Managing Behaviour for Learning

The Science Learning Centre are hosting a free online course with behaviour expert Paul Dix:

Enrol now!


The course is for teachers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects, focusing mainly on the context of UK schools and colleges. It aims to help them learn how to maintain discipline when dealing with unruly students. Although the course draws from examples experienced in the UK, the material covered is relevant to an international audience.
Topics covered include:

  • Week One: Managing your own behaviour to influence theirs
  • Week Two: Using rules and routines to achieve consistency
  • Week Three: Intelligent use of recognition to motivate students
  • Week Four: Reducing friction when students behave badly
  • Week Five: Reparation and restorative practice


Transform your classroom by making small shifts in your own behaviour. This free, online course has been developed by the National Science Learning Centre (United Kingdom) as part of their suite of high impact professional development for teachers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Paul Dix, a leading voice in behaviour management in the UK and internationally, will help you learn how to positively influence the behaviour of your students through small shifts in your own behaviour. Other areas covered in this course include how to develop the habits of effective behaviour managers; mechanisms for communicating success with students, parents and colleagues; how to use group rewards to change behaviour; and how to manage difficult confrontations. Participants will develop a good understanding of how to be proactive about encouraging good behaviour in your classroom and reactive in responding calmly to poor behaviour.


2 Nov 2015
to 6 Dec 2015
Managing behaviour for learning


The course will be led by Paul Dix, a leading voice in behaviour management in the UK and internationally. Paul is a trainer with an exceptional reputation for designing, implementing, and sustaining change in behaviour. He trained at Homerton College, Cambridge and has taught, managed, and succeeded in a wide range of schools and colleges in challenging circumstances. Paul co-founded Pivotal Education in 2001. As the lead trainer, Paul has been training teachers, advisors, students, mentors, and classroom assistants from early years to adult education. His work on behaviour and assessment is being used successfully in colleges, schools (mainstream and special), PRUs, and initial teacher training programmes.


Engaging and Motivating Students

By Nick Broome, Public Services

One of my coachees (Richard Reardon, Public Services) identified a brilliant way of engaging and motivating his students:

He divided his class in half. Each half became a team and had a Team Captain, who Richard selected based on attendance, namely the two of the worst offenders regarding lateness!

Each captain was made responsible for his/her team’s attendance and timekeeping. Points were awarded or subtracted for good or poor behaviour, lateness or arriving on time, arriving with or without kit, etc.

At the end of the academic year, the winning team was presented with a prize which every member of the class had contributed to.

In addition, one student per week performed the role of ‘duty student’ who was responsible for putting away laptops and other equipment.

This scheme was successful and it improved attendance and time keeping, it improved behaviour and general discipline and it provided the whole class with a greater sense of responsibility. It defused low level discipline issues effectively.

This year, Richard will change the format by breaking the class into smaller teams so that an inter-section competition can be run. He plans to widen the scope of this scheme from dealing with slightly negative issues into more positive outcomes.

A joy to observe while coaching and another way of managing classroom behaviour!

Peer Observation – Celebrating Feedback

By Cheryl Philpott, Hair and Beauty at Swale

During my peer observation in a GCSE English lesson there were a lot of opportunities to link an interesting debate with the themes that under pin the concepts of Equality and Diversity. A discussion about New Hope Boko Haram was raised within the class and the consequences of kidnapping. By linking this discussion the students were asked to explain why an offer of a scholarship was an opportunity as much as a risk. Learners were able to make the links between the concepts of Equality and Diversity and why this impacts on the lives of people, of different age, gender and race. Good questioning provided a challenge for the students and was highly effective in checking the learning progress of the students. Sandra used a range of questioning techniques very well to challenge all the students understanding. I discussed with Sandra different ways to increase the level of difficulty when asking a question to stretch and challenge the students’ knowledge further (Blooms taxonomy). Once the learners are able to respond to lower levels skills, ask more challenging questions, which require a response related to evaluation, creativity or analysis. One easy and quick technique that can be used to challenge leaners is use of the word ‘and’ or ‘or’. For example, at the end of a response ask “and?”

