Brilliant Behaviour!

Starting with Brilliant Behaviour – PP131

Paul Dix
Paul Dix
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

In an episode packed with news, Paul and Kevin also discuss what’s important in behaviour management when starting a new year. Paul comes up with a brilliant list of advice including some dos and don’ts which will help anyone who finds themselves with a new class.

Here’s Paul’s list of tips (in no particular order):

  • Put the paperwork to one side – the children are the most important thing and you don’t have time to deal with the bureaucracy
  • Use your mentor to help you prioritise – and sometimes unofficial mentors are even more helpful than the official ones
  • Schools could try to do minimal induction at first and then spread more out over the first term
  • It’s important to get out and about in your first few weeks – meet the other staff on their own terms and be present and visible to the students
  • Avoid the ‘rules lesson’ – rather, concentrate on teaching one, three-step routine in the first lesson and then get on with some really interesting, engaging work
  • Be realistic about what you are going to achieve in the first terms – it can take two or three terms to become established
  • Beware the ‘honeymoon period’ – don’t relax even if the children are behaving perfectly and keep on teaching routines you can fall back on when the class go wobbly
  • Examples of great routines to start with are:
    • The ’embellished countdown’ which is a countdown with positive reinforcement added to each number
    • Meet and greet at the door – show some kindness and interest
  • Don’t overshare in the first weeks – hold back a bit until you have worked out which children can take the information and which might abuse it
  • Concentrate on PIP and RIP – Praise in Public, Reprimand in Private – refuse to be drawn into public reprimands but praise a lot in public
  • Leave positive phone calls and postcards home for later on in the term – it’s a bit odd to receive effusive praise from someone you have just met – instead, triangulate praise by getting someone who knows the learner better than you to deliver praise and mention your name

Another source of great advice for NQTs starting with their first class this September is Twitter. Ellie and many others have been tweeting tips with the hashtags #NQTchat and #NQT. For example:

New App!

There is a new Pivotal App available with a host of new features. Download it from Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Headteacher initiative!

Tweet to @PivotalPaul or email if you are a Headteacher and he will let you into the TOP SECRET project around positive reinforcement for one or two of your learners who have gone over and above each week.

Send in your suggestions for guests!

We already have a brilliant line-up of guests arranged for the podcast but if there’s anyone you are dying to hear from, let us know by leaving a voicemail (bottom left of the page), sending an email to or tweeting @PivotalPodcast.

Read the full show notes on the Pivotal Education site

(Creative Commons Sound clip by Johnny Pixel Productions, Inc. –

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