02/07/2012 11:44 BST | Updated 02/07/2012 14:34 BST

Charlie Taylor, Behaviour Tsar, Says Teachers Need Body Language Lessons To Control Children

It might sound obvious, but trainee teachers need lessons on body language in order to control naughty pupils, the government's behaviour tsar has announced.

Charlie Taylor has highlighted cases where trainees receive little more than a single lecture on the issue, and has called for more practical guidance.

He wants teachers to receive training on how to vary the tone and volume of voice, stand up straight, and control their emotions in order to be an authoritative presence in the classroom.

Government research published last week showed one in four teachers do not think there is a good standard of behaviour in their school.

It revealed that many still believe that poor pupil behaviour is driving teachers out of the classroom, and suggested that those working in secondary schools are less positive than their primary colleagues.

The study, commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE), questioned more than 1,600 teachers about standards of behaviour in schools.

Taylor, headteacher at the Willows School, a special school for children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties in Hillingdon, west London, published a training document today which sets out the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to manage children's behaviour.

He said: "The greatest fear trainee teachers have is that they won't be able to manage behaviour. It also remains one of the main reasons why teachers leave the profession.

"There are essential skills - including some which are underestimated, such as body language and posture - that all teachers need in order to manage behaviour effectively.

"There are some great training providers but too often trainees aren't taught the skills they need to ensure discipline in the classroom. We must spread best practice because without strong discipline and good behaviour children can't learn."

Taylor's top tips:

  • Vary the tone and volume of your voice
  • Stand, move, make use of the classroom space
  • Use eye contact in order to be authoritative
  • Use praise effectively to improve behaviour
  • Apply a rewards and sanctions system

Jo Palmer-Tweed, course director at teacher training provider Thames Primary Consortium, said: "The importance of coherent high-quality training for behaviour management in teacher training cannot be underestimated.

"With a wide range of routes into teaching available and training programmes that are growing in diversity, these guidelines will be essential to ensure the provision of high quality training.

"Crucially they do not tell providers how to structure their training programmes, but they do set high expectations in terms of what a trainee teacher should expect to receive. This will have a positive impact on the quality of teacher training and subsequently on children's behaviour for learning."


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