In your classroom, how do you get your students to ABIDE BY THE RULES?  It's no secret that the beginning of the year is a critical and necessary time to put in place an agreement over the rules and routines. Never has it been so important to remember how getting a good classroom climate brings a greater chance of good behaviour and attendance.

But nobody likes to be told what they CAN'T do (particularly teenagers).

Most students are more likely to want to know what they CAN do, before they make a choice about whether to do it or not.  So, when meeting your class for the first time, avoid using negatives in the rules, such as "do not" or "never".  Select precise behaviours that you expect to see and use positive terminology:  for example

- Arrive at class on time
- Finish food and drink before class begins
- Raise your hand before speaking

Unfortunately, simply posting routines and rules on the wall won't solve any of your classroom management issues.  It's crucial to use positive reinforcement to encourage and remind students of the agreements they have made.  Focus on the few routines that you want students to follow.  Revisit the rules often; it's an important discussion to have  when things are going well and not just when rules and routines have been broken.  Set aside 5-10 minutes each fortnight to complete a behavioural self-assessment:

Rules - Student Self Assessment

By self- and peer-assessing, you have the opportunity to reward rule-keepers with praise and encouragement and acknowledge improvements in the same way.  If you've heard all this before and haven't tried this yet, why not?