In
this assignment, I will be exploring how schools manage behaviour and classroom
environment. I will make reference to appropriate written materials and
observations from my Placement. I will assess a range of practical strategies
and approaches for effective behaviour management. Evaluate the factors that
contribute towards an effective learning environment .I will describe the
professional requirement and values of teacher in order to build positive
relationships, that secure the best results for children. Finally, demonstrate
the ability to affect professional practice through personal reflection.

Behaviour
can be observed and measured, generally meaning

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“How an organism acts upon the environment in
which they live, it changes the environment in ways that affect the organism
itself”

(Ferster
& Skinner, 1957, pp 1, cited by Pierce and Cheney, 2004). Behaviour
Management is essential to a successful and positive learning experience and
directly links to classroom environment. Teachers must enforce various
strategies, including rewards and sanctions in order to create an effective
learning atmosphere.  Fraser argues that classroom environment is a

 “Subtle and nebulous notion’, embracing
‘climate, ambience, tone, atmosphere and ethos” (Fraser, 1989, p. 307 cited by Haydn, 2014).

There
are three types of learning environment: physical, emotional and respectful.
The physical environment consists of working walls, table arrangement, light,
cushions, and plants. The emotional environment, means the teacher creates a
welcoming environment in which everyone feels optimistic, accepted and wanted.
The respectful environment compromises of pupils feeling respected and
appreciated.

The
book ‘Getting the buggers to behave’ (Sue Cowley, 2010) discusses a range
of effective strategies and approaches for behaviour management including the
importance of ‘Establishing your expectations’. Making children aware of the
precise rules and values is essential. This ensures children see you as assertive,
in charge of the teaching and the classroom. She also mentions adapting the use
of language and rules for the appropriate age group. For example, for early
years a rule could be ‘We always listen
to each other’, this is clear and can be understood well by younger
children meaning they are more likely to follow this set rule. Setting high
expectations results in good behaviour as well as positive relationships
because children will feel like the teacher believes in them.

Another
strategy that Sue Cowley (2010) mentions is that once expectations are set
communicating in an ‘unambiguous’ way
is crucial, using words such as ‘I
expect’, ‘I need’  and ‘We’. I
believe communication is a two way street because it is imperative for children
to be able to communicate and the teacher to listen, this is a significant
value and requirements on behalf of teachers to build on their listening skills
in order to build good relationships hence generate better outcomes for
children hence, leading to better behaviour.

 An effective practical strategy is that
teachers are ‘interested’ in their pupils by building positive relationships,
this reinforces good behaviour. Many behaviour issues come from the lack of
interest in the subject or topic being studied therefore, knowing children’s
interests such as “The Simpsons,
Minecraft and One direction” allows you to be able to incorporate these
ideas into lessons, as well as using this to come up with suitable rewards that
children would truly be determined to work hard for (Appendix 1).

Establishing
expectations was evident in my placement as most children were aware of rules
and requirements (Appendix 1). The teacher sets ‘high expectations’ and is confident that the children will follow
the rules. After a P.E lesson outside the teacher told the children to be quiet
as “other children are in lesson so I expect you to be on your best behaviour”,
the use of language was effective as the teacher was assertive, this approach
had a powerful influence on the children’s behaviour. This links to Sue
Crowley’s book (2010) as she emphasises how important expectations are in
‘effective behaviour management’ in order for children to know the teacher is serious
about rules. Teacher standards (DfE, 2011) are met in terms of behaviour as
teachers “have high expectations of
behaviour, and establish a framework for discipline with a range of strategy”.
The rules are clearly presented on a large paper in the classroom so children
are constantly aware of what they need to do.

The
teachers and children have a good relationship which results in positive
outcomes. The teacher knows the children’s interests which he uses in the
lessons to make it engaging and interesting for the children (Appendix 1). For
example in a science lesson on teeth the teacher related this to ‘Jurassic
world’ explaining the difference between human teeth and animal teeth, the
children all enjoyed the learning and were more able to attain the important
information. The rewards given to children are based on their interests and
parents are informed of reward assemblies to celebrate their child’s behaviour,
this makes children more determined to behave, for example, rewards include
‘each term teachers will nominate a child who has achieved Gold consistently to
attend a ‘Head teachers Party'(School Behaviour policy,2016)

 

Ivan
Pavlov’s experiment with dogs can be
linked to behaviour of humans to rewards and sanctions. Pavlov’s experiment
consisted of dogs in a chamber presented with meat powder and the saliva
collected in a tube. He noticed that the dogs began salivation before offered
with the meat powder due to sounds of the machine that distributes the meat
powder or simply by the presence of the meat provider. From this, Pavlov used
the ringing of a bell when the meat was given to the dogs various times until
the bell was rung alone. From his predictions the dogs salivated just from the
sound of the bell which acted as a stimuli. The pairing of the bell to the
stimulus caused the dogs to salivate. In other words the meat powder is
‘unconditioned stimulus’ and the bell is ‘conditioned stimulus’ (Pavlov, 2003,
cited by David 2014).

