UKEdMag: Behaviour. What behaviour? by @4c3d

From behaviour ‘tsars’ to policies and rules, the focus is never on student learning, only compliance. It is my view that compliance is a learning disadvantage - not an advantage.

This article originally appeared in Issue 47 of UKEd Magazine. Click here to read the magazine.

Compliance limits you to what others want or expect and not what you need or can achieve. We require students to ‘behave’ in such a way that is best described as ‘compliant’ and argue that the behaviour we lay down actually supports learning but does it?

Sit facing the front, fold your arms, no doodling or fiddling are amongst the behaviours we expect in the classroom. Yes, I can agree to not pinching your neighbour’s pen and certainly being quiet when quiet is called for or walking in an orderly manner around the school.

These and more are often the focus of the ‘Behaviour Policy’ though and we are missing an opportunity to focus behaviour in school on learning, ‘earning behaviours’ if you will.

What would be on your list of learning behaviours? Mine would include such things as:

  • Showing resilience
  • Approaching learning as a problem-solving activity
  • Looking for ‘feedforward’ and not just wanting ‘feedback’
  • Showing courage
  • Being curious
  • Taking risks
  • Reflective

@4c3d Director at Advocating Creativity in Education - Northampton

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About UKEdChat Editorial 3187 Articles
The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.


  1. Students need to learn behaviour from the inside out, not the outside in.
    They need to have Agency and a voice, feel Safe about making mistakes, supported in having Positive feelings about themselves and the world, feel Included, connected and that they matter, have their situations and feelings acknowledged and Respected and teachers believe in them and their Equal worth with others. ASPIRE to something other than compliance. Behaviourism is fundamentally flawed. especially for kids in strife.

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