Dos and Dont’s of Behaviour Management

By Murray Bourne, 16 Dec 2005

Paperback, ©Roger Dunn, Continuum, 2005 (147 pages)

Summary Review

dos and donts

Dunn's extensive experience as a school disciplinary officer is obvious throughout the book Dos and Don'ts of Behaviour Management. His practical advice is valuable whether you are about to start a teaching career or whether you are one of those jaded teachers that experience great frustration in the classroom because of poor student behaviour.

The setting for the book is public schools in England. In many schools in Western countries, education is more about surviving each day intact, rather than learning. There is something really wrong with that...

Suggestions in the book that I liked:

  • "Perfect Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance" (he is referring to teachers here). Plan the lesson. Plan the technology. Plan for disasters. Be in the room before the students arrive. Have materials ready. Ensure learning will take place.
  • Take charge calmly, politely and firmly
  • Approach teaching like a coach approaches a sporting team - motivate, encourage, demonstrate, praise
  • Respond less to negative behaviours and praise positive behaviours
  • Use rewards sparingly
  • Believe in the potential of students
  • Maintain a sense of humour!

Things which were not emphasised enough (or not at all):

  • If the students are interested in the learning event, they are less likely to misbehave. Behaviour management is more about motivation than control.
  • That Dunn was maybe "successful" as a disciplinary officer because he is physically large and strong (Many teachers are smaller than their students - this adds extra challenge.)

A worthwhile read - it is good to reflect on how to handle difficult situations in teaching.

Footnote: As a former mathematics teacher, I was concerned at the number of times Dunn wrote things like

...if you do such-and-such, the problems will increase trigonometrically.

Say what? From the context, he surely meant to say "exponentially". See this → Exponential Functions and compare to trigonometric functions.

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