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This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre's online course, Managing the Practical Classroom in Secondary School Science. Join the course to learn more.
Start of a lesson, the teacher ensuring bags and coats are put on pegs

Behaviour routines

Similar to procedural policies, which are designed for staff to follow, it is important to establish routines and clear expectations directly with students. This is not only for behaviour management purposes, but also for practical reasons and health and safety.

Routines need to be established and taught at the point they are first needed. They should be referenced each time the routine is required, until the class adopts the routine as standard practice. This also helps with consistency!

We look at rules and routines in more detail in the Managing Behaviour for Learning online course. One of the key points made is that routines should be phrased positively for action, avoiding use of ‘no’ and ‘don’t’. For example, a routine for leaving the laboratory could be:

  1. Stay on task until the verbal cue from the teacher (even if the bell rings).
  2. Clear your bench thoroughly.
  3. Check the board for homework.
  4. Sit down to show you are ready to leave.
  5. Calmly leave the room when asked to by the teacher.


Design a routine which could be established in your own practical lessons. This may be for the end of the lesson, or for setting up practical work or managing group discussion.

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This article is from the free online course:

Managing the Practical Classroom in Secondary School Science

National STEM Learning Centre