All entries for Monday 17 April 2023

April 17, 2023

Establishing Classroom Relationships

by Robert Smith

Developing a safe and predictable environment can have an enormous impact for both pupils generally and for a specific identified pupil. Bohn, Roehrig, and Pressley (2004) found that effective teachers introduce and maintain routines at the beginning of their relationship with each group. Doing so enables pupils to predict events throughout the lesson, helping them to feel safe. This feeling of security results in higher engagement and less problem behaviour. While this supports the behaviour and learning of all pupils, it can be particularly beneficial to individuals with higher needs; for example, though all pupils benefit when alerted of upcoming change, this predictability is especially supportive for individuals who are distressed by unexpected change (Kern and Clemens, 2007).

Similar to the early introduction of routines, the immediate establishment of rules impacts how safe a pupil feels in the classroom. Kern and Clemens (2007) advise that there be no more than five rules to aid memorisation, that each one be positively worded, and that they be displayed prominently in the classroom, to serve as both a reminder to pupils and as supporting artefacts for the teacher when reinforcing the rules. They suggest that engaging the students in the creation of the class rules is beneficial because it gives the pupils a sense of involvement, that the teacher cares about what they think, and it gives pupils choice; providing opportunities for choice is listed by Kern and Clemens (2007) as important at both class-wide and individual levels.

Kern and Clemens (2007) collated literature to consider the benefits of antecedent interventions and concluded that the implementation of such strategies can create a structured learning environment beneficial to most pupils. They divide antecedent strategies into two groups: class-wide and individual. They recommend that before class-wide strategies are considered school-wide ones need to be implemented, but these do not fall under the scope of their research. This improves the behaviour of pupils, which then makes responses to class-wide interventions more successful. Once class-wide strategies are implemented, teachers can implement individualised interventions to support pupils who have not adequately responded to general strategies. These individual interventions can only be successful if they are tailored to the needs of the specific pupil and environment, and so the teacher needs to have a solid understanding of what those needs are.

I am particularly interested in Kern and Clemens’ suggestion to involve students in rule making, creating as it does an element of accountability. I will incorporate this into my practice when I have the opportunity. Despite the mostly sequential nature of maths, I can also see plenty of opportunities for letting classes choose how to approach learning (visual scaffolding, bullet-pointed steps, etc.) as well as larger decisions, such as the order they learn non-sequential topics.

Typically, maths is taught using large amounts of repetitive questions that all practise the same new skill, yet this also increases the likelihood of problem behaviour (Kern and Clemens, 2007). I was interested to read about the benefits of incorporating simple, loosely related questions into the current work, and that pupils preferred this type of work despite there being more questions to answer (Kern and Clemens, 2007). These simpler questions could be used effectively as a form of retrieval practice, further benefiting the learning.


Bohn, C.M., Roehrig, A.D., and Pressley, M. (2004) 'The first days of school in the classrooms of two more effective and four less effective primary-grades teachers.' Elementary School Journal, 104, pp. 269–287.

Kern, L. and Clemens, N.H. (2007) 'Antecedent strategies to promote appropriate classroom behaviour.' Psychol. Schs., 44, pp. 65-75.

April 2023

Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
Mar |  Today  | May
               1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Search this blog



Most recent comments

  • Very interesting, thank you for sharing. Great CPD reflection. by Joel Milburn on this entry
  • Hi Lucy, Thank you for sharing the highs and lows of diverse assessments. I hope you have inspired o… by Anna Tranter on this entry
  • Hello Lucy, I totally agree with everything you have said here. And well done for having the energy … by Natalie Sharpling on this entry
  • Thank you for setting up this Learning Circle. Clearly, this is an area where we can make real progr… by Gwen Van der Velden on this entry
  • It's wonderful to read of your success Alex and the fact that you've been able to eradicate some pre… by Catherine Glavina on this entry

Blog archive

Not signed in
Sign in

Powered by BlogBuilder