When budding teachers apply and train for their work, they don’t always expect that behaviour management is the thing that they will spend most of their time doing. They feel like they are going into their profession to help kids learn, and to share their passion for their subject with the world.
It’s either this unrecognition that is present, or else a downright anxiety. We’re betting that, if you ask the majority of applicant teachers what they are most concerned about in their future work, the most common response would be behaviour management: how to manage disruptive behaviour, how not to lose their cool, and how to just get kids to stop misbehaving and get on with their work.
And, in a way, trainee teachers are right to be anxious about this particular part of teaching. Not that it is inherently scary, difficult, or otherwise problematic, but because it is particularly important.
If there is one element of teaching that is crucial to effective learning, it is behaviour management. Everything else is secondary.
Here, we’re going to tell you why this is. Its ramifications are huge, really. From its importance for the ease of your own work to its role in maintaining classroom routines and efficiencies, classroom management is a priority.
And that applies to you, the private tutor, too. Because whilst the one-to-one context might feel like it is more manageable, you really need to know what you are doing there too.
Find out more about behaviour management in our article on behaviour management theories.
Why Behaviour Management is Important
We know by now that good behaviour management is not about your ability to discipline students, to dish out punishments, or to shout. These are not effective classroom management strategies, they never have been, and students can see right through them. They know that an effective teacher is not one who can just keep the class silent.
No, good behaviour management is more positive than that. It produces a healthy and inspiring classroom climate. It promotes student engagement and cooperative learning. And it develops the social-emotional aspects of learning that are crucial to the school classroom.
Students know when they have a school teacher with whom they can make disruptions. And they know when they have a teacher with whom they need to behave. It is the latter that they respect – and it is with respect that effective learning can take place.
Kids are smart. And if they don’t feel like you are up to the job, they’ll behave accordingly. So, get it right.
Here are some more reasons why effective behaviour management is so crucial to your teaching style. And, by the way, it’s totally manageable to develop your skills in this area.
Effective Classroom Management Lays the Ground for Effective Teaching and Learning
A classroom environment that is managed well – which follows classroom rules and procedures – is a prerequisite for effective teaching. Learning happens when everyone is focused, interested, and engaged; disruptions happen, rather, when they are bored, confused, or struggling to keep up.
And when no-one knows the expectations upon their behaviour – when the classroom becomes something of a free-for-all – it is difficult for students to focus, and to feel that it is even worth focusing.
Creating a positive learning environment in which students respect each other and respect you allows you to do the teaching that you were meant to be doing in the first place. You have their full attention and their full respect – and it is in these conditions that the motivators for learning thrive: curiosity, interest, and engagement.
Good Behaviour Management Saves You Time
It is said that, every year, students are losing nearly forty days of teaching due to poor behaviour and classroom disruptions. From this perspective, it almost seems worthwhile to double the length of everyone’s holiday and just send the kids home.
But it is an important point. Poor classroom management wastes so much time. If you feel like you get to the end of every lesson having covered only half of the things that you should have done, it is probably due to your classroom management techniques.
So, in order to be more efficient in class, in order to get through all the material that you would like to get through, a focus on your classroom discipline might be your saving grace.
Classroom Management Skills Develop Consistency, Routine, and Habit
You and your students come into school every day. And, if you or your colleagues’ classroom management skills are leaving something to be desired, your students will never know what to expect.
Predictability, consistency, and routine are some of the key elements of day-to-day life that permit effective learning. If you are continually having to navigate new conditions, there is much less chance of you being able to focus on the things to which you are supposed to be paying attention.
So, having classroom procedures and teaching strategies that work and that your students can get used to is really crucial – and it will only make your life easier in the long term too.
Strong Behaviour Management Strategies Reduce Disruptive Behaviour Later On
A lot of the elements of good classroom management are cumulative in this way. If you enact an effective class management strategy from the very first day of school, the chances are that it will be much easier to sustain throughout the year.
However, if you start as you mean to go on, students are more likely to think twice before they think about disrupting the class or calling out in future. Classroom expectations will be different – and they’ll know that there will be consequences for behaviour that is not up to scratch.
Remember that the secret to classroom management is to get your students on side early, because then everything will become much easier.
Effective Behaviour Management Creates a Healthy Learning Environment – and Increases Student Achievement
We said above that learning takes place best under predictable and recognisable classroom conditions that are animated by curiosity and mutual respect. And if you have your eyes on maximising student achievement, the same applies here too.
You know when you have won behaviour management when your students come into the classroom wanting to learn, when they sit down ready to get going with the class. This is your ideal situation.
But you can make it happen by using simple class management strategies to gain their attention and interest. At the beginning of each class, or else at the end of the previous class, drop exciting hints about what you will be covering. Don’t be too dry and factual – but draw out the implications of their learning for them.
It Builds Teacher-Student Relationships – and Makes Your Life Easier in the Long Run
Finally, effective classroom management should change the dynamic in your classroom from one of pure informational exchange to one that is much more interactive, trusting, and easy.
Your classroom is full of people, remember that. And so, whilst your responsibility is for their learning, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be able to get on with them. If you respect them, and they respect you in turn, there is ample opportunity for productive and enjoyable relationships.
This doesn’t only improve their chances of learning and high achievement – although it does that too. But, moreover, it makes your work that much easier. You shouldn’t have to fight with your students. If you feel like that’s happening, you should take a series look at your classroom management techniques.
Why Behaviour Management is Important for Private Tutors Too
Now, whilst we have been mainly attending to the role of the teacher in the classroom, all of this applies to the student-private tutor relationship too. Although you are most likely to be working individually, a consciousness of ways to manage this relationship is crucial.
What are you going to do if your student doesn’t do the work you set them? What will you do if they just don’t want to engage in the subject or conversation?
These are really important considerations if you are going to get the most out of these sessions – and if your students and their parents are going to get the most of their investment.
It’s true that there is going to be much less distraction to manage, yet, your role is similar nonetheless. You still need to gain your student’s respect and trust – and you still need to ensure that distraction is at a minimum.