Transitions

Behaviour Management

Transitions

a guide for classroom teachers and teacher aides

Teacher walking with school students outside the classroom.

When teachers speak of ‘transitions’, they are referring to the critical period between activities when students are moving from one activity to another. Transitions can also refer to the period before class such as when lining up outside. This small window of time is an opportunity that some students exploit for their own ends. Some transitions are easy to manage (e.g. students put away a maths book and get out their science book). Others are more challenging such as moving from an art project that requires clean-up to a silent task such as reading.

The easiest way to manage transitions is with a highly controlled and structured start and end (beginning and ending with ‘all eyes on me’).

Transitions give students the freedom to move around the room, to interact and ‘bump’ into each other, to release some energy, to unwind, to chat with a friend and so forth. They are happy to have finished the previous task and rationalise that a quick chat with a friend is a just reward for their previous efforts. Transitions can be difficult to police due to the whirlwind of movement and the fact that the teacher’s focus is on preparing the next activity and hurrying up slow-coaches still working on the previous task.

Defining a transition is not the issue – managing it is. There are 3 simple steps to managing a transition.

  • Pre-transition: get everyone’s attention, provide clear instructions and precorrections, set a time limit (e.g. 3 minutes) and give brief requests/reminders to individuals as needed. Release all students in one go (‘Wait for it – GO’ technique).
  • In-transit: circulate, provide reminders, suggestions, positive responses, use peer prompting, don’t be afraid to micromanage, use countdowns.
  • Post-transition: have all students sit quietly and still at their desks, provide brief and positive feedback, do not begin instructions until all students are settled and ready (other than the odd ‘straggler’ – there is always 1 or 2). If students start the next activity at staggered times, provide brief instructions to individuals and groups while circulating and consider writing your instructions on the board.

As you can see from the above 3-step process, the easiest way to manage transitions is with a highly controlled and structured start and end (beginning and ending with ‘all eyes on me’). This ensures students remain settled before, during and after the transition and that it isn’t a catalyst for more concerning issues. The 3-step process is a guide only and may not be necessary once the class is versed in transitioning.

Hint: Explicitly teach rules, expectations and processes; experiment with transition-timing games which have been shown to be effective (Barbetta, et al., 2005).

References:

Barbetta, P. M., Norona, K. L., & Bicard, D. F. (2005). Classroom behavior management: A dozen common mistakes and what to do instead. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth, 49(3), 11-19. https://doi:10.3200/PSFL.49.3.11-19

About the author

Image of the managing director of ITAC.

ADAM GREEN

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.

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to check his article for accuracy, information may be outdated, inaccurate or not relevant to you and your location/employer/contract. It is not intended as legal or professional advice. Users should seek expert advice such as by contacting the relevant education department, should make their own enquiries, and should not rely on any of the information provided.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Call Us

1300 858 191
(08) 6555 2992

Email Us

info@itac.edu.au

Visit or Post

Unit 38, 12 Junction Bvd.
COCKBURN CENTRAL WA 6164

Hours

8:00 am - 4 pm Mon-Thu (WST)
8:00 am - 2 pm Friday (WST)

Brisbane office (By appointment only)

S16, Level 18, 324 Queen St
Brisbane QLD 4000

Perth Office

Queensland Office (by appointment only)

ITAC'S RESEARCH-BASED TEACHER AIDE COURSES

CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support & CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support

INTRODUCTORY COURSE

CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support

The introductory teacher aide course covering all the basics of working in a school.

LEARN MORE

HIGHER-LEVEL COURSE

CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support

The industry standard TA course with a focus on disabilities and disorders.

LEARN MORE

TEACHER AIDE COMBO

Study two courses in one streamlined program with the Teacher Aide Combo

Save time and money by completing ITAC's popular Teacher Aide Combo.

LEARN MORE

SAMPLE RESOURCES

Have a look at our range of sample course resources and materials

Be sure to ask your provider for a sample of their resources and assessments before enrolling.

LEARN MORE

AUSTRALIA'S MOST POPULAR TEACHER AIDE COURSE

The industry standard in teacher aide training

GOVERNMENT FUNDING

Government funding available Australia wide (conditions apply).

PAYMENT PLANS FROM $15

Interest free plans from $15 - no hidden fees; includes all resources.

EVERYTHING INCLUDED

Free learner guides, audiobooks, e-books, live webinars & lecture library.

INTEGRATED STRUCTURE

Australia’s only integrated course structure means finishing sooner.

TEACHER AIDE COMBO

Australia’s only true Teacher Aide Combo – saving time and money.

50% CHOOSE ITAC

For the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support.

SUPPORT

Friendly trainers with years of experience in local schools.

PLACEMENT

We visit every learner on placement to help improve their practice.

30-DAY NO OBLIGATION

So you can be sure that the course is right for you.

MODES

Supported, self-paced online mode or class-based from 1 day per week.

RESEARCH-BASED CONTENT

Learn the best practice skills that schools now demand.

LINKS WITH INDUSTRY

Links with thousands of schools around Australia.

ABOUT US

The Institute of Teacher Aide Courses is the go-to provider for nationally recognised teacher aide courses. Around 1 in 2 students choose to study Australia's most popular TA course with ITAC.

CONTACT US