One for the Teaching Assistants


Managing an individual student in a class of 30 is a complicated business. If the class teacher does not have strong skills in managing behaviour you can find yourself swimming against the tide. Define your boundaries each time you sit down to work with an individual, set clear expectations and regardless of what is happening elsewhere you can have a successful lesson.

Stick a length of velcro on an A4 laminated sheet. Now on slips of card write a selection of rules that you will use with different students. You might get some ideas from the selection of the rules below:

– Follow instructions first time given
– When one person is speaking, listen
– Concentrate on your work
– Speak politely 
– Ignore others when they interfere
– Leave you mobile phone in your bag

You can now establish routines for individuals and establish your boundaries and expectations. If the student chooses to break any of the rules give them a clear warning the first time. If they repeat the behaviour remove the appropriate rule from the chart. Agree with the class teacher the point at which you will inform them of the student’s poor choices; perhaps three slips removed would trigger a negative referral. With a few smiley faces or ticks or stars placed alongside the rules you can also reward students for following the routine. A strong argument for this system is that you can enforce your rules while the teacher is talking to the whole class without disturbing anyone. The visual cue of removing the rule or placing a star next to it allows you to refocus the student subtlety.

When students understand that you have rules, boundaries and expectations the relationship is given some structure and limits.

Pivotal Education Behaviour Management Course for Teaching Assistants is running in Birmingham on 8th November 2007.  Click here for more details or reply to this email.

© Paul Dix 2007

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