Key aspects of a organisation’s policies relating to managing behaviours in a learning environment

Last Updated on 12/11/2021 by James Barron

Current legislation, such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), Health and Safety at Work Act and the Equality Act, influences educational establishment policy and the organisation’s Code of Conduct on how staff should manage student behaviour. Educational establishments provide a clear Code of Conduct for the behaviour of students, it sets out the standards of behaviour expected by all students, “this should make it clear what the organisation expects of the learners in terms of behaviour” (Machin, Hindmarch, Murray, & Richardson, 2016, p. 179) It is essential that both staff and students understand the Code of Conduct to ensure students follow the rules and the staff enforce the rules effectively. Teaching establishments also have a student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedure which addresses any non-compliance with the organisation’s Code of Conduct. “A practical, coherent and consistently applied organisational behaviour policy is essential for creating an environment where poor behaviour and a lack of respect for diversity are not tolerated.” (Machin, Hindmarch, Murray, & Richardson, 2016, p. 74)

While teaching it is essential that the both the Code of Conduct and student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedure are followed as “inconsistent application of sanctions for bad behaviour undermines teachers’ credibility, meaning learners are less likely to change behaviour if they feel unfairly treated.” (Machin, Hindmarch, Murray, & Richardson, 2016, p. 74) The policies make it clear to both students and lecturers what happens in the event of bad behaviour and what procedures occur, “such procedures are backed by the authority of the institution as a whole and using them will take some of the pressure off you.” (Gould & Roffey-Barentsen, 2014, p. 223)

The latest student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedure features a colour scheme of severity so that it is obvious to students that while they remain on green everything is fine, however, if they do not comply with the Code of Conduct they will move from green to yellow, orange and finally red. The colour scheme replaces the previous numeric system of 1 – 4, with 4 being the most severe. The student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedure provides students with ample opportunity to improve their behaviour; the goal is a positive outcome. These opportunities will be in the form of targets the students must achieve in order to avoid being placed on more severe disciplinary levels, achieving these targets will result in the severity reducing.

Within the Conduct and Disciplinary Procedure there are two levels of challenging behaviour, unacceptable and gross misconduct. Unacceptable behaviour is normally handled within the class and includes areas such as mobile phone use, swearing and attendance. If this behaviour continues it should result in the student being placed on a “cause for concern”. This provides a level of communication between lecturers to ensure the behaviour is managed consistently but also may highlight potential issues the student may be facing, such as in the case of attendance. The second, and far more serious level of challenging behaviour, is gross misconduct such as drugs, abuse, racism, etc., this behaviour will be treated far more seriously and result in more severe levels of the conduct and disciplinary procedure and the involvement of more senior members of staff.

Gould, J., & Roffey-Barentsen, J. (2014). Achieving your diploma in education and training (1st ed.). London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Machin, L., Hindmarch, D., Murray, S., & Richardson, T. (2016). A Complete Guide to the Level 5 Diploma in Education & Training (Second Edition ed.). St Albans: Critical Publishing.

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Author Profile

James Barron
My first experience of teaching was in 2016, when I was asked to
deliver a talk to a group of 16-year-olds on what it was like to start
your own business. I immediately knew I wanted to become more
involved in teaching but I didn’t know where to start as I had not
previously considered a career in education. A few weeks later I
agreed to teach a class of Chinese students from the Shanghai
Technical Institute of Electronics and Information, who had travelled
to the UK to learn English and Software Engineering, after that I was
hooked. Within the next few years, I taught hundreds of students of
many different nationalities, aged from 16 to 60, and from
levels 2 to 6. I focused my time teaching with Bath University and
Bath College for several more years until I felt a change was in order.
For the last few years, I have taught remotely with several private
training organisations, provided dedicated one to one coaching
sessions, provided consultancy on teaching and assessment practices
and written about my experiences as a teacher. I plan to continue
with my current activities for the foreseeable future but I’m always
open to new teaching experiences.

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