Pavlov’s
theory links to rewards used in schools, the reason being is that children are
motivated by rewards and associate good behaviour with praise. For example, if
a child produces good work they may be rewarded a sticker or a raffle ticket,
this instantly makes other children realise the consequence for good work.
Similarly, when bad behaviour is punished e.g. disruptive talking in lesson can
be punished by moving down the behaviour chart, therefore other children will
realise and associate that kind of behaviour with that punishment. This will
make children aware of what behaviour is expected of them, what consequences
their actions have as well as making them wary of the decision they make. This
is what many teachers require and value in order to create the best outcomes
for children.  

During
Placement I was able to observe numerous kinds of behaviour and ways in which
the teacher used rewards and sanctions appropriately (Appendix 1). Bad
behaviour had a number of consequences in order to teach children a valuable
lesson .The school use a colour chart for behaviour and attitude. This consists
of Gold, Silver and Green meaning that children are behaving exceptionally over
a long period of time. However, Red and amber means the child has been
disruptive and refuses to follow the school rules. Once the child is moved on
the chart the next step is a five minute ‘time out’ followed by the child being
sent to a class next door, play/lunchtime detention, Class exclusion and
finally fixed term exclusions. These consequences are put in to practice
depending on the severity of the behaviour. Good behaviour is always
appreciated and rewarded with either of the following; points that can be used
in the Hodge hill reward shop, postcards home, behaviour awards and much more
(Behaviour policy,2016). The use of Dojo Points is effective because when point
are given and taken away it makes a loud sound, which grabs the children’s
attention, it also creates competition in class. Parents are also able to keep
a record of their child’s behaviour which means children are more encouraged to
behave well (Appendix 1). This is an effective strategy to behaviour management
and meets teacher standard seven ‘using praise, sanctions and rewards
consistently and fairly’ (DfE, 2011)

In an
English lesson ‘child A’ shouted an inappropriate phrase saying ‘That’s
racists’, the teacher remained calm and controlled, immediately told the child
to move their name to Amber on the behaviour chart (Appendix 1). However, the
child persisted and continued being disruptive in the lesson, which resulted in
‘Time Out table to consider their Behaviour and Attitudes to Learning’ (School
behaviour policy, 2016).The teacher then used an effective behaviour strategy
which consisted of sitting with the child to reflect on his behaviour. He asked
the child what they did wrong and what would happen if they continue behaving
the way they did. He finally ended the talk with suggesting an positive way of
behaving i.e. “why don’t you sit here for a couple more minutes, continue with
your work and if you carry on like that for the rest of the day you would be
rewarded”, this caused the child to change his behaviour instantly because he
was motivated extrinsically and wanted to get the reward, linking to Pavlov’s
theory the child realised the consequence and associated the good behaviour he
started putting into practise to the reward he was getting which had a
simultaneous effect on behaviour .

However, “Extrinsic
rewards have been found to reduce intrinsic motivation”(Beswick,2009).Pupils at the school are constantly
told ‘if you do good work you will be rewarded ‘For example I heard the teacher
say in a P.E lesson “Whoever is ready will move to Gold and get a raffle” (Appendix
1), this has a negative impact on learning and behaviour as they will always
expect rewards for good behaviour which means they are not taught to motivate
themselves intrinsically hence children will struggle to continue good
behaviour where rewards are not given.  The
Ofsted report (2015)  of the school states that the ‘Behaviour is
good and pupils feel very safe in school’. This means that Teacher standard
seven is evident in school (DfE, 2011) which states that ‘Manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment’.
 

Ofsted
(2014) “Below the Radar” converses the idea of the impact of low level
disruption such as ‘talking unnecessarily or chatting. The negative impact is
that ‘pupils are losing an hour of learning each day’. This kind of behaviour
has a serious impact on not just the lesson but the life chances of pupils.
Throughout placement I realised that ‘talking or chatting’ is the most common
behaviour issue. With this, teachers simply follow the behaviour policy and
school rules to deal with it accordingly.

