Teachers are expected to plan to the tiniest degree for every eventuality in schools these days. Maths, English, Science, school trips, health, and safety are planned with hours and hours of teachers’ time taken up. Kids’ school lives are planned to within an inch of their lives.
I suppose there is a point to all this. After all, when you’ve got over 30 kids in front of you, waiting to know what they’re expected to do, it’s sensible to have a bit of clue how the lesson’s going to take shape. How does the saying go? Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail and it’s pretty true in the classroom environment.
Chaos would result if you didn’t know what you were going to do with your class every lesson. Just imagine! Horrendous doesn’t begin to describe that situation. The stress you would feel as things spiraled out of control would be unimaginable!
Whose fault would it be? There’s no question about the answer to that question! It would be the teacher’s fault, without any doubt at all!
Why is it then that there seems to be so much emphasis on planning for curriculum subjects but little or no planning going to manage children’s behavior?
I can hear you say, ‘Well, behavior isn’t something you can plan for! You don’t know what’s going to happen so how can you plan for children’s behavior…?’
Sorry, but if that’s what you think then you’re making a huge mistake!
It could be argued that schools do have plans in place for managing behavior in the form of the school’s behaviour management policy. Oh yes, of course, but I wonder how many such policies are filed on office shelves gathering dust? Thousands and thousands of them! They’re about as much use as the paper they’re written on!
Is that a bit of an unfair judgment? No, not really because surely, if they were that effective, and all staff followed their content consistently, there wouldn’t be as many behavior difficulties, would there?
The truth is that once a school behavior policy is written it’s pretty much ignored and forgotten about. It seems that generally teachers wait and see what happens with children’s behavior — trying to manage once there’s a crisis. They ‘wing it’ and rather hope bad behavior doesn’t happen. They do a rather a successful ostrich job rather than plan for what they’re going to do if or when they’re faced with a behavior problem.
Can you plan behavior management? Yes, of course, you can…
It’s inevitable that teachers, headteachers and classroom support workers are going to face potentially problem behavior at some time. It happens more regularly in some schools than others. It’s to be expected when you’ve signed up to work with children and it’s adults’ responsibility to take action to prevent behaviour problems escalating.
A measure of any adult’s success when managing children’s behaviour is what preventative action is taken at the point where behaviour could go wrong – what the adults do to prevent a situation becoming worse. The timing of the intervention is as vital as the action that is taken. It’s about preventing potentially problem behaviour escalating into something much worse and possibly spiralling out of control.
Behaviour is definitely something schools should plan for rather than what happens so regularly… This is where the adults throw up their hands in despair once it’s all kicked off. Action has to be taken quickly and decisively when children start to behave badly — prevention is so much better than cure!
Don’t think that managing behaviour well is difficult — it isn’t! Learning to manage behaviour effectively saves a great deal of stress and trauma in the long run. Anyone — teacher, teaching assistant, midday supervisor — can learn how to manage children’s behaviour and prevent most of the problems faced in today’s classrooms.