Teachers talk a lot about modelling (it is a cornerstone teaching strategy after all), but when it comes to behaviour management, few teachers model best behaviour – sometimes teachers do the opposite of what they should (yell, scream, be lazy, wear inappropriate clothing, etc.). It is important to remember, however, that teachers are very influential and significant role models whether they intend to be or not (Hattie, 2003; Werner & Smith, 1989).
As this is a practical book about behaviour management, let’s talk about modelling in those terms and what that might look like in the classroom. Modelling desirable behaviour can be a handy little trick from time to time. It takes some patience, but it can be used when you are willing and able to ignore low-level behaviours for a short period of time. A simple example is raising your hand when expecting students to raise their hand. This provides a clear visual cue and reminds everyone without having to actually tell them.
Here is another example: the teacher takes the class to the school’s library twice a week. Students already know the process: quietly choose a book, sit down and read silently for 20 minutes. The teacher has drilled this into them 100 times before. By and large the class is well versed in the routine and there are very few issues. It can take a moment for some students to settle down given that this lesson is directly after lunch. Instead of directing students as usual, the teacher takes a new tack. He or she models the ideal behaviour by sitting down and reading in a strategic position in view of all students – not even looking up once. Students notice the expectation and get the message. They also don’t want to interrupt the teacher who seems avidly engrossed in their novel. They all know that this particular teacher is no push-over, and while a few moments to settle will be tolerated, anything more will be noticed and a consequence down the line can be expected. At the end, the teacher positively prompts the group as well as selected students. This encourages more desirable behaviour in the future. Negative behaviours are ignored where possible.
Teachers are very influential and significant role models whether they intend to be or not.
Hattie, J. (2003). Teachers Make a Difference. What is the research evidence? Retrieved from http://research.acer.edu.au/research_conference_2003/4
Werner, E. & Smith, R. (1989). Vulnerable But Invincible: A Longitudinal Study of Resilient Children and Youth. Adams, Bannister, and Cox.
Adam Green is an advisor to government, a registered teacher, an instructional designer and a #1 best selling author. He is completing a Doctor of Education and was previously head of department for one of the country’s largest SAER (students at educational risk) schools. Adam is managing director of ITAC, an accredited training provider for thousands of teacher aides every year.
Source: Behaviour Management Skills and Strategies for the Modern Classroom: 100+ research-based strategies for both novice and experienced practitioners.
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