UKEdMag: Changing Behaviour by @PrimaryIdeas

Originally published in Issue 45 of the UKEdChat Magazine

Here’s how I explain our behaviour policy: When you arrive home and you’ve driven at 30mph and stopped at red lights, do you expect a sticker, a round of applause or some other praise? Or, did you just drive like that because it’s the right thing to do?

We no longer give praise, House Points, stickers etc. for ‘doing what’s expected’ at our school. We no longer ask children to ‘do something for us’ and we no longer tell children they’ve made us pleased by their behaviour choices.

We have no set rules, no set consequences and no set rewards.

Children know what the expectations are of them in a classroom and on the playground. Pupils can reflect upon their positive and negative behaviour choices. They can make suggestions about what they can do as a result of their actions and how to improve on them in the future.

So, let them!

If children do the right thing, great. Point it out, tell them so, but it is not necessary to heap praise and stickers on them. If children don’t do the right thing, sit down with them, discuss their choices, why did it happen, what were the circumstances, what happened and what are they going to do about it?

Which helps more?

“Stop that” – detention.


Unpicking the incident.

What were you doing right before the incident? Why did it happen? What should you have done? What can you do in the future? As a result of this, what are you going to do to put things right? Do you need a sanction to help you think about this in the future?

One approach is adult lead and whereas the other is student lead. The adult can still advise and guide with the second approach, but surely the second is more productive? The results have been evident at our school.

We don’t tell the children they’ve pleased us or done something for us (adults). They’re doing something because they should, because they want to – for themselves.

Let’s build a community who do the right thing because they know it’s the right thing to do…

Click here to see this article freely in Issue 45 of the UKEdChat Magazine

Dan and Liam @PrimaryIdeas are Assistant Heads from a junior school in Cambridgeshire. They both retain teaching responsibilities. Between them, they have almost 30 years of primary school experience. Together, they blog and Tweet as Primary Ideas:

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