Strictly Positive Behaviour Management – why?

Ja'mie: Private School Girl

Okay, so I’ve done a lot of stuff about the edges and the background and the effects of Strictly Positive Teaching, but it all starts with Strictly Positive Behaviour Management. So it’s time for a few posts from the beginning.


Strictly Positive Behaviour Management

This is absolutely the heart of Strictly Positive Teaching, and is the starting point of the philosophy. But why is it important?

The problem:

When you look at your planner and see that 9G are coming in in lesson 3, and you feel a tightening, sinking feeling, there are certain things you could, but probably don’t, remind yourself:

  1. 23 out of 30 members of 9G are absolutely fine.
  2. 6 out of 7 of the annoying kids are lovely when you talk to them on a 1-1 basis. But they’re not mad about your subject and they welcome the distraction that the other 1 provides.
  3. The 1 who is actually the one you dread is not dreadful all the time. Let’s call her Stacey. But Stacey takes up the most of your time and it seems as if she has the express intention of ruining your lesson. You often end up yelling at her.

You’re not the only one who dreads 9G. When you mention 9G, they roll their eyes and tell you a war story about how Stacey ruined their lesson.  It doesn’t make you feel better.

Stacey, on the other hand, is absolutely fine with this. She’d be chuffed to bits if she realised the teachers were all talking about her. It’s quite a feat for a kid who quite often does no work, and who doesn’t really have much clue what’s going on. (After all, that’s partly why she acts up in your lesson: after initially being disruptive in classes, Stacey started to be removed from classrooms. Thereafter she started being excluded. When she comes back into school she has missed so much lesson time that she can’t keep up, so she gets her kudos by making sure no one else learns either.) It won’t take much longer than a couple of minutes for anyone observing or even popping into one of Stacey’s lessons to know her name. She always has an audience of other students who make her feel important. She’s in detention practically every day; it has long since ceased to bother her, and she usually has a few of her mates in there with her.

Stacey gets lots of attention. She spends her day as the focus of attention. Job done.

Stacey is in dire need of some strictly positive behaviour management.

As I said in my introduction, SPT harnesses children’s attention-seeking behaviour to lead them to POSITIVE behaviour effort or work. Teachers look for POSITIVE behaviour, effort or work.

The basic rules are:

  • Be vigilant that no positive effort, achievement or behaviour goes unrewarded.
  • Students can only get attention for positive behaviour or activity.
  • Praise is public, specific and leads to reward
  • Negative interaction is private, specific and leads to sanction


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