- Set your expectations high. Yes, your students may be anywhere from five years old through to 13. They are all at different developmental stages, and it is important to have realistic expectations about what they can and cannot do at any given age. Even more important, however, is not lowering your expectations of your students’ behaviour simply because they are “too young” to act a certain way. Trust your children to be independent and capable.
- Set a good model for students’ behaviour. If you expect them to act in a certain way, do so yourself. For example, if you expect “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me” to be regular parts of your students’ vocabularies, then use the words yourself when speaking with students and colleagues.
- Get your kids involved in the process of establishing rules and consequences for breaking them. Encourage your students to take ownership of their classroom by asking them what rules they think should be part of the classroom’s behaviour expectations. Encourage them to expand their answers by answering why and how those expectations should be met. Ask them what those proper behaviours look like. What should a reasonable consequence be for each expectation infraction?
- Consistently enforce those rules in the class. Of course there has to be some room for flexibility in the classroom, especially in extenuating circumstances or on party days. However, your children need to know that you will enforce consequences for not meeting expectations.
- Finally, set and follow a classroom routine that provides your kids with security in knowing what to expect next in their environment. There will be many fewer behaviour problems when they know how their day is going to go.
Primary school children thrive on routine, and that is the most important element in establishing an effective behaviour management routine in your class. Without it, your classroom is more like a three-ring circus than a fun learning environment. Use these tips to help you create and maintain a behaviour management process that is individual to you, but that provides the best learning environment for your students.
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