Home » Assessments » Teacher Training » Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training » Unit 5: Understanding and Managing Behaviour in a Learning Environment

Unit 5: Understanding and Managing Behaviour in a Learning Environment

Level: Level 5 Diploma
Contributor:

Task 1

a) Review the different types of behaviours that commonly occur in a learning environment. Indicate the nature of the behaviour and any possible cause.

The learning environment can significantly impact the success of students in their studies when it provides them with a conducive place to learn and grow. In this setting, there are various types of behaviours that can be observed, some positive and others not as much. To understand these behaviours and why they occur, it is important to examine them individually.

Positive behaviours, which are often correlated with successful student outcomes, include following instructions given by teachers diligently, showing respect towards the teacher and other learners, eagerness to perform and thoughtfully complete tasks, and paying attention during class activities such as lectures or group work sessions (Grolnick & Ryan, 1989). These proactive attitudes reflect well on the progress of individual students and can also motivate others who may feel discouraged during their educational journey. In addition, meaningful participation in discussion-based tasks, such as offering helpful insights, is another positive behaviour that can make the learning process more enjoyable and productive for everyone. This can be further supported by an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration where students are able to build meaningful relationships that extend beyond the classroom. Displaying a positive attitude might be due to several reasons, such as students feeling rewarded and engaged when they contribute to the class, feeling safe, confident and secure in a positive learning atmosphere or even due to extrinsic rewards (Deci & Ryan, 2009). Also, having an encouraging, supportive and engaging teacher might also be one of the reasons for such behaviour.

Negative behaviours, on the other hand, can be very detrimental in a learning environment. Examples include not paying attention during lessons or talks, failing to follow instructions given by teachers, being disruptive when others are speaking or working through activities together as a group, name-calling, not attempting to produce assignments, yelling out, using mobile phones during class, and, more generally, just having an overall negative attitude towards education (Lenhart, 2015). These types of behaviours can cause distractions for both students who need to focus and those who try their best but may feel disheartened due to seeing this type of behaviour from classmates around them. Depending on the displayed behaviour, the cause of it can vary from students not feeling confident in the learning environment or lacking adequate support at home and school (Marzano & Pickering, 2007). In other cases, external factors such as peer pressure might also play a role in negative behaviour exhibited by some learners. For example, some learners may display negative behaviour in order to ‘fit in’ with certain peers or be part of a popular group. It is therefore important for teachers and schools to be able to identify these causes, as well as develop strategies that can help reduce them where possible.

Difficult behaviours are those that require extra attention because they are more complicated than either positive or negative behaviours mentioned above. Aggression, defiance, and anti-social behaviour are a few examples of this kind. In such cases, it is important to consider the underlying causes behind these behaviours in order to address them accordingly and make sure that they do not lead to any long-term negative impacts on learning outcomes or relationships between students (Dweck & Yeager, 2012). Possible reasons for difficult behaviour can include tension, anxiety, feelings of frustration due to academic stress, boredom during class activities or even deeper issues stemming from traumatic experiences at home or outside school life. For example, some students might be aggressive because they feel that it is the only way to protect themselves from a hostile environment. Therefore, instead of immediately punishing learners for displaying such challenging behaviour, teachers should first try and understand why it happened so that an appropriate solution can be found.

b) Provide examples of observed behaviour types during your teaching practice. For each behaviour type, assess how you might handle the situation.

In my teaching practice, I have observed several different types of behaviours in my students. One type of behaviour I have observed is disruptive behaviour, such as talking out of turn, interrupting others, or acting out in class. When I encountered this type of behaviour, I tried to identify the root cause and address it directly. For example, I noticed that a student was acting out because they were struggling with the material, so I provided additional support and clarification to help them understand. If the behaviour was more chronic, I also involved the school counsellor or administrator to develop a behaviour intervention plan.

Another type of behaviour I observed was inattentive behaviour, such as students who were not paying attention in class, dozing off, or not participating in activities. To address this behaviour, I tried to engage the students in the lesson through questioning, using interactive activities, or providing individualised support. I also checked in with the students privately to see if there were any outside factors that may be impacting their ability to focus.

