Behaviour for Learning: Embedding Routines – by Luzaan Sparks and Rob King

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Think about routines that you have at home e.g. routine in the morning or getting home from work…how does it make you feel?  How does it make you feel if that routine changes suddenly e.g. you sleep through your alarm clock?

Routines make us feel comfortable, safe and secure. It gives us a sense of purpose and contentment.  For our students, it gives them that sense of security too.  Hence, our classroom routines are important, so we need to establish them at the start of the year and remain consistent throughout the year with them.

What routines should be established?

  • Meet and greet – with you being on time for your lessons, you have the opportunity to interact with your students and converse with them in a positive, calm way whilst doing the usual uniform checks. This is not time to discuss who did and didn’t do homework.
  • Bags, coats and equipment – ensure students have removed coats and placed all equipment (including planners) on desks. Your settler activity is ready to get the students thinking which is followed by your lesson objectives, starter and the register being taken.
  • Seating plan – for all classes and your form should be in place and changed every half-term, at least. Many options are available to you based on gender, ability, behaviour, tasks and group activities.  Carry the seating plan around as you learn the names of students which adds to building relationships with students and allows targeted questioning.
  • Structure of lessons – ensure there is a smooth transition between tasks/activities/mini-plenaries so to avoid ‘dead time’ where a few students will grab the opportunity to play around. Think about how you are going to hand out books/scissors/glue/worksheets/practical equipment as well as collecting it in…could you use students to assist you?
  • Rewards – use of effective praise is important not just the ‘good work/well done’ comment. Comment on how well the student has completed a piece of work and what skill they may have used e.g. resilience. Use the R2/R3 on Classcharts and of course, the phone call home is always a rewarding one for both student and us.
  • Follow ups – if you have said to a student you will ring home or mark homework you must do it otherwise students will lose trust in you and even respect (not following through with a sanction) which could lead to behavioural issues.

Behaviour for Learning Routines also should be used by yourself.  Here are some examples:

  • Short cues e.g. eyes this way, listening thanks
  • Give direction to the behaviour you expect e.g. sit down, thanks
  • Take-up time (reflect on correct choice)
  • Non-verbal cues (tap the desk or eye contact)
  • Instructions you give should be DOs not DONT’s (positive language)
  • Don’t label the entire class or punish an entire class
  • Focus on primary behaviours
  • Task-focussed e.g. what can I help you with? (when students are off-task and chatting)

If students see that you are being consistent with your routines most students will fall into line easily. It becomes second nature to you and as for your students, they become used to your style of teaching along with your routines.  You can then focus on building good relationships with your students and enjoying teaching your lessons – as the students will enjoy being in your lessons.

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