Scenario 8 â** Enforcing a school rule

School systems
Resources to support Charlie Taylor’s Improving Teacher Training for Behaviour
Behaviour Scenarios
Scenario 8: Enforcing a school rule
This Scenario has been developed for Initial Teacher Training (ITT) to enable trainees to
demonstrate knowledge, skills and understanding of behaviour management
School systems
Behaviour2Learn has developed 17 Scenarios focusing on the 8 areas highlighted in the
Teaching Agency's document Improving teacher training for behaviour. These are:
Personal Style
School Systems
Classroom Management
More Challenging Behaviour
Theoretical Knowledge
Improving teacher training for behaviour has been developed by Charlie Taylor, the
Government’s expert adviser on behaviour, to complement the new Teachers’
Standards that all teachers have to demonstrate from September 2012.
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Scenario 8
Enforcing a school rule
There is a rule that pupils may not wear outdoor coats in class . You
enter the classroom and ten pupils are sitting in their places with
outdoor coats on.
What do you do?
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Key Learning Outcomes
• Understanding of how effective school systems support good
behaviour management.
• Knowledge of what constitutes good school behaviour policies.
• Willingness to adapt your practice to fit with the school behaviour
• Appreciation of the importance of working with everyone in the
school to implement the behaviour policy consistently, knowing that
consistency is an essential component of managing behaviour.
School systems
What do you do?
Consider these responses and choose the best one(s):
1. Stand in a commanding position and say, “Good morning everyone. Coats
off please, you know the rule”. Then get on with the lesson quickly.
2. Gain eye contact with the pupils, raise your eyebrows, smile, mime taking a
coat off then look away and start the lesson.
3. Issue a class detention – you have warned them before about the rule and
that this will happen if anyone fails to take their coat off.
4. Make an example of one pupil to encourage the others. Say, “ You know
you are not allowed to wear a coat in class. Take it off now or you will have
to stay in during break time.”
5. Start the lesson and deal with the pupils one by one once the lesson is
6. Stand in front of the class and say, “I know it’s a stupid rule, but just do it.”
School systems
What may be the best choice?
If you are able to carry it off:
2. Raise eyebrows, mime and get on with the lesson is the best option.
However, you could also try,
1. “Coats off please, you know the rule.”
In both cases it is best to turn away to give ‘take-up’ time, to allow pupils the
opportunity to do what you have asked, and reduce the chance of a
Using these approaches should enable you to get on with the lesson without
getting involved in an argument. If nobody complies, repeat the request more
A quick thumbs up, nod or smile to those who are complying will encourage
all to follow without distracting them or you from your work.
School systems
How might you prevent a recurrence?
At the end of the lesson, tell pupils that the behaviour target for the next
lesson will be for everyone to be ready for learning, following school
rules, when you arrive.
Thank students for getting this right if they do so next lesson.
Be there before the pupils, greet them as they arrive and remind them
individually if necessary .
Remain calm and courteous and don’t get drawn into an argument.
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Underlying Principles
• Teachers may find it inconvenient to enforce school rules, but it has to be
• The most effective learning behaviour strategies apply rules without
disrupting learning.
• Establishing routines early will save time later.
• If pupils have been involved in drawing up and agreeing the rules, they
may be more willing to cooperate.
• Low intervention methods are preferable to more aggressive approaches
and are worth practising in order to solve problems without
School systems
Rights and Responsibilities
• Schools have the right to make rules and to expect that all staff will
implement them.
• Staff are responsible for making themselves familiar with school rules and
• It is good practice to involve all members of the school community in
creating the rules.
• Involving pupils can be very beneficial, both to the pupils themselves
(through taking responsibility and feeling valued) and to the staff (through
the more positive climate created).
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Activities to try
Compare the Codes of Conduct from different schools. What do you
think makes a good whole-school Code of Conduct?
Look at the Code of Conduct for your school. How would you explain it to
a new pupil?
Are there any rules in your school that you would find it difficult to
implement? If so, how will you overcome this problem? Discuss your
thoughts with a colleague.
There is tremendous scope for trying out different approaches to gaining
co-operation. Choose a variety of approaches and use them whilst being
observed by a colleague. Discuss ‘What went well….’ and ‘Even better if
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If a whole-school Code of Conduct is applied consistently by everyone, pupils
will find it easier to understand, remember and follow the agreed rules.
As a member of the staff team, you have the responsibility of working with
your colleagues to implement agreed procedures even if it is sometimes
inconvenient for you.
However, intentionally or unintentionally forgetting to take a coat off is not
behaviour that should be allowed to develop into a confrontation.
Your focus at the beginning of a lesson must be on settling the class down to
work as quickly and efficiently as possible. A low-key approach, allowing takeup time, is most likely to achieve this.
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