Behaviour Management Demystified

Banish unwanted behaviour from your classroom.

David Weller
4 min readNov 3, 2021


What is Behaviour Management?

In one sentence, behaviour management is avoiding or managing unwanted behaviour through using classroom routines.

The art and science of behaviour management is to not have any cracks in your lessons for weeds (bad behaviour) to grow through, and having a system for any that do.

There are some major benefits of having a rock-solid system in place:

  • It gives you confidence that you can deal with anything that happens in your classroom.
  • Students know that you’re in charge, and gets you respect (even if grudgingly).
  • It allows students to see that you treat them all equally and fairly in the event of bad behaviour.

Why Does Bad Behaviour Happen?

There are two broad reasons why bad behaviour happens:

  • Casual misbehaviour
  • Deliberate misbehaviour

Casual misbehaviour happens when students become momentarily bored and start to chatter, or muck around. Its main cause is students not having anything to focus on — think about time spent handing out worksheets, or spending a long time with your back to the class when writing on the board. It’s low-level disruption, and can usually by dispelled by the teacher re-focusing the class on the topic.

Deliberate misbehaviour is more serious. It’s when a student makes a choice — either conscious or not — to act in an inappropriate manner. It can escalate out of untreated casual misbehaviour, or be a spontaneous incident during an activity. Or it can be a deliberate act of mischief by a deviant student :-).

Three Ways to Manage Behaviour

1. Before Class Begins (current known issues, students)

  • Make sure there are no gaps in your lesson plan. No spare time for students to casually misbehave in.
  • Are there any known issues with students? What can you do to lessen them? Can you change the seating plan to avoid putting known troublemakers…



David Weller

Lessons, stories and visuals to develop your language teaching and learning. 20 years in education, 3 books, and a twice-monthly newsletter.