I noticed some students engaging in off-task behaviour, such as working on unrelated tasks, using their phones, or chatting with their peers. I redirected them back to the current lesson and set clear expectations for their behaviour during class to address this. In a case where the behaviour persisted, I discussed the issue with the student in a private conversation and set up consequences if it continued; it was indeed an effective approach.

In addition, I observed defiant behaviour, such as students who were resistant to following rules or instructions or who were openly disrespectful to the teacher and their classmates. In order to combat this, I established clear boundaries and consequences for noncompliance and consistently enforced those consequences. I also tried to understand the student’s perspective and address any underlying issues that may have been contributing to their defiance.

I approached each behaviour with empathy and a focus on addressing the root cause. By doing so, I was able to help the students develop self-regulation skills and create a positive learning environment for all students.

c) Evaluate the likely impacts of these types of behaviour on

  1. the other learners
  2. the learning session

I’ve observed that the behaviours of a student or a group of students might have a ripple effect on other learners and the learning session in general.

Disruptive conduct, such as talking out of turn, interrupting others, or acting out in class, always have negative consequences for the other students. These actions often disrupt the lesson and make it difficult for other students to focus and learn. Moreover, students who engage in disruptive behaviour may be perceived as disrespectful or problematic by their peers, which harms relationships and creates an unpleasant learning environment.

Inattentive student conduct, such as procrastinating or not actively participating in class activities, can also negatively affect the learning session. Students who are not attentive may miss important information or instructions, making it more challenging for them to keep up with the rest of the class. Inattention can also be contagious, so if one student is not paying attention, it may cause others to lose concentration as well.

Misbehaviour, such as working on unrelated tasks, using a cell phone, or conversing with peers, can distract other students and disrupt the lesson, making it harder for everyone to concentrate and learn. In addition, students who engage in off-task behaviour may not participate in the lesson or complete their tasks, which can hinder their own learning and development.

Defiant behaviour can create tension and conflict within the classroom, making it challenging for other students to feel safe and supported while learning. In addition, defiant behaviours disrupt the lesson and make it harder for other students to concentrate and learn. This can have long-term consequences for those who engage in defiant behaviour, as they may be less likely to reach their academic potential. Also, repeated behaviour often puts them at risk for more serious disciplinary action, such as expulsion.

Task 2

a) Critically analyse potential factors that might result in behaviours that are likely to disrupt a learning environment.

A disruption to a learning environment can arise from many different factors, including sociogenic, psychogenic and other environmental influences.

Sociogenic factors refer to the effects of social experiences on student behaviour. These could include peer pressure, bullying or prejudice, which can lead students to act out in ways that disrupt class activities or create an unsafe atmosphere for learning. The school culture itself may play a role if it fails to promote healthy relationships among peers or tolerates derogatory behaviours between groups of students based on race or ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation etc. (Major et al., 2015). Additionally, family dynamics, such as poverty-related stressors, might contribute towards behavioural issues at school (Sheaffer et al., 2021).

Psychogenic causes relate more specifically with individual psychological conditions like mental health disorders and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) that influence how individuals interact with their surroundings; this has been identified as being one of the primary contributors toward challenging behaviours within educational settings. In cases like these, the student may display behaviours such as inattention, difficulty maintaining concentration and focus or impulsive behaviour, which can disrupt classroom activities. Anxiety, low self-esteem, depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can also influence student behaviour, particularly if they are unable to process or comprehend content due to their psychological struggles (Shapiro et al., 2014).

Other factors to consider could be related to a lack of resources within the school itself; if there are not enough staff or classroom materials available, this can affect students’ ability to learn and lead them towards negative behaviour (McIntyre et al., 2007). Another issue could arise due to poor curriculum design whereby lesson plans fail adequately engage with their pupils leading them to become easily bored or frustrated – again resulting in disruptive behaviour.

b) For each factor, describe the resulting behaviour and identify the function of the behaviour.

It is important to identify the function of disruptive behaviour when considering the potential factors which might result in it.

