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Module 1: Creating a Positive and Accessible Learning Environment

Introduction to Module 1:

This module consists of 6 weeks of learning:

Week 1: Developing a positive learning environment 

Week 2: Building positive relationships with your class and becoming a role model

Week 3: Establishing rituals and routines

Week 4: Setting and maintaining high expectations for behaviour

Week 5: Behaviour for Learning & Creating an Empathy Based Classroom Environment that Supports Positive Behaviour

Week 6: Creating an accessible learning environment.

The Learn that... and Learn how to statements covered within this module are captured on the ECF Induction Programme mapping document. 

Week 1: Developing a positive learning environment.

This week will focus on developing a positive learning environment and invites you to explore the research and evidence around the importance of creating a positive learning environment, explore differing learning environments within your school and to reflect upon and adapt your own learning environment as a result.

Teachers' Standards:

Screenshot 2023-09-30 at 13.17.08.png

Evidence and Research:

Read the chapter, What is Teaching? by Carden, C. and Bower, V. (2022)  P20-23 Building Effective Learning Environments.

Here, Virginia and Catherine explore how Maslow's hierarchy of needs can be applied to your learning environment.

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The classroom environment and pupil learning

Effective teaching entails improving pupil achievement, in terms of both academic outcomes as well as other outcomes that matter to their future and success (Coe et al., 2014). Improving pupil achievement means generating a lasting change to pupils’ capabilities or understanding. Pupil behaviour, the learning environment and how teachers manage these, all play a critical role in improving pupil learning.

The learning environment or classroom ‘climate’ is a result of multiple factors, such as (Coe et al., 2014):

  • Teacher expectations.

  • The relationships between teachers and pupils.

  • How the teacher manages the classroom.


There is strong evidence that certain teaching approaches lead to better pupil behaviour and create a more effective learning environment (IES, 2008).

The most effective learning environments are those that are predictable and secure, where pupils are responsive to the teacher (IES, 2008), and where pupils feel a sense of connection to their school, peers and teachers. Such classroom environments also contribute to a positive school culture (Chapman et al., 2013). Classroom environments like these are good for all pupils, but particularly those with special educational needs (Carroll et al., 2017).

In general, pupils are more alike than different in terms of how they think and learn (Willingham, 2009), so common approaches are likely to be effective in improving pupil behaviour. But this must be balanced with the need to match teaching and classroom management to individual pupil needs (IES, 2008). Providing additional support can be particularly beneficial to pupils with specific barriers to learning (Carroll et al., 2017).

In addition to improving pupil behaviour, over time effective learning environments can produce a range of important benefits, including:

  • Pupil-teacher relationships: Positive relationships and pupil perceptions of their teacher are based on repeated interactions over time (Wubbels et al., 2014). Being responsive to pupil needs, including considering and seeking to understand their feelings, can help build strong teacher-pupil relationships.

  • Pupil attitudes to learning: Pupil perceptions of school are shaped by teacher-pupil interactions and the goals, values and behaviours of classmates (Rathmann et al., 2018).

  • Pupil wellbeing: Pupils who perceive that their teachers are in control of the class and are able to include them in activities are also more likely to feel satisfied in life and have better school outcomes (Rathmann et al., 2018).

  • Wider outcomes: In addition to generating high academic outcomes for pupils, effective environments can also improve wider outcomes such as university entrance and graduation rates, higher wages, and lower chances of becoming pregnant as a teenager (Chetty et al., 2014). (Source: Ambition Institute ECT Induction Materials)

Environment and Autistic Learners:


The environment (physical, social and routines) can make a lot of demands on autistic learners. 

Physical environment

The physical environment consists of the sounds, smells, lighting, layout and visual aesthetic of a space and can all have an impact. It is important that reasonable adjustments are made to the classroom environment to reduce as many barriers to learning as possible. As with any young person, barriers will differ depending on the individual. Any adaptations can often benefit all young people in the classroom not just the autistic learner. 

