In schools up and down the country, there are teachers who can enter a room full of noisy children and have them all sitting in silence, paying attention seemingly through mere proximity.
How do they do it? Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts for achieving the Zen-like mastery of behaviour management that allows some teachers to be firm, fair, and consistent year after year. Like all things worth doing, it takes time, confidence, knowledge, and consistency of approach. There is, however, an immediate strategy for improving your behaviour management that will put you on the path to full mastery.
CASPER is perhaps the best-known behaviour management strategy in use today. Protocol Education recommends all our teachers and support assistants familiarise themselves with the CASPER framework and begin to practice it. Let's run through it.
It is important to appear calm, even when inside, you’re fuming. Easier said than done if you are in a new environment and you don’t know all the rules, right? The good thing is the pupils don’t know that! So, by focusing on your breathing or even counting to ten in your head can help you think clearly in a challenging situation
Always remember that you are the authority figure in the classroom. You must be in charge of the situation at all times. The use of body language and a controlled assertive tone will help you get your authority across to your class. While you can’t manufacture confidence, consciously thinking about the space you occupy in the classroom and committing to making eye contact with your pupils will give a good impression of it.
Praise in public, reprimand in private. If watching Hollywood school movies has taught us anything, it is that status matters to children more than almost anything. So do not reprimand a child in front of the rest of the class; take a moment and have a quiet word in private. You didn’t become a teacher to embarrass or humiliate anyone.
It is essential not to conflate the behaviour with the pupil. Try to understand how your pupil is feeling and what might be triggering unwanted behaviour. This should inform the way you question behaviour. Try replacing a terse “what do you think you are doing?” with a more empathic “I understand that you are feeling upset, but in our classroom we…”
You must act as a role model for your class. Modelling desired behaviours reinforces the expectations for good behaviour. You must demonstrate your respect for your pupils, the school and its rules, in order for your pupils return this respect to you and one and other.
Good behaviour management is about building good relationships, based on shared rules. This is true even if you are in school for a short period. Taking a consistent approach based on the CASPER framework will help you build this foundation.
This is by no means everything you need to know to crack excellent behaviour management in primary schools. Nonetheless, internalising the Casper method will take you a long way to becoming that Zen master of behaviour management you are destined to become.
For more in-depth tips on behaviour management and many other aspects of modern teaching, check out our CPD-accredited career development courses.