5 Things You Need to Become the ‘Drake’ of Behaviour Management
Updated: Apr 17
“We started from the bottom now we here” - Drake
Have you struggled with Behaviour Management?
According to The Independent newspaper, a whopping 75% of teachers frequently have to deal with disruptive behaviour in school and have considered quitting as a result.
And now with the COVID19 pandemic, teachers need to come up with new, creative ways to manage pupil behaviour. That’s a tough gig, especially if you are a new teacher or an NQT.
But if you stick around, I will show you how you can use Drake's career as a gameplan to help you master Behaviour Management. Let's take a look.
Drake's Behaviour Management Blueprint
Audrey ‘Drake’ Graham is on top of the world right now and he isn’t letting go. As a multi-platinum selling rapper and singer, Drake came, saw and conquered every aspect of the entertainment industry.
a successful actor
rapper & record label owner
With 170 million dollars sitting in the bank, Drake is spinning many plates without breaking any - and looking damn good doing it.
Drake’s musical range is what sets him apart from his peers. Drizzy can sing a sweet RnB song like “Find Your Love” but can battle rap with the best of them on tracks like the “Duppy Freestyle.”
Drake could have rested on his laurels after achieving just one of his impressive feats. But he continued to learn & study the other areas of Entertainment using his leverage to accelerate his results making him the most commercially versatile artist on the planet.
Likewise dear teacher, you must systematically learn & master the 5 separate areas of Behaviour Management to help you engage & win over your classrooms.
1) Behaviour Management starts with YOU
First, you must learn to manage the behaviour of the person you see in the mirror every day when you brush your teeth.
You must understand your own psychology & then you will have a greater handle on how you can influence your students.
You are not merely a teacher but the LEADER of your classrooms.
Behaviour Management is simple: The more your students' RESPECT and LIKE you, the more they will behave positively in your lessons.
Old school behaviour management is all about asserting control over the class, forcing them to listen to you - or else. While that worked in the 70s, it certainly won’t work on this generation.
If your students can pick up their phones and tell the Prime Minister where he (and his mum) can go, what makes you think they are going to listen to you? You have to the example & model the behaviour you want in the classroom.
Lead from the front.
This abrasive type of Behaviour Management causes stress to both you and your students, decreases enjoyment & can seriously harm your health & wellbeing. There are better ways to do it.
Teachers that practice superb behaviour management have 2 things:
Authority has become a dirty little word in our society & this can be a big stumbling block for teachers who are learning to manage students’ behaviour. If I said to you to an ‘authoritative leader,’ most people would think of Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin.
How does using your authority make you feel? Do you feel ‘icky’ afterwards?
That’s not quite how authority works. Yes, authority does involve your position & your ability to command respect but GREAT teachers also display the following traits:
I) Character - who you are. Are you a person of your word? Do you display integrity?
II) Relationships - who you know. Do you foster positive relationships with students & staff? Do you make people feel safe around you?
III) Knowledge - what you know. How strong is your subject knowledge? Are you engaging as a practitioner?
IV) Intuition - what you feel. Can you ‘read’ a room? Do you act decisively in times of crisis?
V) Experience - where you have been. What life experiences can you bring to your classrooms to enhance your students’ learning?
VI) Past success — what you’ve done. How can you use your wins (and your losses) to make you a better teacher?
VII) Ability - what you can do. How do you continue to improve your practice? How can you improve the abilities of the students around you? 1
Great teachers understand that classroom management is not about FORCING students to do what you want but inspiring them to WORK WITH YOU. Teaching becomes a heck more enjoyable if you can master your own psychology.
For more information on ‘authority,’ check out my blogpost below where I do ‘deep-dive’ into how you can wield it more effectively.
Being 'warm' doesn't mean that you must be a pushover & you have to accept any old behaviour. For new teachers, it can feel impossible to get the balance right.
You can still manage poor behaviour without feeling like you have to become a tyrant.
‘Warmth’ is your ability to have goodwill towards your students & allowing that to radiate out of you. It’s your ability to be able to gauge the emotional temperature of your classroom & respond appropriately especially in times of crisis.
Great behaviour managers are able to get to understand their students' core needs & create an environment where they feel safe, secure & able to express themselves. In order to do this, you must become a ‘detective’ of your classes & be able to understand your students’:
I) Personality traits — curious, laidback, restless
II) Academic abilities — where do their natural talents lie? Are they scientists, artists or sportspeople?
III) Their culture — This can be anything from their ethnic, cultural, national identity.
IV) Their friendship groupings in your class — does their behaviour change when they are around certain people?
V) Their relationships with authority — do they dislike being told what to do by anyone? Are their particular tones or words that wind them up?
You must remember your students’ behaviour are massive indicators of your students’ needs. If you do not understand them, you have more hope of Boris Johnson reversing the Brexit decision than you effectively managing your pupils’ behaviour.
For a more in-depth look at what ‘warmth’ is & how it can be used in your classrooms, check out the ‘warmth’ blogpost below.
2) Behaviour Management Starts By Setting Classroom Ground Rules
Hoping that your students will follow the School Rules is not enough. As the leader of your classroom, you must set the tone and expectations in your space.
We are living in very harrowing times. At this time of writing (March 2021), recent reports have stated there has been a 70% rise in demand for children’s mental health services in the UK because of the COVID19 pandemic & subsequent lockdowns.
Devastatingly, this has negatively impacted students who struggle with Social, Emotional & Mental Health (SEMH) challenges who are already 99% less likely to keep up academically with their peers.
