Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Behaviour Management Strategies

The following students are entirely fictional and solely aim to provide student teachers and educators the support in how to confront student dynamics in your class and what strategies may be useful to implement. As I always say though, all students are different and what strategies that may work on one student may be a complete failure towards another so tread carefully!

Katie, the enthusiastic helper

Katie, is an enthusiastic member of the learning environment who willingly volunteers to help in particular tasks in order to be able to control the management of the students and the classroom. The other teachers have even told you that she can almost run the classroom if you have to step out. Although this originally seems a strong, positive addition to your class, it will be important to ensure other students get turns being the class helper to fairly share the responsibility. Some of the students are already complaining that Katie is overly controlling during group work. She eagerly wants to control her group, the activities and the teacher as well.


  • Make a class volunteer weekly timetable, which will randomly allocate class chores to the students in pairs and will be changed on a weekly basis. Chores may include: taking the roll back to the office, handing out work books, turning off electrical appliances on dismissal of classroom 
  • During group work, explain the whole class that it is important that each person in the group chooses a role, for example: chair person, gophers and scribe. It is also important that these roles change so students all get a turn at each role.
  • Katie is such an enthusiastic learner and should be utilised when you think the time is right. For example, as the other teachers have suggested, if you need to step out of the room, Katie may be the perfect helper to step in. However, it is important that you instruct Katie to be nice and not authoritative towards her peers.
  • Whenever you feel that Katie is stepping on your toes, explain to her calmly that you are grateful her helping attitude but it is your turn to be the leader at that moment.
  • Reward other students in your class that are showing initiative and leaderships skills with class peers. This will show Katie that she is not the only student with such skills.

Sally, the addictive reader

Sally supposedly does not do anything else but read. She also rarely talks and you almost have to MAKE her get out of her seat when it is time to go somewhere else. Her mother insists that she is gifted.


  • It is great that Sally loves to read, but she needs to learn that there is a time and a place for such activity as she needs to be involved in other learning experiences. Take Sally’s book away and place it on you table and tell her that she will get it back either when it is break time or when she has finished her work. This will encourage her to participate in the learning environment.
  • The reason she rarely talks is probably because she is always reading. Once her book has been taken away, program lots of lessons around group to provide Sally and the other students to interact.
  • Organise a weekly or daily Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) session that will reward students, especially Sally, to read.
  • The count down warning is an effective classroom management technique to encourage students to follow instructions. Students never want you to get to one because they know this is always followed by a disciplinary consequence. 

Dale, the bewildered boy

Dale started attending PHPS a year ago. DoCS removed him from his mother and he is now living with his maternal grandparents. He is 18 months behind in his outcomes.


  •  I have posted links on information about who DoCS are and their roles so it might be a good idea to read this first.
  • Although Dale is 10-11 yo, he may still be experiencing some separation anxiety being apart from his mother so you must ensure that he is included in a sensitive learning environment. This my involve creating a R&R space in the classroom where Dale might want to spend some time on his own.
  • When handing out homework, hand out one sheet that the whole class gets, but then another sheet that involves content each student needs improvement in or can further challenge them. Providing Dale with this extra homework will support his academic growth and development.
  •  Research tutoring in the local area that may help Dale to climb back up the outcomes ladder. This private, out of school time tuition, will provide Dale with the opportunity to work at his own pace and not be embarrassed by working through year 3 work.

Sam, the unique learner

Sam has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. His parents have also recently separated and he has not been dealing with his new domestic arrangement very well. Apparently it was an acrimonious separation and there was a court order in place and Sam’s mother has full custody.


  • First, you must ask yourself: Do I know what Asperger’s Syndrome is? If you require further information, look through our other posts on our blog or make an appointment with the school councilor to talk about your student and Aspergers.
  • Because Aspergers is a condition that can mildly or severly effect a personal social development and peer interactions, it may be difficult for Sam to communicate how he is feeling. Make up some cue cards that have a facial expression on each card and the emotion it is showing undernealth. If Sam if feeling a certain way, he can hold up a particular card to show you.
  • Weekly visits to the school councilor may also be needed as a regular checkup on his emotional well being and to determine whether or not it is effecting his school work.
  • Celebrations such as father’s day will have to be carefully implemented during this time as you will have to be extremely sensitive for Sam. To remain inclusive, encourage Sam and other students in similar position to choose another male significant other such as a grandparent or an uncle or a sports coach.
  • Sam may not be able to concentrate on tasks for lengthened periods of time due to stress or lack of sleep. Provide Sam with tasks that involve short bursts of cognition or provide Sam with lots of breaks in between.

Prisca, the traveller

Prisca only has limited English. She was one of several new children from the one family who were starting at the school on Monday. The family had fled from Sudan and had been waiting for many years to enter Australia via a refugee camp in Kenya. In class, she is very withdrawn and very quiet following Sally around the classroom. Prisca was good with numeracy but struggled with her English and her written work.


  • Prisca will require an English as a Second Language (ESL) Support Teacher in your classroom to help her with school work.
  • Prisca’s family probably speaks limited English also so you may need to apply for an interpreter to meet with Prisca’s family and talk about her class progress.
  • To help Prisca working at her own pace, encourage her to draw pictures with her writing, almost like a comic strip so she can show the process in her writing. Over time, she will be able to gradually take out the pictures and just write.
  • Provide Prisca with praise on her achievements in Numeracy. Simple as that, to boost her self confidence.
  • Prisca is probably very withdrawn because she is unsure about the new country she is now in, where people do not speak her language. Implement learning experiences where we translate Australian songs and words around the classroom into her home tongue. This may make Prisca feel more at home.


    Sburlati, S (2012) 


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