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Can we influence why students behave in certain ways?

Posted by Paul Raynor on Monday, 4 June 2018
Paul Raynor

A brief insight into some of the reasons why students behave in certain ways and some considerations for dealing with those issues. 


What is the student really trying to say?

As professionals we know behaviour is a form of communication and it is our role to understand what the student is trying to communicate and why!

There are several behaviours you can control in your classroom by giving thought to why a student is acting in a particular way. Your classroom is the place to deal and improve the situation most of the time.There are issues that might arise when your classroom is not the right place.

It remains your role to recognise these, ensuring they are not ignored. In my introductory blog I mentioned there are important policy or procedural matters you need to understand.

  • Enabling a student arrives safely at the Pastoral Area. For example, the problem is more complex than just a behaviour issue.
  • System for having a student removed from your class for a serious breach of behaviour.

The above examples can be dealt with calmly on your part. They present a safeguarding issue for the student; you must ensure safeguarding is undertaken. 

Remaining students in your class will be watching and judging you on how you do this. Below are some considerations you could address before entering your classroom, during your lesson, and after you lesson. You could also reach out and try to gain further information from other colleagues.


What is going wrong with the student within this setting?

  • Are they feeling unhappy or unsure of what is expected?

  • Are they able to really understand what is expected and what is required?

  • Have you set out your expectations and tasks in a clear and structured way ensuring you have differentiated between abilities and needs, are inclusive for all. (Teaching assistant may know the group better than you at this time, quietly discuss issues with them, this is a good method of quickly getting to understand some of the individual student needs and helps in forging a good working relationship together. Important, it is your classroom, the Teaching Assistant needs to understand your expectations to help you be consistent.)

  • Ensure you quickly get up to speed with the needs of students. Needs that are not being met can often result in low level disruption as a tactic to avoid doing your clearly set tasks. Does the student need coloured acetate to read, should they wear glasses but have forgotten them or due to peer pressure they are choosing not to wear them, have they forgotten an item of equipment and are worried about a sanction for this? Are they behind after a previous removal from lesson. You can quickly fix a number of these by being prepared, having spare equipment. Engaging with parents to prevent the issues becoming reoccurring. 

  • A student may be so upset (many reasons) where the classroom is not the right environment. Your role is to teach, before you do so you must deal with this issue. (next blog will cover “meeting and greeting” prior to classroom entry) Recognising the issue at this stage - is a good time to deal, none of your classroom routines are being interrupted. You may pick this up in the classroom, deal calmly and have the student removed to a setting where they can be helped. 

  • Students display behaviours because of SEN, use your Teaching Assistant to get up to speed. Managing your class in a calm and consistent way is your first big step to being truly inclusive for all students.   



About our Community Expert


Paul Raynor

Community Expert

Community expert and former Detective Inspector, Paul Raynor has direct experience in teaching educators how to better manage behaviour within secondary education.

Paul has experience with safeguarding, and has supported schools with writing behaviour policies in conjunction with senior leaders. He is an expert in his field.


Topics: #inspirationmonday


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