Teachers' Christian Fellowship of NSW : Conference papers
Alison Soutter, Senior Adviser, Behaviour Management, NSW Department of Education and Training

This workshop will first look at basic hygiene factors for a positive classroom environment. These might be:

• teacher on time and prepared
• students informed about the aims and structure of the lesson
• class rules and consequences established
• students have some feeling of control
• success is more likely than failure for all students and feedback is regular
• enthusiasm and fun in every lesson

Even in such an environment things go wrong. Some students are off task and need to be brought back, some are disruptive. In these circumstances a teacher needs to focus on the behaviour which got their attention in the first place. This means that one is not distracted by students saying things such as,
“You are always picking on me!” or “I was only…..”

The skills of positive correction are:

• Focus on primary behaviour
• Para-verbal communication
• Tactical ignoring
• Distraction & diversion
• Appeal to students sense of fairness
• Redirect – offer to help/allow time-out
• Question & feedback
• Rule reminders
• Take up time
• Choice direction/be respectful
• Speak to student away from the group
• Cool off time

By focusing on positive correction a teacher is refusing to escalate the situation. In this workshop we will look at specific techniques that teachers use in specific circumstances to keep students on task. We will look at participants’ best lessons to find out what makes the difference between a good lesson and a disaster. We will also look at techniques for encouraging students in meaningful ways so that they repeat the behaviours essential for classroom learning. This is best done by looking at the sorts of encouragement which have been most effective in our lives.

Many classroom reward systems do not make the rewarded behaviour more likely whereas many classroom punishments do not make the punished behaviour less likely. In this workshop we will look at why this might be so.

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