Helping pupils improve their behaviour
In this section, we examine a method of changing a pupil’s undesirable behaviour by demonstrating how to identify specific, mutable elements of unwanted behaviour and replace them with desirable behaviour through reinforcement. In this approach the teacher manipulates the learning environment (eg classroom layout, teacher behaviour, teaching and learning styles, the curriculum, etc). It is important to focus on the behaviour causing concern so that you can answer the following three key questions:
- Why does the pupil behave this way?
- What behaviour do you want to replace it with?
- How might the learning environment be modified to bring about the desired change?
A step-by-step process is presented here for methodically and efficiently manipulating the pupil’s environment to bring about the desired change. This includes identifying and prioritising behaviour, and generating a number of potential solutions and appropriate rewards. The aim is to help you to gain control over events. Behavioural approaches offer a scientific method for managing behaviour. They have a history of success, but they are not a quick fix, and they have their critics. Ultimately, adopting a behavioural approach will help empower you to take control of problematic situations and make better decisions about how to manage your environment.