Behaviour management post COVID19 is as much about the health & wellbeing of your students as it is about helping them make the grade.
The 'toeing-the-line-no-excuses' approach to Behaviour Management will not only will this not work but this could be potentially catastrophic, especially to our students that come from ethnic minority backgrounds.
We as educators must accept that Education in ‘one-size-DOES-NOT-fit-all.’ If we are not even attempting to understand our students most complex needs then we are doing them a disservice.
In my time working with SEMH, I developed a handy tool called ‘The Social Contract’ which you can now use in your classrooms.
The Social Contract is your basecamp to help you build rapport with your learners and set the boundaries needed to keep your class positive & safe. The Social Contract will become the glue that will bind you and your class together. Whatever you agree on in the class will become the Law of the Land.
The Social Contract helps you facilitate an agreement with your students on how you are going to work together. You are establishing your authority and your Emotional Intelligence by showing that you value your students’ input.
The Social Contract is a tool and nothing more. You don't have to write a whole new set of rules or do anything at all.
What this method allows you to do is have an open & frank conversation about the shared values of the school, year or class BEFORE flashpoints take place.
Customs and values change all the time. But ‘The Social Contract’ allows you to create a set of standards that you can all stand behind, no matter what background or position you have and teaches your students how to manage themselves.
If you want to know more about how to set them up, read the blog series below - they will set you up in a jiffy!
The Social Contract
3) Master ‘Positive Behaviour Strategies'
You must master "Positive Behaviour Strategies." Simply, these strategies are used to encourage, motivate and positively challenge your students. Plus you feel good when you use them! Here’s a couple of classroom management skills you need to master.
How to praise your learners in the right way - Not all praise is equal. You must learn how to praise your students for their effort & not their ability.
How to use effectively use humour in your classroom - Research has shown using humour in the right situation, not only helps you de-stress but helps others around you too. Having a good sense of humour makes you seem confident and in control.
How you can shift your learner’s reality so they can see the best version of themselves - Your learners' ability to go further in their studies & life is directly related to how they see themselves. With techniques like the ‘Pygmalion Effect’ how to harness their self-belief.
How not to be boring - If you bore your students have to death in your classrooms, they will misbehave. That’s facts.
How to tell stories that bring will bring your subject to life - Learn simple little tricks to make the driest subjects come to life.
For more in-depth blogposts on how to motivate your students, check out the links below!
Keeping Your Students Engaged
Helping Your Students Believe In Themselves
4) Deal With Minor Classroom Disruptions That Drag Down Learning
You must learn to deal with “Low-Level Disruption" or in other words, behaviour that slows down the lesson, irritates others and generally makes your job harder.
If you have ever struggled to get through a session because of calling out, students 'messing around' and chatting constantly then, you will need to know:
How to set boundaries effectively - It’s not a case of ‘if’ but ‘when.’ When boundaries get crossed, it’s on you to enforce them. Effective behaviour managers know how to sanction students without destroying the rapport they have worked so hard to build up.
Create routines & systems that support positive behaviour - No one likes surprises (unless it’s your birthday). Clear daily systems & expectations help your students settle into your lessons without fuss & stops potential bad behaviour bubbling up in your classroom.
How to ’read the room’ and match your lessons to the energy of your students - Teaching students on Period 1 on a Monday morning is not the same as a Period 5 lesson on Friday. Plan accordingly.
How to be more persuasive without losing your cool - If you have a student who repeatedly refuses to comply with your instructions, you must learn how to frame your messages in a way that is more appealing but at the same time shows the consequences of making the wrong choice.
Check the blogs!
Routines & Boundary Setting
Sanctioning Students & Framing Messages
5) Manage Crisis Situations Like An Action Hero
In your career, you will face crisis situations that will stop everything in your classroom until it is dealt with. This could be aggressive behaviour towards you or others. Or a disengaged student who is making everyone’s life a misery. You must gain the tools to:
Practice effective self-care - This is especially important for new teachers & NQTs. Teaching is an emotionally demanding job. If you are not at your best, your classes won’t be either. You must proactively make sure you are giving yourself some TLC for your mental & physical wellbeing.
Deal effectively with ‘emotional highjacking’ - If a student ‘kicks off’ in your classroom, they have become ‘emotionally dysregulated’ or ‘emotionally highjacked.’ You will have to learn to take charge of the situation & calm & soothe the student (and yourself) when it is safe to do so.
Assemble a team to deal with severe behaviour - You can’t do it alone. In order to win over the serial ‘disruptors,’ you reach to your colleagues & learn how to work as a team to deal with these students & look at ways that you can prevent it from happening in the future.
Master building student-teacher relationships - Your job is deeper than teaching for an exam or assessment. The relationships that will build with your students could change their lives (and yours) forever. Building positive, healthy relationships with your vulnerable students will stop poor behaviour & help them have a better life. That is your legacy.
That’s a lot to learn. You already have a million things to do. You’re thinking where you are going to get the time to do it all.
Don’t worry - I have your back.
The Action Hero Teacher Blog is your friend in the staffroom with that warm milky cup of tea and chocolate digestive, ready to work with you every step of the way.
The purpose of this blog is to give you everything you need to know about Behaviour Management:
We at actionheroteacher.com will give it to you straight - with no chaser.
And one more thing...
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Thank you for reading!
Karl from actionheroteacher.com.
1. Maxwell, R., 2007. The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership. 2nd ed. Nashville, Tennesse, USA: Thomas Nelson. Page 21