirable behaviour to be minimised as children are more aware of the rules and know if they are broken then sanctions will be given.

During placement it became clear for a positive behaviour system to effectively work the teacher had to be consistent when implementing these rules. One way this was done is through creating psotive relationships to build an intial trust and respct to ensure that negative behaviour is kept at a minimum. The bond between the two ensured that children tired their best and werte over all more happy. I observed the teacher making sure that they engaged with each child and not child was left out, so they felt a sense of belonging and wanted by the teacher while they were there. This has been reinforced by Vygotsky (1962) that’s states an appropriate affective relationship between the child and teacher makes them feel safe and looked after in the environment so they feel more comfortable and more likely to contribute.

According to Skinner (1960), positive reinforcement is an effective behaviour management approach as it strengths the desired behaviour (Husson 2018). Rewards could include verbal or written praises or displaying good work on the display board. Skinner contributes to operant conditioning which proposed that a child would make an association between a behaviour and what the consequence might be. So, if they behave good and receive a sticker then they are more likely to carry on behaving like that as they are being rewarded (Kids development 2018). At the same time having in place sanction that need to be consistent is also important. Sanctions are used to respond to poor behaviour in schools based on the school’s behaviour management policy so behaviour is corrected. For example, giving children verbal warning for the occurring behaviour to stop or teaching children how they should behave so they can make the change and make sure it doesn’t happen again. It is extremely important that the teacher ensures that they are consistent with what they do so children are less likely to misbehave as they know the consequences.

One important strategy used during placement throughout the school was having in place a class point system to effectively manage behaviour based on their behaviour policy looking at the psotive approaches to manage the behave. An online computer system was used; Class dojo to award points to the whole class or each individual child. This was an effective tool used to manage behaviour as the teacher wpuld award points anytime they saw a desried behaviour fo example behaving well and completing work on time. This really motivated the children as they wanted to receive the most points each child would try their best to behaviour well and follow rules to receive points. At the end of the week the teacher made it clear to the children that the child with the most points would win a price for themselves for example someone won a toy. If the whole class did exceptionally well they would be awarded extra play time. This was really effective as all children wanted extra playtime so encouraged each other to behave well and the teacher was aware of that and used it to their advantage. (refer to appendixes)

At the school rewards were regularly used to effectively manage behaviour. Verbal praise and stickers was the most used tool for exhibiting positive behaviour children were told ‘well done’ and their name would be specified this instantly made a child happy and want to repeat that behaviour. There was a star of a week in which children would get nominated and praised at the end for their hard work. The parent would be notified as well as the head teacher this reward was extremely positive as each child wanted that privilege of being on top and their parents know about it, further reinforcing that positive behaviour. Once a child had completed work to a high standard or improved tremendously they were sent to the headteacher go get praised and receive a sticker, children would imitate the behaviour observed as they want to also be recognised. Furthermore, it is important that a reward system is established as children feel a sense of achievement if their behaviour is rewarded, each child should be acknowledged to make it equal and fair.

At placement a variety of different behaviour management approach were used within that class to deal with low level disruption. For example once the children are very active to effectively manage their behaviour the teacher asks all the children to sit down on the carpet quietly and asks them to mediate and imagine somewhere nice they would like to be. This has proven to be very effective as children immediately calm down and think of something positive eliminating any challenging behaviour. Once children know what to do but the noise levels are rising the teacher would say the class name ‘hello sunflowers’ in which the children would have to repeat back by saying the teachers name. This was another very effective way to manage the behaviour of the children so they don’t get out of control and noise levels are kept at a minimum.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there has been a variety of different behaviour management strategy implemented to ensure the classroom is effectively managed. It has become apparent, that in my own personal practice there is not one way of behaviour being managed and all the strategies need to be used frequently together depending on the situation and context I will be placed in. During placement after reviewing their behaviour policy it was important to firstly establish the schools ethos, values and their own approaches to managing behaviour. This will impact on my own practice as its important to first value the schools expectations on behaviour and how they value it is best to deal with it. This will allow me to plan and have strategies already implemented that I could use to ensure behaviour is managed. Further to this it will also impact in my practice as I have learnt that behaviour can effectively be dealt when there is consistency, variety of strategies like proactive and reactive and having a reward system in place. Using a positive behaviour styles have proven to play a significant part to ensure that bad behaviour is minimised in children’s once they know they will receive incentives. All this can lead to an effective learning environment being built by the teacher to ensure all children can thrive.