On the
other hand, Tom Bennett (2017) “creating a culture” discusses the importance of the school leaders rather than teachers
and parents in maintaining good behaviour. Tom believes “strong leadership
could offer even greater possibilities for driving better behaviour in schools”.
In my placement school, teachers discuss ways to better behaviour in the
school, they constantly reflect on ways of improving. I believe self-reflection
is vital for professional development and in order to constantly better
teaching and classroom environment which creates better outcomes for children.
School staff are therefore meeting teacher standard eight which explains
‘fulfilling wider professional responsibilities’ as staff are seeking advice
from each other and school leaders creating a positive culture in the school.
The school’s Ofsted report (2015) claims “The
head teacher provides strong and much focused leadership”, this is
significant as it will provide the foundation in which the school needs to succeed
overall.

 

Classroom
environment directly links to behaviour, the reason being is that if the
classroom environment is positive, respectful and enjoyable, there would be
less behaviour issues. The Physical environment of a classroom is vital as this
is the most obvious when walking into a classroom. Working walls and display
create a positive classroom environment, producing a welcoming and stimulating
atmosphere.Working walls provide the
class with effective independent learning that children can use and relate to (Appendix
2). In specific terms it is “the public
display of the learning process and evolves as each day progresses” (Claire
Slade, 2014-15).Working walls are ‘not meant to be tidy’ as they evolve
frequently, it is a way in which children express their ideas, thoughts and for
the teacher to cover the key subject knowledge. This allows children to have
some form of ‘support in independent
learning and writing’, ‘support whole class and guided group teaching’ and
‘celebrate success in Mathematics and Literacy’. Displays are also essential,
particularly when children’s work and photographs of children are included.
This creates an inclusive environment as all children feel appreciated for
their work. Working walls include: objectives, targets, Vocabulary, and much
more to give children the assistance they need yet allowing them to think on
their own, this creates an effective learning environment. Knowledge of the
Reptilian brain can be used to create a positive learning environment through
the use of bright colours in displays, resulting in stress being reduced as
well as creating a cheerful and optimistic learning environment (Appendix 2).

In my placement I was able to observe the physical Classroom
environment. As soon as I walked into the classroom, I saw bright colours such
as blue, yellow and green which immediately grabbed my attention and created an
inviting and stimulating atmosphere.
This is evidence of the Teacher Standard
(DfE, 2011) one, which emphasizes ‘establish
a safe and stimulating environment for pupils’ as children feel a sense of empowerment, identity and
belonging through photographs and work being presented on the walls (Appendix
2).There is a Mathematics working wall that presents three different ways of
working out subtraction: Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract, this was based on
the learning done that week. The English working wall guides children to be
able to write a story, this working wall is interactive as children write on a
post-it note what they believe consists of a fascinating story. There are
displays of children’s work in the classroom which makes children feel part of
a community hence creating unity in the classroom. However, not all children’s
work are displayed which means that those that don’t would feel left out and
may lead to lower self-esteem.

On the other hand the school received a good comment by Ofsted,
2015 in terms of environment stating “Adults
provide a caring and nurturing environment”, which means children
feel safe. The reading corner has cushions which creates a comfortable learning
environment that children use frequently, it also makes them feel at home,
meaning they work to the best of their ability (Appendix 2) “Plants,
soft chairs, rugs, and pillows can help to add warmth and comfort to a class
environment” (Rutter, Maughan, Mortimore, & Ouston,
1979,Cited by Bucholz and Sheffler, 2009).I witnessed the tables are arranged
in circles which I found to be an negative and positive , it is effective for
learning and creating a collaborative learning environment (Appendix 2).
However, “Earlier studies show that
teachers tend to direct more questions to students seated in the front rows of
the classroom” (Juhary, 2012; Moore & Glynn, 1984, cited by Ngware.W et
al, 2013). This creates a divided classroom of the front half and the back half
creating an alienated classroom.