Sociogenic factors can lead to aggressive, hostile or defiant behaviours that are often used as a way of gaining attention from peers and authority figures; they may be seeking social status within their peer group by being seen as dominant over others (Yeager et al., 2012). Similarly, psychogenic issues such as mental health disorders and ADHD can lead students to act out due to poor concentration levels or impulsivity, leading them towards risky behaviours with the aim of achieving short-term gratification (Shapiro et al., 2014). Another example would be students coming from homes where they have been exposed to abuse or neglect; this could lead them to display aggressive behaviour towards staff as a form of ‘displacement’, redirecting the anger or fear experienced within their home lives onto authority figures (Sheaffer et al.,2021).

Peer pressure and bullying can lead to avoidance of academic tasks, hiding away from classmates or avoiding certain activities as a result of fear. This could also be expressed through aggression towards those seen as perpetrators as a form of coping mechanism. Social exclusion based on cultural identities, such as racial bias, may lead students to disengage from the classroom altogether; they may become quiet and withdrawn, refusing to participate in group work due to their low self-esteem caused by feeling judged/unaccepted amongst peers.

A lack of resources or poor curriculum design could cause students who feel overwhelmed with educational tasks or uninterested in content, given its lack of relevance for themselves – this would then create problems around time management, resulting in either apathetic attitudes towards work/schooling altogether but also outbursts against teachers if deadlines aren’t met, e.g. shouting/swearing etc. Poorly designed curriculum can similarly lead to disruptive behaviour, as students become bored or frustrated with the lack of intellectual stimulation (McIntyre et al., 2007). Boredom or difficulty understanding certain concepts due to either the complexity of the content being taught or its perceived irrelevance could create issues such as losing focus during class. In this case, students might act up in an attempt to gain attention or take on alternative activities if they find what is going on irrelevant to themselves.

Psychogenic and sociogenic causes of disruption in the learning environment should be taken seriously and addressed accordingly by teachers, parents and professionals. It is essential to consider a holistic approach when it comes to fully comprehending why particular behaviours occur; this would involve looking at individual psychological needs and also the broader environmental influences such as poverty-related stressors and social factors.

c) From your own experience, provide details of a range of behaviours that you have observed. Review each behaviour type, identifying the probable cause and possible function of the behaviour.

From positive ones to negative ones, I’ve observed quite a range of different behaviours from students in my teaching practice. Students exhibit compliant behaviour when they follow directions and do not ask questions. There are various motivations for this type of behaviour, such as a desire for approval from authority figures, a preference for routine, or a fear of consequences. Compliant behaviour may be used to avoid negative outcomes or consequences or to gain positive attention and rewards. Proactive behaviour is when a student takes the initiative to get involved in classroom discussions and projects. This behaviour may be motivated by a strong interest in the subject matter, a strong drive for personal development and success, or a strong sense of personal accountability and motivation. The goals of proactive behaviour may be self-improvement or the exhibition of skills and the attainment of success.

Those who engage in attention-seeking behaviours, like playing pranks, arguing with teachers or classmates, and breaking classroom rules, often do so in order to get the attention of their teachers or classmates. There may be various reasons for this behaviour, such as not receiving enough love or care at home, trying to fit in with peers, or simply need extra help. It is possible that the student is acting this way to get the attention or assistance they need.

Disruptive behaviour includes speaking out of turn, breaking classroom rules, or being physically or verbally aggressive towards other students. This type of behaviour can be caused by a lack of impulse control, difficulty managing emotions, or, again, a desire for attention. Disruptive behaviour may be an attempt to gain attention, distract from boredom, or vent anger.

Passive students do not take the initiative to participate in or contribute to classroom discussions or projects. There may be various reasons for this, such as a lack of self-motivation, self-doubt, or disinterest in the subject being taught. Passive behaviour may be motivated by a desire to avoid failure or confrontation or to stay in the background. Similarly, withdrawn students are not very social and tend to stay in the background of class discussions or projects. This behaviour may be motivated by a sense of insecurity, a lack of self-confidence, or shyness. Withdrawn students may also have difficulty making friends due to their low activity level or shy nature.

Task 3

a) Reflect on the steps that might be taken in group learning sessions to promote appropriate behaviour.

Group learning sessions can be an effective way to teach and engage students. However, for these sessions to be successful, it is important that expectations of appropriate behaviour are clearly communicated by the teacher and adhered to by all members of the group.

