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Resource Area

Behaviour and Engagement in Learning

Practicioners & Evidence

Developing an environment, ethos and relationships for learning

The Steer report noted "consistent experience of good teaching engages pupils in their learning and this reduces instances of poor behaviour" (2006). The quality of the learning and teaching experience, wherever this takes place, is undoubtedly important in engaging and motivating learners, however, this only part of the story, learner behaviour, and practitioners responses to it, are also intimately related to many aspects of school and wider social life, they are a product of many inter-related issues.


 "It may be true that the common behaviour problems of about 20 or 30 years ago have now a slightly changed focus. And the way the behaviour is shown is just a different type of behaviour. But it is still linked to the sort of problems the child is having. It may be problems at home, it could just be problems of their own feelings, and it could actually be problems with your own teachin... maybe they feel that you are not engaged with them, they feel sort of left out... you have to look at that. But I think there is always a way in, that you can latch on to every child..." (Teacher quoted in Garner P and Davies D (2007) 'Key Questions in Behaviour A Resource for Initial Teacher Trainees and their Tutors and Mentors', IPRN, available online at )

This resource area brings together key documents, research and evidence based resources that reflect the move away from behaviour management as something primarily concerned with control and 'managing' a classroom towards viewing behaviour management as something intimately related to high quality teaching and learning and a holistic understanding of the relationship between, learner, teacher, learning setting and wider society.

This shift is about recognising that learner behaviour is about more than control, discipline or 'treating' an individual. Rather, managing behaviour for learning is about the environment, ethos and relationships developed in and for learning.

Whole school approaches
Whole school approaches to positive behaviour management, such as Framework for Intervention developed in Birmingham, widely adopted in Scotland and due to be rolled out across Norway, are integrated with a range of policies and processes such as parental and community engagement policies, teaching and learning policies, engaging and innovative curricula and high quality leadership. Whole-school approaches have been shown to be more effective in improving every aspect of school life. Programmes that focus on the curriculum, the environment and the community have been shown to be more successful in improving behaviour, learning, attendance and staff effectiveness than those that focus on only one of these aspects.

The National Strategies website states:
"Evidence suggests that where schools have successfully addressed issues of ethos and organisation, as well as strengths and weaknesses in teaching and learning, improved standards of behaviour and attendance are the inevitable consequence."

Teaching appropriate behaviour
Of course appropriate behaviour has to be taught in some cases, modelling of expected behaviour by staff is important and the teaching of tools to cope with difficult situations is essential if children and young people are to develop emotional and social skills. The National Primary and Secondary Strategies on Behaviour and Attendance offers schools practical materials to help develop pupils' emotional, social and behaviour skills.

This resource area brings together key documents, research and evidence based resources that reflect the move towards viewing managing behaviour for learning as something which is intimately related to high quality teaching and learning and includes managing the environment, ethos and relationships developed in a learning setting.

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