A teacher’s Finnish line: Good behavior/bad behavior

ATTENTION! AT EASE! ATTENTION! AT EASE!

One thing that an army and a school have in common is the fact that if a single person acts out nothing works properly. Therefore, there has to be an order both inside my classroom as well as outside of my classroom so that I can fully concentrate on the thing that I love to do – teaching.

During my 2 week’s internship I witnessed behavior management in an Indian school to be a lot like in the army. For instance, a teacher on the stage was shouting an order for “Attention” during morning assemblies.

I am not saying that teaching children manners isn’t teaching. However, good manners are an automatic expectation in my class and not something that we should be spending more time with compared to the academical side of the school. I believe that the quicker pupils learn my rules regarding behavior the more we enjoy our time together and only then it is possible for them to start learning academically. In addition, I really want to help them academically to achieve their goals but I cannot do that if there are behavior issues.

Concentrating on the good behavior creates more good behavior and seeing only the bad behavior causes more bad behavior – right?

Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s that simple. Even in the society there are punishments for illegal actions so why shouldn’t the same rule apply to schools? I agree that good behavior should definitely be rewarded but from my point of view misbehavior should not be ignored all the time either.

Some people, whether adults or children, wouldn’t necessarily ever change the way they behave unless someone told them to do so. For instance, would you now be wearing a face mask voluntarily during the pandemic if you were only recommended to do so and if you might get a teeny, tiny reward for it? I can admit that I probably wouldn’t but when I am told to wear the mask in order to be allowed to enter supermarkets and cafes or even being threatened with a fine to pay I suddenly change my mind.

One’s motivation to follow the rules varies from an individual to another and even the same individual might show a different preference in different situations. Sometimes we value the reward more and sometimes we are too afraid of the consequences. As a teacher, I consider it as a major part of my job to find out how to motivate pupils and to find the right tools and systems that enable the desired results.

In my next post I will be sharing my some of my current classroom management tools. In the meantime I would like you to ask yourself whether you have chosen to act in a kind, respecting way towards others lately.

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