Teachers - Set Boundaries on Children\\\'s Behaviour by Acting at the
Apr 1, 2010 Classroom Management 2995 Views
Too many teachers in classrooms are waiting far too long before they take any action when children start to behave unacceptably. They're full of complaints about bad behaviour but don't see their part in behaviour standards deteriorating!
How do you set boundaries, then?
Well, think about it logically -- where you take action to stop unacceptable behaviour is the point at which your standards of expected behaviour will be set. It really is that simple...
Much of the advice given to schools is so damaging to teachers and children. Teachers are still being told to ignore low level problem behaviours -- this is absolutely wrong!
So, why is this advice so wrong?
Well, let's return to a favourite analogy - driving your car. Imagine you're driving along quite happily. Then you're faced with a situation where you have to take action to avoid a collision. You're not going to wait for the problem to get worse before you apply your brakes, surely! Of course you're not! You take action when you have to in order to avoid the problem becoming worse and probably unmanageable.
Think about what you do when constructing a physical boundary, such as a fence in your garden... Where do you build your fence? The answer's pretty obvious, isn't it? You're going to build it in the place where you want the boundary to be -- aren't you? You're surely not going to build it half way across your neighbour's garden? Of course not...
Ok, ten out of ten for stating the obvious... But there is a relevance to these comparisons to dealing with children's classroom behaviour.
The secret is -- if you want your limits on behaviour to be set at a certain point (point A), you have to take action when the behaviour is reaching that point. You don't wait until the behaviour has deteriorated a point further away from the acceptable (point C)!
Waiting until point C before you act to set limits and boundaries on children's behaviour will make them assume, quite naturally, that that's the point where the behaviour has become unacceptable. Children will believe that you were happy with things up until that point. Do this and you are left with a 'grey area' between points A and C where the child's behaviour is unacceptable but you haven't informed them.
It's a problem you've unfortunately created by acting too late....
Fortunately, it's a problem that's pretty easy to avoid. Decide where your limits and boundaries on behaviour should be and then tell the children. Reinforce your limits and boundaries by taking appropriate action with checks and if necessary, consequences. Plus, of course, quickly give acknowledgment when a child complies.
You have to be totally consistent. You can't act one way on one day and another way a couple of days later. That way is confusing for you and the children and it's also unfair. Children need to know where they are and that your expectations are the same all the time. They need to know that you will be consistent.
Initially, you may think that you're checking low level unacceptable behaviour too often, but don't see this as time wasted. Such checking is a vital investment of time and it's the way to achieve good standards of behaviour and learning. Anyone can learn to manage children's behaviour in the classroom and it's a great way to reduce stress and increase performance!