To ensure this happens, the first step should involve setting clear ground rules for expected behaviour at the beginning of each session so that everyone knows what is acceptable. This could include not speaking over others, being respectful when disagreeing with others’ ideas or opinions, and respecting other people’s personal space, among other things. This will help create a safe and comfortable learning environment where everyone is free to express their opinions without fear of judgment or reprimand.

Secondly, the teacher should model appropriate behaviour at all times during the session. By being a good role model in terms of how they interact with others and manage disagreements, students will be more likely to follow suit when it comes time for them to interact together. The teacher should also set an example by responding positively when other members display desirable behaviours, such as offering encouragement whenever someone makes thoughtful contributions or showing appreciation towards those who participate willingly. This can help build positive relationships between group members while reinforcing expected norms within the classroom setting.

In addition, teachers need to address any inappropriate behaviour immediately by calmly reminding students that specific actions are not acceptable (e.g., name-calling) and providing clear consequences if these behaviours persist (such as exclusion from activities). This will ensure that order is maintained throughout each session so that every learner gets an equal opportunity to participate meaningfully in discussions/activities and have their voices heard.

Positive reinforcement is also essential in group learning sessions. Rewards and recognition should be given to those who display desirable behaviours (e.g., praising students for their effort, setting achievable goals, etc.). These techniques can help create a productive classroom atmosphere where everyone feels valued and appreciated, encouraging increased participation from all members of the group.

Inappropriate behaviours must also be addressed promptly, either by the teacher or other group members. In such cases, it is crucial to avoid a confrontational approach and instead try to resolve issues through discussion in order to identify what triggered the behaviour and find solutions that everyone can agree upon. In this case, it is vital for the teacher to manage their own emotions as well as those of the other students and take a proactive approach to problem-solving.

Establishing clear expectations of appropriate behaviour, combined with modelling good conduct, providing positive reinforcement for desirable behaviours, and addressing inappropriate actions promptly while encouraging participation from all students, are key steps towards creating effective learning sessions where everyone feels comfortable enough to contribute meaningfully within their groups.

b) Critically analyse the use of expectations to promote appropriate behaviour.

Using expectations to promote appropriate behaviour is a valuable tool for teachers because it can create a positive learning environment and improve student performance. By establishing clear expectations at the start of each lesson, students know what behaviours are acceptable and unacceptable in the classroom. This helps prevent inappropriate behaviour by providing a consistent structure that all students can understand and follow. Additionally, specific expectations let learners know what type of work they should do to be successful throughout their education.

However, there are potential drawbacks to using expectations to promote appropriate behaviour that teachers should consider:

  • Setting too many rules or rigidly adhering to them may lower student motivation if they feel stifled rather than inspired.
  • Making unrealistic demands on the class’s ability level may lead to unproductive behaviour rather than addressing it.
  • Failing to communicate expectations clearly may lead to misunderstandings and conflicts among students.

Additionally, it is important for teachers to recognise that not all students may respond to expectations in the same way. Some students may be more resistant to meeting expectations, while others may find it easier to conform. It is essential for teachers to take into account individual differences among students and to be flexible in their approach to promoting appropriate behaviour.

Ultimately, expectations can be an effective tool for promoting appropriate behaviour when used properly. To maximise the potential of this approach, teachers should ensure that their expectations are realistic yet challenging, clearly communicate what is expected from each student, provide support and consistent feedback on progress towards meeting those goals, and create a positive learning environment where students feel safe to express themselves freely without fear of judgment or punishment. With these key considerations, setting expectations can be invaluable in fostering productive behaviours in any classroom setting.

c) Review actions you would take to manage a range of disruptive behaviours in a learning environment.

When I encounter disruptive behaviour in the classroom, my primary goal is to ensure that all students are able to focus and learn. To do this, I will take different actions depending on the severity of the disruption.

If it’s a minor distraction or something like talking out of turn, I will usually remind them quietly but firmly about our expectations for class discussion and refocus everyone’s attention back on our lesson plan. I will remind them of the consequences of inappropriate behaviour during instructions and ensure that all disciplinary decisions are fair and consistent so there is no confusion about acceptable behaviour in my classroom. This should be enough most of the time, but if it persists, I may need to take more corrective action, such as having an individual chat with them after class or speaking with their parents/guardians about their behaviour in school.

