Lack of guaranteed behaviour management training is ‘glaring omission’ in teacher education

Trainees will graduate from courses with a portfolio of videos in which they demonstrate behaviour management techniques with real classes

The lack of guaranteed behaviour management training is a “glaring omission” in teacher training, the government’s behaviour tsar Tom Bennett has said.

Mr Bennett chaired a Department for Education working party into improving behaviour training.

The report, published today, has called for behaviour training to be delivered by someone with “recent” classroom experience and for it to be revisited throughout the training year. Time in schools should also be put aside to give trainees more time to think and reflect on how to improve.

“Behaviour management training is sometimes good, it is sometimes not so good,” Tom Bennett told TES. “Teachers don’t have guaranteed access to a range of strategies in their training on how to handle behaviour in the classroom.

“That is not just a small thing to be fixed, but a glaring omission because running a classroom is one of the most crucial things a teacher can do.

“Wherever possible we should be training teachers in a practical way, it’s ridiculous to ask someone to learn how to run a classroom through a lecture, or a hand-out, or worse still just assume they are going to pick it up in school as they go along.

Trainees could be made to take part in classroom role-play scenarios, before they start their first placements, he said.

Then once in schools, trainees should have support from a mentor, who can observe their teaching and have a positive, low-stakes conversation about how to improve their classroom management.

He added that he is not interested in training teachers in a “one size fits all” behaviour approach but wants them to have a range of strategies they can use in the classroom.

The group has designed a behaviour curriculum based on routines, building relationships between teachers and students and responses when things go wrong .

Three expert groups published reports on ITT today. As well as the report on behaviour management training, there is a report on a new framework for ITT content and one setting out standards for school-based mentors.

The government has said that it wants to use the new framework to develop a set of quality criteria which will be applied when training places are allocated to providers from the 2018/19 training year onwards. It will not be making behaviour training mandatory as recommended.

The reports come after Sir Andrew Carter, executive headteacher of South Farnham School in Surrey, reported on initial teacher training in January 2015 – his report found that behaviour management training should be an integral part of teacher training.

He also recommended that a framework of common core content should be developed for ITT. This would include evidence-based teaching as well as child development, assessment and special educational needs. The report also said that more subject knowledge should be added.

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