The structure and ethos of the classroom are important tools for helping autistic learners understand expectations and access the curriculum. All learning environments should provide a positive influence and clear structure for autistic learners, this encourages independence and helps reduce anxiety. 

A well organised, calm, supportive classroom with clear structure and routines can help make the environment a more predictable and accessible place, reducing distraction and confusion. Where possible practitioners should create physical structure, either using furniture or even tape or a mark on the floor. Making the function and any accompanying rules of each area as clear as possible. They should consider carefully the seating arrangements in the classroom. Autistic learners may benefit from access to a quieter, distraction free area in the class, this does not need to be for the sole or permanent use of autistic learners but could be an area where any pupil can go to focus on a piece of work. The movement of other pupils as well as staff within the layout of the class is another aspect to consider particularly where several staff members may work within the room. 

Consideration of visuals within the classroom space is important. Busy displays and posters can be very distracting to an autistic learner. As a general rule Practitioners should aim for a clutter-free environment. A well-organised classroom with stored items, equipment and books in clearly labelled cupboard/ areas will promote independence as well as reducing distraction. The potential for using visual supports is vast, but they should only be used if appropriate and effective and should be regularly reviewed.

Social environment

The social environment is concerned with the attitudes, expectations and actions of those within the class and how these can affect autistic learners, either positively or negatively. 

Practitioners should aim to develop a classroom culture where autistic learners feel valued and secure, individual differences are respected, and diversity is highlighted and celebrated. These children and young people learn best when they can focus on a task and are not anxious or worried. Practitioners should reduce stress by considering each learner’s competence. When children and young people have difficulty with retaining information, understanding instructions or the complexities of language used, practitioners should differentiate their own language and instructions, as a routine part of their practice e.g. say less, slow down your rate of speech, stress key words and use visuals to support understanding. Using a variety of teaching styles and allowing additional thinking/ processing time can be valuable."

(Autism Toolbox, no date)

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

Having read about the importance of creating a positive and safe learning environment and how this can be achieved, take time to visit each of the learning environments within the school and evaluate these.  For each learning environment note the following:

  • The learning environment visited e.g. library or class 2

  • The strengths of the learning environment

  • Areas for improvement/enhancement.

Reflection and Discussion

Using your preferred reflective model, critically reflect upon this week's learning and your own learning environment.

Make adaptations to your learning environment based upon your learning and reflections.

Bring your reflections, a note of the adaptations and changes you have made to your learning environment and any questions or areas for further discussion to your mentor meeting.


Ambition Institute (no date) Module Overview and Contracting. ECT Induction Materials. Available at https://support-for-early-career-teachers.education.gov.uk/ambition/year-1/autumn-1/topic-1/part-2

Autism Toolbox (no date) Environment. Available at: https://www.autismtoolbox.co.uk/understanding-autism/environment/#:~:text=The%20structure%20and%20ethos%20of,independence%20and%20helps%20reduce%20anxiety. 

Carden, C. and Bower, V. (2022) What is Teaching?  in Carden, C. (2022) Primary Teaching Today: Learning and Teaching in Primary Schools Today. London. Sage.

Week 2: Building positive relationships within your class and becoming a role model.

This week will focus on the importance of developing positive relationships within your classroom and how it is vital that you, as the class teacher are a role model to your pupils and colleagues both within and beyond your classroom.  You will explore the evidence linked to this as well as have the opportunity to try some 'getting to know you' activities with your class and reflect upon the impact of these and your next steps for your own development.

Teachers' Standards:

Screenshot 2023-09-30 at 13.17.47.png

Getting to know your pupils.

Evidence and Research:

Research shows that teachers developing trusting relationships with pupils is critical for pupils’ enjoyment of school and for their academic progress. For example, a 2015 PISA study found that teacher-pupil relations are strongly associated with performance in mathematics as well as pupils’ happiness and sense of belonging at school. (Teach First)

Getting to know your pupils is a key to being able to adapt your practice to meet the needs of your learners and make learning accessible and engaging for them. It may seem obvious to state that teacher's should take the time to know their children, however, it is important to know more about the children in your class that just their name, age, friendship groups, family backgrounds and learning needs.  You need to dig a little deeper to really understand each child's strengths and interests.

