Lorna Smith is Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Bristol. Here she shares 20 principles of behaviour for learning for training and new teachers.

by Lorna Smith
17th August 2020



  1. Create a positive classroom environment. Distract from, or tactfully ignore, low-level examples of inappropriate behaviour when possible, and concentrate on students’ positive behaviour: ‘I’m really pleased to see you working so well as a team….’ 

  2. Never compare students with other students or siblings.

  3. Avoid drawing attention to a student’s needs in front of their peers.

  4. Show sympathy, concern and understanding. Try to solve problems collaboratively

  5. Keep rules to a minimum and express them in simple, positive terms, rather than a list of ‘don’ts’.

  6. Enforce classroom rules consistently. Discuss them as a class, explain their purpose, and regularly review them as a class.

  7. Encourage students to self-assess their own behaviour against these rules. Set targets together.

  8. Help students feel comfortable with seeking assistance

  9. Rewards should be frequent and valued by students, but only given when deserved.

  10. Provide rewards for on-task behaviour – working well in teams, following instructions first time, etc.   

Download all 20 behaviour for learning tips below: 






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