 

The
classroom environment is not just about the physical aspect but also emotional.
The teacher is required to create a warm and friendly environment in which
children feel comfortable to share their thoughts and emotions. We can use the
knowledge of the Limbic system to create an optimistic classroom environment (Appendix
2).The use of humour is great in class to reduce the stress level of students
and create a positive relationship with the teacher ,therefore creating better
outcomes for children. Various researchers, have written about the harmful
effects of anxiety on students’ aptitude to study, using humour helps to relax
students (British Council, “sense of Humour”, 2004).Humour also allows children
to see the fun side to the teacher and learning, meaning they will more likely
be able to connect and interact with the teacher more frequently. The use of
music is also another way of creating a calming learning environment for
children. “The simple act of
listening to music while in class can help improve students’ memory and
learning capability” (University of Helsinki, 2005), this shows that music has
a great impact on learning particularly when it comes to children retaining
information.

 

In placement, I was able to witness the use of humour,
the teacher would constantly joke with the children (Appendix 2). Children
found this to be a way of building a good relationship with the teacher as well
as getting to know the teacher as a person. The teacher would make funny
comments such as “you silly sausages”, this links to the “sense of humour”
article as children feel more relaxed when the teacher jokes around with the
creating a relaxed environment. This is a method that I would use in my future
teaching practice, as it greatly impacts the children’s learning positively
allowing them to attain information. This is also evidence of Teacher standard
(DfE, 2011) two, the reason being is that the teacher is aware of how children
learn and incorporate this into learning. The teacher also uses music during
reading, to settle and calm the children after lunch, this is a great technique
as it instantly produces a relaxed environment which maximizes learning. In the
morning when the teacher takes the register, children answer ‘hello’ in
whatever language they want. This is makes children comfortable in class to
bring a bit of their home language and culture to school. This also allows
children to embrace each other and develop good relationships which will in
turn better their learning. According to the Ofsted report, 2015 “The
cultural diversity of the school is celebrated, resulting in a very harmonious
community”. This is something I
would definitely include in my future teaching practice as it adds an element
of community creating a positive learning environment, the reason being children
learn languages subject knowledge .

The respectful environment is essential for “students to
feel respected and feel their contributions matter” (Ministry of Education,
2016).During my placement I saw that all the children knew each other well and
boys and girls felt comfortable to sit together by choice. Additionally, this
has a positive impact on learning as all children felt comfortable to share
their ideas and thoughts. They developed excellent communication and listening skills,
creating better outcomes for children. All children also had a role in the
classroom which made them feel respected. At the end of the day the teacher
would spend ten minutes allowing the children to ask each other questions to
get to know each other e.g.
“what are your hobbies” as well as questions to reflect on what went well that
day and how they can improve themselves. In my future practice I would include
this activity to ensure a positive classroom environment for the children and
the teacher to reflect on their own actions, to see what improvements they can make.
The school policy (2016) states “pupils must feel safe, secure
and happy within their school environment”, this implies that the school
environment has a direct correlation to the way children feel which impacts
behaviour as “good attitudes and behaviour contribute to a successful life”.

 

To
conclude, I believe that at the first meeting teachers must express the rules
and values to children effectively. Susan Davies mentions bad behaviour should
never go unnoticed as children would get in to a habit. I would praise children
more than I criticise to allow a boost of self-esteem and develop good
teacher-student relationships, this produces the best outcomes for children
(Davies, 2006 pg.130) (Appendix 2). I would also make an effort to get to know
the children’s interests so that I may adapt the teaching to incorporate these
elements, consequently children would be engaged in lessons resulting in less
disruptive behaviour. Rewards and sanctions are essential as many children are
motivated extrinsically, therefore I would ensure that the rewards are age
suitable, making children more determined to achieve their goals. If the
behaviour of the class is good, this would lead to a positive learning environment.
From my placement I was able to get an insight into an effective classroom
environment full of light and bright colours. In my future teaching practice I
would make sure that my classroom is physically and emotionally positive. I
would ensure that all children feel excited to come to school every day by
creating an inclusive environment where all children regardless of race,
disability and gender feel respected and valued. I would ensure I meet the
seventh Teacher standards (DfE, 2011) just
like the teacher at placement who “manages behaviour effectively to ensure a
good and safe learning environment”. In the book ‘The tipping point’ Malcom
Gladwell outlines the ‘Broken window Theory’. The message here is that it is
not the broken glass that is important but the message it portrays. Therefore,
keeping my class tidy would give an impression that I am an organised teacher
who truly cares about the Classroom and learning. I would ensure I know the
reason behind the misbehaviour as there can be a number of reasons.  Lastly, I would be a reflective teacher who
always tries to improve their teaching in order to ‘make a positive
contribution to the wider life and ethos of the school’ (Teacher standards,
DfE, 2011).