Get to know your pupils' learning strengths

Every child will have areas of the curriculum where they excel and other areas that they find challenging.  As a teacher it is important to ascertain a pupil's learning strengths and areas of challenge.  Are they creative, analytical or practical?  Do they thrive in maths and science yet fear art and music?  Knowing this will help you plan and adapt your planning to meet the pupils' needs as well as ensuring they are challenged and remain engaged in their learning.

Get to know your pupils as individuals

Take time to get to know your pupils as individuals.  Find out what they like to do outside of school, what their interests and likes are as well as their dislikes.  Get to know their personalities.  Do not assume that because a pupil excels in a specific subject that this is their passion!  Find out if they outgoing and thrive on participating in class and love to show off their acting skills, or are they shy and prefer not to speak in front of others?  This information will help you to plan your inclusive, safe and positive learning environment where your pupils thrive and flourish.

Screenshot 2023-09-30 at 16.57.06.png

(ReachOut.com, n.d)

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

How well do you know your pupils?

Use this pro forma to note down the names of each member of your class as they come to your mind.  Once you have written their name, write done one positive thing about this pupil and then tick the box if you have taken the time to speak to them about this.

Screenshot 2023-09-30 at 17.13.41.png

Here are some example activities that you can undertake with your pupils to get to know them better, and to encourage them to get to know each other.  You may want to try some, or all of these activities with your class.

Screenshot 2023-09-30 at 17.17.39.png


Using the template, write a postcard to your class introducing yourself.

Provide them with a blank template so they can write one to you.

Collate these and display them in the classroom

Screenshot 2023-09-30 at 17.18.33.png

Icebreaker Bingo:

Using the template, adapt as you like - to make it relevant or smaller etc.

Give pupils time to find someone in their class with.. or who has... They need to write their name by the item.  You can play too!

Screenshot 2023-09-30 at 17.24.54.png

Social Story:

Produce a social story introducing yourself - see the example to the left - and support your pupils in producing their own.

Introductory Video:

Develop an introductory video about you and task your pupils with doing the same.  Se the one above as an example.

Reflection and Discussion

Reflect upon the above learning and activities, using a reflective framework to support you in your critical reflection process.

What activities did you try?  How have you adapted your practice as a result?

What have you learnt about your pupils?  How has this impacted upon your approach to learning and teaching?

How do you think taking time to know your pupils impacts upon learning and outcomes?

Note down your thoughts and take these to your weekly mentor meeting along with any of the resources you made with regards to getting to know your pupils e.g. your social story, postcard ice breaker bingo or video.


ReachOut  (no date) Why its important to understand students' needs and interests. Available at https://schools.au.reachout.com/articles/why-its-important-to-understand-student-needs-and-interests#:~:text=Taking%20a%20bit%20of%20time,their%20learning%20interests%20and%20strengths.

Teach First (no date) Creating a positive and respectful classroom environment. ECT Materials. Available at https://support-for-early-career-teachers.education.gov.uk/teach-first/year-1/autumn-1/topic-3/part-2

Becoming a Role Model

Evidence and Research:

Teachers can be extraordinarily influential

You can improve the motivation, wellbeing and behaviour of your pupils. In turn, this will help you to improve their life chances, especially for the most disadvantaged pupils.

Ultimately, the quality of your teaching is what matters most, but creating secure foundations by acting as a role model, clarifying your expectations, and creating a culture of trust and respect will help your teaching to have the greatest possible impact.

Acting as a role model

Your actions can influence the attitudes, values and behaviours of your pupils. For instance, modelling a joy of reading may influence your pupils’ attitudes to reading.

Therefore, you should be purposeful and consider the attributes you wish to foster through your example.

Pupils may be especially impressionable if they identify with you, or if they lack existing positive role models.