By doing so, learners will have to dig deeper for further information. If they are unable to extend their answer, you are then aware of their true depth of knowledge and the support required can be identified. Do not take the first response from learners. Offer the response for others to critique. Check if peers can expand further on the response and if they agree or disagree with the original response. Sandra used this questioning technique to stretch and challenge the students’ knowledge further.

Good visual references were used, for example handouts and power points were available for the learners, it is very helpful for the learners to refer to the resources during the session as there were students with varying needs.

The tutor knows the students well and used detailed and well informed group profiles to plan differentiation ensuring that teaching, learning and support meet the needs of each learner. For example, a student who was very dominate within the group was given the task of being group speaker for the team.

The impact the assessment activities had within the session was effective in showing that the mixed ability group all demonstrated successful learning in the session. The students were fully aware of their progress during the session.

Sandra’s feedback on coaching and peer observation:

“Cheryl provided me with practical ideas both from her own experience and also from other tutors in Swale, including delivering English, and we discussed how I could adapt them to fit with my style of teaching to enhance each session. As most of our meetings were at the latter end of the academic year it enabled me to prepare for the new academic year and I have hit the ground running and this is undoubtedly helped by Cheryl.”

Talking the P

By Bernard Wathey, Science

The start of a new term and a new year and that means inducting our new learners. They have arrived to these new surroundings to meet new friends and in many cases to start a fresh on their academic or vocational journey. Yet the first thing we present them with are large volumes of information that they are expected to take in over a couple of days. This is quite daunting for some learners – think back to your induction! The course handbooks, assessment calendars, timetables, campus maps, Health and Safety and Safeguarding PowerPoint presentations. In addition, there’s department orientation treasure hunts amongst the Students Union candy floss and badges. It can be a busy, confusing time!

However, the most important message for the students that they need to work hard and consistently is often lost in the melee that is this fresher’s fever. Students can quickly lose sight of why they are here. So here, instead, is what you might consider a reminder and a good discussion point for lessons and tutorials. We could call it the nine Ps. These could always be contextualised in an employer/employee scenario such as… “What an employer would do if…”

Presence – being present in the sessions with the emphasis on attendance being at 95% as a minimum requirement

Performance – emphasis on achieving high grades Merit and Distinction.

Punctuality – getting to lectures or workshops on time. Lecturers owe it to the students that turn up on time to start on time.

Professionalism – emphasis on not just what they say, but how they say and do it. Everything the students do should be with a view to gaining the skills to help the students into future employment. Even down to sitting properly in a chair!

Preparation – students would not turn up to a job without tools or for football without football boots so why should they come to sessions without pen, paper or calculator.

Participation- when the learners are in the sessions they should be actively joining in the session. This should include active listening.

Progression- this is the point to stress that only when all of the above Ps are at a satisfactory level can this final P be put in place.

Pass – is the new fail, target only merits and distinctions

Finally, introduce some fun into your induction by using the;

Power of Plasticine Get the students to make a model or object out of plasticine or modelling clay which represents their character. This is great for the kinaesthetic learner and is also a good ice breaker. This exercise can be really useful as not only can it provide you with an insight into the learner’s character you can use it as part of the group profile.

Assignment Shake-Up

Lightbulb Moment!  By Raymond Vidler, Electrical Installations in Building Services

In the final term of the last academic year, my year one JTL Electrical Apprentices were due to complete their final assignment. Prepared with handouts and all resources loaded onto the VLE, I started to introduce the final assignment to complete year one of their studies. As I started to explain the technicalities of the assignment, several students were discussing how their colleagues (year three apprentices) had completed a similar assignment!! Knowing the City & Guilds assessment framework and how the assignments have only two versions to rotate, I needed to think of how these students were to be stretched in this final assignment. It was break time and sitting in the staff room a “Lightbulb Moment” occurred, I had to mix up the delivery method of this assignment to stretch & challenge the students, welcoming the students back after break I announced how this final assignment would be completed…

I proceeded to explain the assignment brief and more information would be released next week on their requirements in completing this assignment. The options of informing the students could be VLE, Twitter, e Tracker, Facebook or student group discussions centred around the seating plan derived around the group profile, I chose the final option to see the look of horror on their faces!! In true ‘X Factor’ style there would be a further announcement next week – Boot Camp – the final twist!

