Sir Alan Steer’s interim report on behaviour is the springboard for this week’s focus: the links between professional development, teaching and learning, and behaviourpdf-2322649

CPD Week Info Sheet – Learning teaching and behaviour.pdf

Children are more influenced by the sermons you act than by the sermons you preach.
David McKay

With Sir Alan Steer’s interim review on pupil behaviour fresh on our desks, there’s much for schools to digest – particularly with regard to professional learning and behaviour. With this in mind, the next few issues of CPD Week will explore ways in which schools might build on the points raised in the review when designing development for school staff.

Professional learning for behaviour

The latest report from Sir Alan Steer on behaviour in our schools advises on three main areas:

  1. How school behaviour and attendance partnerships might be developed to maximise their effectiveness.
  2. The impact on pupil behaviour of consistently applied school policies on learning and teaching.
  3. The links between behavioural standards, special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities.

These three dimensions form a useful basis from which to develop professional learning routes for all members of staff regarding behaviour, and in particular we will be focusing on elements of points 2 and 3 over the next few weeks.

Whenever I speak to a group of teachers at conferences or workshops, I always ask the same question, regardless of the subject area or theme I’m covering: ‘What is your school’s definition of learning?’ To date, only one person has ever responded positively, but sadly the policy wasn’t adhered to by all members of staff. It’s an interesting question to ask. There’s no requirement for schools to be working to agreed definitions of learning but it seems to make sense; after all, schools are all about the business of teaching and learning and it’s incredibly surprising how widely definitions of these terms vary.

Thinking about teaching and learning is crucial when planning development for behaviour. As Ofsted has found, in many schools where behaviour is inadequate, teaching and learning tends to be inadequate also. Likewise, if behaviour is outstanding, teaching and learning tends to be excellent. It seems that there is a direct correlation between the quality of teaching and learning in a school and the quality of behaviour.

Our accompanying information sheet will help you to work on creating a definition of learning which might usefully inform development activities in your school. The thoughts below will also aid this process with a view to developing approaches to behaviour management. The overall aim is that everything your school does forms a solid foundation on which great teaching and learning (and therefore behaviour) can take place.

  • How closely are strategies such as assessment for learning woven into your school’s ideas about teaching and learning? Does this raise any natural knock-on effects on the way in which your school approaches behaviour and in particular, professional learning for behaviour management?
  • Shared expectations for behaviour are critically important, therefore all development for behaviour management must fit in with your school’s overall beliefs and ethos. It may be worth considering approaching development for behaviour only as a whole school, or at the very least, ensuring that all development for behaviour is disseminated to the whole school.
  • In-school variation can be a blessing and a nightmare. How does your school identify any such variations in teaching, learning and behaviour and what approaches does it take to maximize their benefits and minimize their costs? How does planning for professional learning help to facilitate this?
  • When behaviour difficulties arise and a need to focus on development to alleviate them is indicated, it might be wise to firstly explore teaching expertise and levels of engagement in lessons.
  • What values does your school operate by? In what ways are those values influencing development for behaviour? Is your school proactive or reactive?
  • What influences the continuing dialogue in your school, about behaviour and behavioural difficulties? How do these influences feed into planning for development?
  • Where are the weak spots in behaviour in your school? For example, some schools experience points of transition as triggers for behaviour difficulties, for others it is the particular challenges raised by specific subject areas. This kind of knowledge helps to feed in to whole school needs for development.
  • Go back to basics by exploring the ways in which the core standards for teachers focus on behaviour. In particular look at C1, C2, C10 and C16. Does development for behaviour in your school support development of these standards? If not, that’s a strong case for change.

When you take a whole-school approach to behaviour (and its natural inherent links to teaching and learning), it’s clear to see just how great a role social and emotional development plays. It could be argued that all of these themes are so inextricably interlinked in schools, it would be folly to try to separate them. Food for thought indeed!

Next week we will be exploring ideas about professional learning and special educational needs, disabilities and behaviour.

Find out more…

Download Sir Alan Steer’s Review of Pupil Behaviour Interim Report

This e-bulletin issue was first published in February 2009

About the author: Elizabeth Holmes qualified as a teacher at the Institute of Education, London and is the author of several books specialising in the areas of professional development and teacher well-being.