Classroom environment:

Through my wider research the learning environment could be considered as the most affective factor which impacts on children’s learning. Learning environment refers to the setting in which learning takes places. According to recent research by the university of Salford (2015) published in a report ‘clever classrooms’ a well structured classroom environment can see an increase of 25% in children’s learning specifically maths, reading and writing. Different factors were identified that had a direct impact on children’s learning, they were placed into different categories; naturalness, individualisation and stimulation. From the research it’s been concluded that good natural light leads to children feeling a sense of comfort both physically and mentally. Tanner (2009) found reading vocabulary had been highly influenced by natural lighting showing that lighting does have an impact in children’s learning. Another factor investigated was tempture Heath (2005) found that children experience great discomfort when both temperature and humidity rises which further affected performance (Barrett 2015). Showing that when the temperature is really hot then children would find it extermly difficult to concentrate and complete work to a high standard. Wargocki & Wyon (2007) supports this as they found that that a cooler temperature aided learning better. Overall, these physical factors impact highly on how children progress in their learning therefore the learning environment needs to be adapted to ensure that children receive the best from their physical environment. Therefore, in my own practice I will need to make sure the physical learning environment is suitable in terms of the lighting and temperature as there has been evidence of them impacting on children’s learning and their emotional wellbeing.

During placement these physical factors were also evident in the environment the teacher made sure that there was enough natural light coming in by raising the curtains. This benefitted children highly as they were more focused and ready to do their work. As the weather was cold the heatings were on to ensure there was a right balance between the temperature so children felt comfortable and well enough to work. If they feel comfortable they are more likely to produce better class work and pay more attention. This was evident as children were not getting distracted by feeling more uncomfortable so were more involved in the different activities and the lesson.

The physical learning environment is important to determine how well the children learn. One aspect of this is displays which are very important in showcasing children’s work and achievement. Every child’s work needs to be displayed to show their work is appreciated and give them a sense of motivation and part of the class. Displays need to stand out and presented in a way that send off a positive message to the children aswell as anyone entering the class. They are a way of showing what children have been learning and their own understanding of each topic. Even though decorated displays are encouraged in classrooms Fisher et al (2014) found that learning scores were higher in those classrooms that had less displays compared to decorated ones. Moreover, another aspect is working walls which are interactive displays in which children can contribute and helps aid their learning when needed. Allowing children to contribute can really build their self esteem and confidence as they are placing their own ideas on the wall and their ideas are being valued. Working walls could include key vocabulary, photo of children working and targets.

In my placement, being placed in a year 1 class theres a considerable amount of colourful diaplsy all around the classroom. The teacher has been able to make the most of the space by showcasing childrens work, having a working wall, subject spfific displays like maths having numbers to 20. This is really im,protant in creating a visual environment in whoch children can refer to when they may need further help. Further in the classroom theirs a reading corner that has phonics around in which children can chose a book and read it. This gives them time to relax and calm down by reading a book. Showcasing children’s work was used as an incentive in the school as their work would be acknowledged. This gave children a sense of pride and helped manage behaviour to ensure a positive environment was mainted. As children behaved better to ensure their work also goes up. However, while having a ciloful diaplcys is important it can be seen as overcrowned which can in fact distract children from their work as too much things are happening impacing negatively on the learning environment.

During school based training the classroom environment was a crucial indication of how well children learned and the physical environment surrounding it. The way the classroom is shaped and the seating arrangements point to a approapte learning space for the children. Oval desks are used which is positive as children can interact, socilasie and communicate their ideas looking at the different percpectices. The desks are arranged neatly and near the teachers desk, the teacher has a clear view of the whole class. This has been beneficial as the teacher can keep an eye on children and the interaction between the two is more effective as they are near each other. This has meant the teacher is more rewarding toward the children as she can see which child is doing well so children tend to behave well leading to a more positive environment.