Clarifying your expectations

Your expectations of pupils can affect their outcomes. This is sometimes known as the Pygmalion effect, through which pupils can internalise expectations of them held by others.

Setting challenging, yet achievable goals will help you to communicate your high expectations and support pupils to achieve more.

You should set similar expectations about behaviour by, for instance, not tolerating low-level disruption.

Creating a culture of respect and trust

This can be achieved by doing lots of simple things well, such as actively modelling and reinforcing the courteous behaviour you expect pupils to show you and their peers.

For instance, by respectfully listening to others’ ideas and actively modelling how to do this and why it matters. (UCL, n.d)

Read this article about the importance of role models in education.

Read P12-14 of What is Teaching? - What does teaching require? An examination of professional and personal attributes.

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

Explore the values of your school.  What are they? 

Have a conversation with your headteacher.  What are the expectations they have of their teachers?  How do these expectations link to the school values and ethos?

Note down both the values of the school and the expectations of the Headteacher.

Reflection and Discussion

From your learning and discussion with your Headteacher critically reflect upon yourself as a role model.

What professional and personal attributes do you possess?  Which do you need to further develop?  
For those you need to further develop, how might you do this?  What support or development would be beneficial?
Do you demonstrate the character of a good role model as outlined in the article you read?
Do you meet align with the values of the school?
Do you meet the expectations that the Headteacher has of their teachers?
Are their areas that you need to focus on developing?  What are these? How might you develop these behaviours and attitudes?


Carden, C. and Bower,V. (2022) What is Teaching? in Carden, C. (2022) Primary Teaching Today 2nd Ed. London Sage.

Edumentors (no date) The Importance of Role Models in Education Available at https://edumentors.co.uk/blog/the-importance-of-role-models-in-education/

UCL (no date) Understanding teachers as role models ECT materials. Available at https://support-for-early-career-teachers.education.gov.uk/ucl/year-1/autumn-1/topic-2/part-3

Week 3: Establishing Rituals and Routines

This week will focus on the importance of developing rituals and routines within your classroom and how these will support the creation of a positive and effective learning environment as well as supporting behaviour management.  You will be invited to consider the routines and rituals that you have established within your own classroom and consider their role in creating a positive learning environment and the creation of a pschologically safe classroom.

Teachers' Standards:

Evidence and Research:

Creatures of habit...

We are creatures of habit and with that comes a comfort in routine.  We all have routines in our lives, and often when those routines are broken or interrupted we become a little lost and 'out of sorts', sometimes it even causes us anxiety or stress.

What our routines do is bring us predictability and security.  They make us feel confident, safe and in control.

The same applies to our classrooms.

When we create routines that happen on a regular, even daily basis, our pupils feel that same sense of security, predictability and confidence we do.  As you will be fully aware, establishing routine for pupils with autism is all that much more important.

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Establishing and reinforcing routines creates a positive climate for learning

The research in this area is clear. Classroom climate and management are key to maximising the learning that can take place (Coe et al., 2014). Not surprisingly, the choices teachers make about how they manage their classroom can have a significant, positive effect on reducing misbehaviour (Valdebenito et al., 2018). Establishing the learning environment plays an important role in pupil engagement (Gutman & Schoon, 2013). In particular, showing our pupils what is expected of them through routines promotes good behaviour (Institute of Education Sciences, 2008; Education Endowment Foundation, 2019).

It can be motivating for pupils to know what is expected from them. The vast majority of pupils want to do well and will be motivated to meet your expectations. When it is made clear what is expected, they will know how they should behave. We can help our pupils with this through establishing routines for the everyday things that happen in our lessons.