When responding to disruptions caused by student emotions (such as angry outbursts), it is important not to react harshly but to stay calm while attempting to understand their feelings, which often have deeper roots than just misbehaviour. Acknowledging these feelings allows me the opportunity to provide support while still managing disruptions within the classroom setting, for example, asking them to take a few moments to calm down or suggesting they talk with me after class.

If there are major distractions disrupting learning, such as physical altercations between students (or verbal abuse), then immediate intervention is necessary from myself and other staff members present (such as head teachers). Depending on how serious these types of disruptions become, we may need to have further discussions with administrators to help resolve any underlying issues that may arise due to faculty discipline or guidance services.

Regardless of the type of disruptive behaviour I encounter, it is important to ensure that everyone in the classroom feels safe and secure while learning. By addressing issues quickly and clearly, students will learn how their actions have consequences both inside and outside of the classroom setting, which can help create a more positive environment for all involved.

d) Evaluate examples of disruptive behaviours that you have experienced in your group learning sessions. In each example, comment on your ability to control the behaviour observed. Were relevant policies and guidance followed correctly?

As a teacher, I have experienced a variety of disruptive behaviours in my group learning sessions over the years. One example was when a student consistently interrupted other students while they were speaking, making it difficult for them to concentrate and contribute to the discussion. In this situation, I was able to control the behaviour by reminding the student of our classroom rule to listen and respect others’ opinions and by redirecting their attention back to the topic at hand. I also made a note to follow up with the student after class to discuss the issue further.

Another example of disruptive behaviour that I have experienced was when a student consistently arrived late to class, disrupting the flow of the lesson and distracting other students. In this situation, I followed our school’s attendance policy and marked the student as tardy. I also spoke with the student privately after class to discuss the importance of punctuality and how it affects the learning environment for themselves and their peers. However, in this particular case, the student was struggling with an external factor that made it difficult for them to be on time, so I offered them extra support and resources to help them overcome this issue.

In another case, a student consistently disregarded my instructions and behaved in a way that was disruptive to the class. I addressed the behaviour directly by speaking with the student in a calm and respectful manner while reminding them of our classroom rules, but this spiralled into more serious behaviours later on, such as talking back and refusing to work. In this situation, I followed the school’s behaviour policy and reported the student to my supervisor so that they could provide additional support for the student.

In these cases, I was able to manage the behaviour by adhering to our classroom and school policies, as well as offering additional support when needed.

Reference:

  1. Sheaffer, A. W., Majeika, C. E., Gilmour, A. F., & Wehby, J. H. (2021). Classroom behavior of students with or at risk of EBD: Student gender affects teacher ratings but not direct observations. Behavioral Disorders, 46(2), 96-107.
  2. Shapiro, S. L., Lyons, K. E., Miller, R. C., Butler, B., Vieten, C., & Zelazo, P. D. (2015). Contemplation in the classroom: A new direction for improving childhood education. Educational Psychology Review, 27(1), 1-30.
  3. Rudduck, J., & McIntyre, D. (2007). Improving learning through consulting pupils. Routledge.
  4. Grolnick, W. S., & Ryan, R. M. (1989). Parent styles associated with children’s self-regulation and competence in school. Journal of educational psychology, 81(2), 143.
  5. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2009). Promoting self-determined school engagement: Motivation, learning, and well-being.
  6. Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2012). Mindsets that promote resilience: When students believe that personal characteristics can be developed. Educational psychologist, 47(4), 302-314.
  7. Lenhart, A. (2015). Teens, technology and friendships.
  8. Marzano, R. J. (2007). The art and science of teaching: A comprehensive framework for effective instruction. Ascd.
  9. Sheaffer, A. W., Majeika, C. E., Gilmour, A. F., & Wehby, J. H. (2021). Classroom behavior of students with or at risk of EBD: Student gender affects teacher ratings but not direct observations. Behavioral Disorders, 46(2), 96-107.
  10. Major, C. H., Harris, M. S., & Zakrajsek, T. D. (2015). Teaching for learning: 101 intentionally designed educational activities to put students on the path to success. Routledge.

Related Assessments