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Students who regularly display unacceptable behaviour will not only negatively affect their own learning but will also hinder the learning of others. Below we look at three suggestions in which students with behavioural problems can be motivated to stay ‘on-task’.


Pupils who display unacceptable behaviour have often experienced a number of Adverse Childhood Experiences and what these children need more than anything else from their school is a routine. This includes whole school routines and systems but, just as importantly, it includes what the classroom teacher can do each and every lesson. This could include always having a starter on the board upon their arrival, having a seating plan and the expectation that pencil cases and homework journals are out on their desks before the lesson starts.

All of these suggestions may seem minor but it prevents that child from having to make decisions and choices which, at times, may turn out to be the wrong ones. It also allows the child to focus solely on the lesson ahead of them.

Developing relationships

Do you actually know that child in front of you? What are his/her interests outside of school? Who do they live with? Many interactions between pupils with behavioural problems and teachers will often involve being disciplined and conversations about their unacceptable behaviour. You have the opportunity to break the chain.

Simple conversations with those pupils in front of you about anything trivial help to demonstrate that you actually do care. Consider sharing little unimportant (And certainly not confidential!) facts about your life too. This helps to build a trusting bond between the student and teacher which will hopefully result in the student being more motivated and wanting to work with you, and not against you.

Try to avoid these conversations when the classroom is quiet as you don’t want to make the child feel uncomfortable in front of his/her peers. Just a short one-minute conversation whilst circulating the classroom will suffice in building these relationships.

Focus on rewarding positive behaviour

We all know this can be very difficult to do (especially if the pupils don’t give you the opportunity!) but it may be as simple as recognising that the pupil has completed a starter without talking, volunteered to read an extract from the textbook or avoided a distraction. Understandably, at this point in the blog, you’re probably thinking ‘How does this motivate the pupil’? For this method to be as impactful as possible try and record your praise on a shared platform using the systems your school has in place. This information should then be shared with form tutors/ Heads of Year and directly with parents and guardians. This will help to motivate the pupils in future lessons, especially if further rewards and recognition are received from those other important people in that child’s life all because of a simple piece of praise you shared.

EDClass supports those with behavioural problems 

EDClass supports students who experience lapses in judgment, or those at risk of exclusion, by creating a pastoral wraparound approach and caring for their specific needs.

UK-qualified teachers provide one-to-one support for these students allowing them to concentrate on their learning and their behaviour improvement.

If you would like a free online demonstration then call 01909 56338, send an email to, booking directly here or by clicking the image below.