Poor Behaviour & Engagement

With lead education consultant Dr Adam England

Behaviour & Engagement


Do traditional sanctions work?


Traditionally, we try to address both aspects of provision in the UK in a very orthodox manner – in other words we put in place a sliding scale of sanctions, various punitive measures and we say, “Look, the worse your behaviour, the more severe the sanction.” It is a way of thinking that is millennia-old and frankly, looking at the behaviour and the well-being in schools right now, is it effective?  You would have to say, probably not.

Then you would have to ask yourself, WHY is it not effective? Why doesn’t it work to threaten learners with sanctions? 

It does not work because people are so fundamentally displaced in their wellbeing that they cannot access that quiet space, that blue, rational area of thinking where they can become calm.  People just cannot do this themselves where there has been too much sociological disturbance.


How can your school make a difference?

The easy answer, as ever, is to begin to use space to manage behaviour.  Imagine if you are in a space that caters for you if you are not neuro-typical, if you are a little bit neuro diverse, if your well-being is off the Richter scale and you simply cannot concentrate.  

All of a sudden, you find a space where the seating is conducive to engaging you, the lighting enhances or affords your perception so you begin to work collaboratively and positively with your friends, where the acoustics are managed cleverly, skilfully and deftly minimising any reverberation to ensure you can hear the teachers or leaders speaking.  

Put those three together and imagine the impact on standards, engagement and above all else, behaviour. Does it work?  Absolutely..

Our tried and trusted methods - from years of educational leadership and hands-on experience in the classroom - ensure your students will be able to access better grades, feel calmer and more motivated, and have higher engagement levels at all ages.
Dr Adam England
Consultant Headteacher

Seeing tangible improvements

One school was very resistant to changing environment to improve behaviour.  They would not supply a budget for any improvements so some quick thinking was needed!  Using parking cones and tape, zones were created in the classroom to show a safe quiet area, a quiet collaborative area, a noisier collaborative area, and at the back of the classroom, a bundle of soft furnishings was placed to minimise any reverb. 

When the students arrived for their next class, they were delighted at the changes.  One of the neuro diverse girls was especially pleased and went straight to have a look at the quiet space zone. That English class was at +2.2 GCSE that year – and it was no coincidence. 

So no questions over whether it works, we know it does. 

Success for all your students

Do you need a huge budget?  Not necessarily.  Do you need to change your mindset?  Absolutely. 

Think very carefully about how you manage furnishings, light and acoustics to get the best out of everybody so you are speaking to not just the neurotypical but also the neuro diverse amongst your learners and you will see your students’ engagement and behaviour improve. 

Equally, if teachers step away from ‘command and control’ as a way of thinking and delivering the curriculum, make it more Harkness-like (teaching and learning method based on encouraging, open minded environment with only occasional teacher intervention) and more self-directed, this will reduce bullying.  

As teachers are modelling positive disaggregated behaviour and showing ownership of their actions, you will also see your students’ behaviour improve.

If you want to know more, do give us a call at Noble and Eaton.  

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