CPD workshop: Lunchtime behaviour

Written by: Steve Burnage | Published:
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In this series, Steve Burnage offers CPD workshop ideas that can be adapted for your school. Here, he looks at positive behaviour management for lunchtime supervisors and support staff

This article provides a 45-minute interactive training outline that could be suitable for a staff meeting, staff development group, small group CPD or individual study. The training outline is below and the PowerPoint slides and handout are free to download (click the buttons above).

Slide 1 & 2: Welcome, Outcomes

By the end of this CPD, you will have:

  • Developed your skills in building effective relationships and rapport with children.
  • Developed your knowledge of how to motivate and engage with children.
  • Considered issues related to children’s behaviour and developed strategies to address these.
  • Identified strengths and areas for development.

Slide 3: What’s the problem

Activity: Thinking about incidents of student behaviour at lunchtime. Which behaviours help you do your job and which ones hinder you? Record and share your ideas. Now, think about the causes of each behaviour. What causes good behaviours in students? What causes problem behaviour?

Slide 4: Negative behaviour: Your role

  • Activity: Working as a group, think about each of these factors and record your answers:
  • Routines: What routines do you use and why?
  • Clarity: How do you ensure that you are clear about what you want children to do (and how)?
  • Language: How do you use your language to manage behaviour? Think about the sorts of questions you ask or the statements you make. Are they clear? Are they positive? Do they contain an instruction?
  • Questioning: How do you use questions with students? When do you use questions and when do you use statements?
  • Transitions: What steps do you take to ensure that transitions between locations or activities are smooth?
  • Inclusion: What do you do to ensure that all students’ needs are met at lunchtime?

The environment: How do you create a positive lunchtime environment? What do you do to make the physical environment safe?

Notice that all of the questions focus on what we do. This is because we can manage children’s behaviour better if we start by changing our own.

Slides 5 & 6: Maslow’s Hierarchy

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states that we all have various needs as human beings. These start from our most fundamental animal needs found at the bottom of the pyramid (see slide), moving through to those that give our existence purpose at the top.

When considering why students do not fully co-operate in the first place, Maslow’s theory helps to explain this. Put briefly, all humans will go to any lengths to ensure that our basic needs are met and this drive to meet these needs over-rides everything else – other people’s needs, good behaviour, agreed rules etc.

For example, if a child has not eaten properly before lunchtime, hunger will drive them to get food and this will overpower any expectations of good behaviour. Or if there are no clear boundaries for behaviour children will make their own rules for behaviour so that they feel safe and secure.

Slide 7: Effective persuasion

Activity: Thinking about what has been learned already, consider this scenario – you are trying to persuade three pupils to play together. They are reluctant to do this. How might you try to convince them? Share your initial ideas with the group.

Now consider some of the factors that we have learned will affect behaviour and go back and review your initial ideas to resolve this issue. Then think about Maslow – if fear is a driver for poor behaviour, how can we remove the fear and encourage the children to play together. Review your ideas again.

How is your final solution different from your initial ideas? What has this taught you?

Slide 8: Building rapport

Rapport is about good relationships. Maslow’s theories tell us about the want to be loved and feel that others care about us. In children’s eyes, getting our attention for bad reasons is better than not getting our attention at all. So, give children your attention for all of the good things they might do – walking calmly rather than running, saying please or thank you, clearing up after lunch.

Slide 9: What we do

Often, our behaviours are what cause the students to misbehave at lunchtime. We can change our behaviour more easily than changing the behaviour of students:

  • Be proactive. Stop the unacceptable behaviour before it starts. Think about the lunchtime triggers that most often lead to bad behaviour – the rush to the dinner queue or bad weather – and how you can be proactive.
  • Always follow through, no empty threats.
  • Do not tolerate low-level disruption. It is the small behaviours that lead to the bigger ones so nip it in the bud. Do not leave it for someone else.
  • Remember you are the adult and you are modelling the behaviour you want. Try to remain calm, talk quietly and treat students with respect.
  • Follow school policy. Always apply your school’s behaviour policy consistently and fairly.
  • Be consistent. Always apply the same standards of behaviour so that students know where they stand and what to expect from you.
  • Be aware of any particular behaviour issues of particular students.
  • Praise is always more effective than punishment.

Slide 10: What we say

  • Knowing names works wonders. Take time to learn children’s names and use them. This will give you more control over situations and empower you to take some action.
  • Tell pupils what you want them to do, not what you don’t want them to do. Phrase things positively to give a clear instruction to the child: “Come down off the wall now” is better than “Why are you on that wall?”
  • Use “maybe ... and” statements: A child says: “They were pushing to the front too.” You say: “Maybe – and I need you to stand calmly.”
  • Follow instructions with “thank you” rather than “please” – making the assumption that students will comply and modelling polite behaviour.
  • Most children prefer to receive both praise and rebukes privately rather than publicly. Find a quiet corner or go to the child to talk.
  • Do not ask pupils why they are doing something unacceptable. Instead, make statements. Only use questions when you want to know the answer.
  • Make it clear to children who behave badly that they have made a decision to do this and that there are consequences to that decision. Also make sure they know the consequences of deciding to behave well.

Slides 11 & 12: Summary/next steps

Consider what you have learned. Which behaviour management approaches might work for you and which may not?

  • Steve Burnage has experience leading challenging inner city and urban secondary schools. He now works as a freelance trainer, consultant and author for staff development, strategic development, performance management and coaching and mentoring. Visit www.simplyinset.co.uk and read his previous articles for SecEd, including his previous CPD workshop overviews, at http://bit.ly/2u1KW9e


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