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The Top Behaviour Management Strategies for Teaching Assistants

Date posted : 20 October 2021

Misbehaviour among pupils is as challenging for teaching assistants as it is for teachers. Dealing with behavioural problems is the responsibility of everyone who works in a school. Yet a teaching assistant’s role in encouraging appropriate behaviour is particularly critical.

Behaviour is a complex topic. There can be several reasons why a student misbehaves, and a range of strategies to deal with the behaviour. The past two years have highlighted the importance of teaching assistants and their crucial part in creating an optimal classroom environment.

Here are some of the most effective strategies to help teaching assistants manage classroom behaviour.

Observe and analyse

Teaching assistants must keep a keen eye on their classrooms and flag up any issues that the teacher may have missed. When managing classroom behaviour, it can be useful to conduct classroom observations that focus on how particular pupils are behaving. This will give yourself and the teacher a better understanding of individual children and which ones need the most attention.

You may be tasked with recording information, ideally over several lessons, such as:

  • how often certain behaviour occurs (e.g. shouting out, moving around the classroom, ignoring instructions, disrupting other pupils)
  • a pattern in reactions to different activities, teachers and environments
  • the amount of work completed in comparison to other learners
  • how different peers affect the pupil’s behaviour and what triggers misbehaviour

From here you can use the information gathered to better analyse the cause of undesirable behaviour and the forms that behaviour takes. You can also identify if there were any actions that made that behaviour stop.

Praise positive behaviour

It’s easy for TAs to fall into the trap of thinking that discipline is solely about punishing students for poor behaviour. Good discipline is more often based in reinforcing positive behaviour . Always ensure you highlight a child’s achievements, praise their positive traits, and encourage them when you identify good behaviour.

If a normally disruptive child displays a positive attitude in class, praising their work ethic could really help them stay on the right track. That positive reinforcement may very well motivate other students to behave in the same way too.

Use calming language and clear instructions

Communication is among the most important skills for a teaching assistant . The way you communicate with students and the tone of your voice are key to the success of your behaviour management strategies. Ensure that you communicate with your students in a calm tone of voice as shouting can often indicate a loss of control. It’s also far more effective to speak to pupils about their behaviour one-to-one to avoid disrupting the rest of the class (or making them feel shamed).

It’s also crucial that you make your instructions clear to the class. Work with the teacher to establish what the expectations of your class are and relay your rules in a clear and concise manner. If there is a particular task that the class needs to complete, explain it in the simplest terms possible and check with individual students to ensure they understand what they are doing.

Make an effort to build relationships with students

Positive student relationships are crucial for any teaching assistant. Investing time to learn about your students can reap huge rewards when it comes to behaviour management. Building a trusting relationship with your students creates an optimal classroom environment and can encourage students to adopt a positive working attitude.

Make time to get to know the students and show an interest in their lives. This can include simply greeting them as they come in, finding out what they did over the weekend, or asking them how they are performing in other subjects. A well-organised classroom with motivated students who trust and feel valued by the teacher is a classroom that is built to flourish.

Find your next teaching assistant role with Teaching Personnel

If you are ready to embark on a new teaching assistant experience at a school near you, then Teaching Personnel is the place to start. As the UK's leading education recruitment agency, we place teaching assistants into rewarding roles up and down the country.

Browse our primary teaching assistant jobs , secondary teaching assistant jobs and special needs teaching assistant jobs today.

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