Piaget has stated that it’s the teachers responbity to provide an environment that is fully inclusive and has a welcoming atmosphere in which all children can thrive. Teachers can do this by looking at the individual needs of children and the whole class and tailor lessons that meets these specific needs. This ensure that children feel comfortable and settled in the environment they are in giving them more of a chance to learn and explore. Furthermore, teachers should set clear rules and boundaries to ensure that children know what is expected from them the key to this is being consistent. This wil result in behaviour being managed more effectively so learning isn’t interrupted. To ensure that a good environment is created motivating children is important for example using positive reinforcement such as praise and rewards so good behaviour is reinforced. These characteristics are essential in establishing a good classroom environment. If the teacher is inconsistent, impatient and lessons have not been well prepared then this could interrupt the learning environment and impact negatively on the children as they would not be getting the most out of their teacher.

For example the placement class teacher has made is clear to the children the routine for each day in the morning. Child do this by first putting their coats away then sitting on the carpet this established routine has proven to work as children sit down an quitly await for the teacher to begin the day. This has been collaboratively built with the children to ensure they understand and more involved with the routine in the class rather then just being told. This further helped to control the behaviour of the class as a clear routine was given. In my own practice having in place a routine and children knoing class rules is exeremly important in mainting a positive leanring environment. This is beacue children know exactly ehat is expected from them and the consequences if they don’t follow this.

Conclusion

In conclusion, from the wider research and evidence from placement the classroom environment is seen as crucial for a child’s learning. I believe that a positive classroom environment would make children feel more comfortable and more likely to contribute. The environment can affect children’s learning so for my own practice I would need to ensure that both the physical and emotional environment are perfect for children to have a safe place to learn and contribute. It has become apparent in my own practice I would need to be aware of the layout of the classroom including seating arrangements to ensure children can have the opportunity to socialise as it is a very important aspect of sharing ideas and thoughts. Further to this for a learning environment to be effective there’s a lot of factors that contribute to this whether it is presentation, having a supportive culture within the classroom and having in place routines and rules. All these factors would need to be used in my own practise to ensure the learning environment is viewed in a positive way ensuring the success of children and them feeling engaged in lessons.

References:

  • Barrett, PS, Zhang, Y, Davies, F and Barrett, LC (2015), Clever classrooms : Summary report of the HEAD project , Project Report, University of Salford, Salford.
  • Bennett, T (2017) ‘creating a culture: how school leaders can optimise behaviour’

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/602487/Tom_Bennett_Independent_Review_of_Behaviour_in_Schools.pdf

  • Dictionary – definition of behaviour (2018)

Accessed: 7/11/18

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/behaviour

  • Fisher A, Godwin K, Seltman, H. (2014) Visual Environment, Attention Allocation, and Learning in Young Children: When Too Much of a Good Thing May Be Bad, Psychological Science
  • Husson – understanding 3 key classroom management theories (2018)
    Accessed: 01/12/18

https://online.husson.edu/classroom-management-theories/

  • Kids development – B.F. Skinner’s behavioural theory (2018)

Accessed: 15/11/18

http://www.kidsdevelopment.co.uk/bfskinnersbehaviouraltheory.html

  • Rogers, B (2000) ‘behaviour management’. London: Paul Chapman 
  • Tanner, C. (2009) Effects of school design on student outcomes, Journal of Educational Administration, Vol: 47 Issue: 3, pg. 381-399.
  • Tanwar M, Lloyd B, Julies P (2015). Challenging behaviour and learning disabilities: prevention and interventions for children with learning disabilities whose behaviour challenges: NICE guideline 2015. Archives of disease in childhood – education and practice 2017; Vol:102 issue 1: pg. 24-27
  • Universal class – types of classroom management: assertive discipline (2018)

Accessed: 10/11/18

https://www.universalclass.com/articles/self-help/types-of-classroom-management-assertive-discipline.htm

  • Wargocki P, Wyon D (2007) The Effects of Moderately Raised Classroom Temperatures and Classroom Ventilation Rate on the Performance of Schoolwork by Children (RP-1257), HVAC&R Research, Vol: 13 issue:2, pg. 193-220
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