Now the twist, the final five announcements,

  1. The presentations would be carried out in the lecture Theatre PG07.
  2. All presentations would be filmed for analysing and appraisal.
  3. All presentations would be attended by all of the electrical section and questions would be asked to confirm underpinning knowledge.
  4. The presentations would be attended by the Section Manager of Building Services and the Assistant Principal.
  5. The presentations would also be attended by the Regional Training Co-ordinator of JTL and the South East Training Officer.

The outcome:

With the simple changes of different venue and involving other members of staff and working with outside training partners, and in-conjunction with videoing – the outcome was incredible!

“I was impressed by the level of enthusiasm and the professionalism of the delivery, combined with good team-work and a high level of technical content which was far advanced for year 1 City & Guilds students – Well Done” David Howells (JTL Regional Training Co-ordinator)

Building Teams at Induction

By Karen McCafferty, AAT and Business

Activity seen in Induction with level 3 full-time accounting students for team building, following instructions, communication, peer assessment and a great opportunity to embed maths. (Thank you Mandy for this idea.)

Students are put into groups and each group is given an envelope with a selection of different coloured shapes – yellow circle, pink square, blue rectangle, purple triangle, green parallelogram, brown diamond, red pentagon, orange hexagon, turquoise octagon, black rhombus, white isosceles trapezoid (look it up!!) etc.

Each group of students is issued with a sheet of instructions:

  1. In your group, make a picture out of the shapes in the envelope – the whole group must agree on the picture.  You have five minutes to do this.
  2. When you have completed your picture, take a photograph of it, but keep it a secret.
  3. Write clear instructions on how you made this picture.  It may be a good idea to ‘road test’ your instructions to ensure they are clear.
  4. Pass your instructions to another group who will use them to re-construct your picture.
  5. On completion of the picture, compare it with the photograph of the original and give the group a score out of 10.
  6. Finally, give feedback to the group justifying the score that has been awarded and tell them how they would have improved their score.

To make it more challenging you could tell the students they are only allowed to use the correct names of the shapes. They could be allowed to use the internet to look these up.

Improving Enrolment

By Adrian Gray, Public Services

Public services have examined the effectiveness of enrolment via interviews, a system that we tend to depend on because we’ve always done it that way. A team evaluation of this showed that the interviews seldom exposed any issues as regards to a prospective student’s suitability for a course. Rather if they only served to check they had the correct qualifications and they were offered a course in line with those results. This led to an unhealthy attrition rate.

Attempts to overcome these issues were made using a ‘summer school’. However, this had little positive effect as attendance was voluntary and those that perhaps would really have benefited most from the event seldom attended.

This year we have tried a new strategy. Whilst the interviews still occur (but maybe this could be changed to an information and expectations type event using videos etc. from previous courses) students are now required to attend a two day assessment centre run during the summer. These events are structured according to the course level but basically have the same elements differentiated by level.

The assessment tests the qualities necessary for success on our courses. To start, attendance and punctuality to the sessions are measured and recorded. On the first day students are required to produce a piece of written work on a given topic. This requires comprehension of the topic, tests English and incorporates the use of mathematics in that the student has to report of the numbers of casualties in different incidents.

Following this, students are required to deliver a presentation on why the college should offer them the opportunity to study on the course. This brings out the level of motivation and helps to decide what level of course they are most suited, thereby aiming to reduce drop outs.

On completion of the first day, all students are given a piece of homework to be handed in the next day. This tests reliability and the commitment to complete work at home which are vital aspects of the courses. This has proved invaluable and highlights the few who have simply not done the homework stating they chose to go out with friends instead or just copy and pasted from the internet!

The second day includes physical tests similar to those activities that are part of the courses. The aim of these is not to assess the student’s fitness but to analyse their grit and determination. It should be emphasised that the assessment centres are designed to stream students on to the correct courses. Indeed it was often the case that while some students had narrowly missed the academic requirements of a particular course, analysis of their work and motivation afforded the opportunity for them to be accepted on a course previously not available to them.

We’ll be constantly evaluating whether this new approach has had the desired effects throughout the year to come!