I found the lecture delivered by Paul Dix on behaviour management very engaging and thought-provoking, with aspects I both agreed and disagreed with. Behaviour management is key in ensuring class time is used effectively and students given the best opportunity to learn. The importance of behaviour management and discipline is reflected in the fact teachers’ powers are enshrined in law. As Hart (2010) shows, the issue of behaviour management is of great concern and has been examined through a range of educational psychology theories, with the lecture focussing largely on the psychodynamic which itself is based upon on attachment theory.
A point which particularly resonated with me was the need for a teacher to establish relationships built on mutual trust with students. In so doing I believe a teacher is building a solid base from which to manage behaviour: a student is more likely to respond to a sanction from a teacher if they believe they are worthy of their respect and are somebody who they would be sorry to have disappointed. However, as Chaplain (2014) identifies, especially in relation to trainee teachers, there needs to be an appropriate distance kept to the students to ensure an appropriate level of authority is maintained and this is something I’m currently conscious of in my first school-based placement.
Another point from the lecture which I recognised was the mistaken belief amongst students that poor behaviour could be ‘cancelled out’ by a positive action, which I believe is perpetuated in class by putting names on and off boards and removing and adding golden time etc. In my experience within schools, this is something I’ve witnessed and which I do not feel really gets to the root of poor behaviour or ensures the whole class or individuals behave any better over a sustained period.
The need for a consistent and clear routine for behaviour was something which I particularly took note of in the lecture. Rogers (2011, 146) argues that the language around any sanctions for students displaying poor behaviour needs to be consistent and carefully managed and this is something I agree with. He states that the word ‘punishment’ and its connotations relating to bad behaviour should be replaced by the word ‘consequence’ which makes clear to students that ‘they are not simply pawns or victims when they do the wrong thing. We treat the students as if they are responsible for what they do and how they treat others.’ I believe students should be taught that there is a distinction between ‘punishment’ and ‘consequence’ from an early age.
An aspect from the lecture which I did not wholly agree with was concealing emotions when dealing with poor behaviour. In some respects this seems to run contrary to Paul Dix’s belief that a rapport needs to be built with children, which one would assume would be based upon an emotional connection. It’s my view that it is not harmful to show some emotion- within reason- when disappointed or angry, although this has to be proportional and controlled.
Overall I found the lecture very useful in prompting me to think more deeply about how I will go about ensuring an appropriate and sustainable level of behaviour in the classroom.
Chaplain, R. Managing Classroom Behaviour (pp. 181-201) in Arthur, J. & Cremin, T. 2014, Learning to teach in the primary school, 3rd edition, Routledge, London.
Hart, R. 2010, “Classroom behaviour management: educational psychologists’ views on effective practice”, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 353-371
Rogers, B. 2011, Classroom behaviour: a practical guide to effective teaching, behaviour management and colleague support, 3rd edn, SAGE, London.