Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsMost teachers have rules, but they reside either on a small piece of paper on the classroom wall or just simply in the mind of the teacher. Students very rarely find out what the rules are until they've transgressed. Let's try something better. Let's simplify the rules. Go for three. Make them absolutely clear, and sharpen the rules on the behaviors that you want to see. For older students, sharpen them on the learning attitudes that you want to see. Limit yourself to three rules. Avoid the use of the word "don't" or "no," as they have very little impact on student behavior.

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 secondsInstead, positively frame your rules for the behaviors that you want to see, and display them clearly on three walls in your teaching space.

Wording and framing rules

Who knows your rules?

Video summary

Sometimes students only get to know your rules when things go wrong and they hear them from you. They need to know the simple rules; those that support your routines and help you teach them how to treat you. Everybody wins.

Choose three simple rules for the classes you teach. Make sure you frame them positively and avoid the words ‘don’t’ and ‘no’. They should reflect what you want to see and hear. Then share them via the comments below.

Important: Read what other people have put, give comments and feedback to others. When you have spent time giving and receiving feedback, review your own three rules. You may well want to change them.

Examples of rules could be:

  1. One voice at a time
  2. Speak politely even if you are angry
  3. Follow instructions first time, every time

Whenever you deliver a rule-reminder remember to phrase in the positive.

'David, I notice you are gazing out of the window. 
The rule is that we stay on task. 
I need you to pick up your pen and begin the task.' 
(Then walk away giving the student time to take up your request.)

Practise, practise, practise …

Three rules poster

You have been asked to create and share three rules that operate within your teaching space.

Now create a poster of your three rules to display in your teaching space.

If you wish to upload your posters to this discussion for others to see, you may do so by using this Padlet Wall (the password is stem).

If you are not going to register for Padlet so that your name appears on any Wall Posts then please add your name to anything you create!

More advice about using Padlet is here. Once you have made a Post (of the poster!) on the Wall you can copy-and-paste the URL of the Post into a comment on FutureLearn by double-clicking on the Post to reveal the URL.

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This video is from the free online course:

Managing Behaviour for Learning

National STEM Learning Centre