8 Key Elements of Managing Student Behaviour

8 Key Elements of Managing Student Behaviour

Behaviour management is not about getting kids to do what you want them to do.

Behaviour management is about providing an environment in which positive teaching creates positive learning. Managing Student Behaviour has the primary goal of control from within.

But how?

The best behaviour management occurs in the most positive classroom.

Managing Student Behaviour requires modelling.

Teachers must develop positive elements where kids will see the management of their behaviour as their own personal responsibility.

Key Elements of Managing Student Behaviour

Key Elements of Managing Student Behaviour


Behaviour Management requires a positive environment.

Interact with your students on a personal every day. Greet them by name. There is nothing more valuable to a person that their name.

When you talk to kids, make sure it starts with a positive comment or observation. Kids need to feel welcome in the classroom so it is best you, as the relief teacher, should be welcoming.

One of the most important key elements of managing student behaviour is to have a positive tone in the classroom. Make one of your most important goals about creating a positive classroom where students want to be.

Behaviour Management, Huh?


Get students focused before you begin any lesson. 

Be sure you have their attention before you begin.

Don't talk over students. This will start a competition. The louder voice will eventually win - and it may NOT be yours.

Stop the competition before it starts.

Don't allow students to think it's okay to talk while you are talking. That often sets a precedent from which it is difficult to recover.

I'm sure you have lots of tricks to get students focussed. I have used cheap noise makers from a cheap one-dollar store. I never blast the noise, nor is the noise maker used in anger.

It is a joke and seen only as an attention getter. If you use it to DEMAND silence or in ANGER, you've missed the point. (Re-read key element number 1)

Key Elements of Managing Student Behaviour

Use positive presence. 

Don't park yourself at your desk.

Move around the room continuously and purposefully

Work at the kids desks. Get in and around your students while they are working. Nothing sets the tone more than an active relief teacher.

Make frequent eye contact. Smile with students. Use a range of non verbal messages that send the signal that you care and you want to help the students learn.

Monitor students with your physical presence. Nothing slows the traffic more than a police car on the side of the road. Likewise, nothing stops misbehaviour than a teacher standing beside you.


Effective behaviour management requires modelling.

We all know this is one of the key elements of managing student behaviour. It sounds like it is an obvious statement but unfortunately it is easily forgotten.

If you exhibit respectfulness, trust, enthusiasm, interest, and courtesy in your everyday dealings with students, they will return the favour. Likewise if you spend the day snapping and snarling, expect snapping and snarling back.

Remember the saying, “Values are caught, not taught.”


Use the least intrusive intervention.

When you see a student who is misbehaving, be sure your intervention is quiet, calm, and inconspicuous - at least initially. You really do not have go for the throat - unless it is completely necessary.

(And if it is, don't leave marks!)

Use the student's name in your intervention. For example, “Let's check on Michael's progress on the activity.” Michael, who you spotted getting a little off track, hears his name called and is passively brought back to taks with little intervention and disruption to the class.

Key Elements of Managing Student Behaviour

Send positive “I” messages.

Thomas Gordon, creator of Teacher Effectiveness Training, under-scores the importance of “I” messages as a powerful way of humanizing the classroom and ensuring effective behaviour management.

An I-message is composed of three parts:

  • Include a description of the student's behavior. (“When you talk while I talk …”)
  • Relate the effect this behavior has on you, the teacher. (“I have to stop my teaching …
  • Let the student know the feeling it generates in you. (“which frustrates me”)


Verbal reprimands should be private, brief, and as immediate as possible.

The more private a reprimand, the less likely you will be challenged.

We all know some little turkeys thrive on the attention a public whipping brings. Never turn misbehaviour into a badge of honour.​

Don't give your ratbags any more kudos than necessary. Take away the audeince and deliver your reprimands privately. Silent but deadly. Watch the eyes light up when you whisper in their ear. "I saw what you did and I will deal with you in a minute."


Provide Lots of Positive Feedback

You already know the 10 percent of your class that gives you 90 percent of the head aches. But what about the 90 percent of the class who choose to behaviour while others are going rank,

Don't forget them in the fray.

Recognise these students.

  • Acknowledge these little gems with a positive wink, a smile or a nod. Don't go over the top. These students generally do not need extrinsic rewards for their effort. But they really enjoy knowing that their positive behaviour is appreciated.
  • Be consistent. I'm not a big believer is setting something in concrete. Most of the good kids know why you acknowledge the positive behaviours from you turkeys. But seriously! Some of your good students have been exhibiting the same behaviour without so much as a smile.
  • Don't hand out lots of warnings without following through on consequences. Lots of warnings without actions tell students that you won't enforce a rule.

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