Establishing routines

Routines can be used for most common classroom activities, such as:

  • entering the classroom

  • starts and ends of lessons

  • starting and finishing work

  • transitions between activities or places in the learning environment

  • taking out and putting away resources

  • whole-class teaching and discussion

  • handing out equipment


Making your pupils feel safe and secure is an important part of teaching and also improves pupil wellbeing. Classrooms should be predictable environments with clear rules, routines and expectations about behaviour as well as learning, which offer all pupils opportunities for success (Kern & Clemens, 2007; Rosenshine, 2012). Teachers should set high standards for behaviour as well as for learning and believe that their pupils can meet these standards (Willingham, 2009). When you establish a calm, purposeful learning environment, pupils will:

  • Be more likely to behave well

  • Be able to concentrate and therefore learn

  • Be motivated to learn

  • Have increased wellbeing

  • Feel secure enough to take risks and show you their thinking.

Routines, by definition, need to happen in the same way every time, making your classroom a predictable and safe place; pupils will know where they stand and what you expect from them.

What do more experienced teachers do to establish and maintain these routines? The table below shows three key strategies:

Screenshot 2023-10-01 at 12.45.56.png

Another way we can strengthen and embed our routines is through positive reinforcement. Positively reinforcing what we want to see reduces poor behaviour and helps increase academic engagement (Institute of Education Sciences, 2008). It is also motivating and supports pupil wellbeing. When we praise and give attention to the specific behaviour we want to see, it increases the likelihood of that behaviour happening again. It will also encourage other pupils to follow suit. The same is true in reverse: if a pupil continuously calls out and the teacher responds to them, they are receiving attention for that behaviour and are likely to repeat it. Positive reinforcement should be used strategically to nurture the behaviour we want to see.

This table shows three ways positive reinforcement can support routines and good behaviour:

Screenshot 2023-10-01 at 12.51.53.png

Routines need to be actively taught and reinforced frequently, with reasons, so that pupils understand what is expected of them (Muijs & Reynolds, 2017). Pupils should recognise routines as the ‘norms’ of the classroom. If you have effective routines, pupils will follow them consistently and efficiently, maximising time for learning.

Routines are particularly important for those with autism. The information below captures this: 

Screenshot 2023-10-01 at 13.21.57.png

(Autism Toolbox, n.d)

Take time to read this guide for dealing with change by the National Autistic Society.

"Your classroom as part of the wider school culture

Routines will become part of your classroom culture. You want them to be effective for you and your pupils, but you also have to recognise that your classroom is just one of many in your school.

Good routines should:

  • Be in line with your school’s ethos and rules

  • Maximise time for learning

  • Work for you and for your pupils." (Education Development Trust, no date)

When our routines have been established successfully...

Screenshot 2023-10-04 at 17.36.47.png

If routines are not being adhered to it is important that they are re-taught.

Adapted from Education Development Trust (no date)

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

Read through the guidance below, produced by UW College of Education.  Using the 'Steps to Implementation' table, consider your own practice and for each stage, identify the rituals and routines that you have put into place for your class.

Where there are gaps, consider how you might establish a routine to support your pupils at that phase of the day.

Screenshot 2023-10-01 at 12.56.04.png

Reflection and Discussion

Why are routines important for improving classroom behaviour?

Which of these statements is not true?

  • routines show pupils what is expected of them, so they know how to behave

  • routines force pupils to comply with the school culture

  • routines create a predictable classroom environment for pupils

  • routines lead to a calm and predictable environment, which is conducive to learning

When can we use routines in our teaching?

  • just at the end and beginning of lessons

  • when completing complicated tasks

  • for most common classroom activities

  • when behaviour is poor

Name three methods that experienced teachers use to establish and maintain routines.

Think about a recent lesson:

  • what behaviours do you give attention to in the classroom?

  • how could you use positive reinforcement to support your routines and the behaviour you want to see?


Autism Toolbox (no date) Environment. Available at https://www.autismtoolbox.co.uk/understanding-autism/environment/#:~:text=The%20structure%20and%20ethos%20of,independence%20and%20helps%20reduce%20anxiety.

Education Development Trust (no date) Foundations of a positive climate for learning.  Available at https://support-for-early-career-teachers.education.gov.uk/edt/year-1/autumn-1/topic-2/part-3

Education Development Trust (no date) Routines. Available at https://support-for-early-career-teachers.education.gov.uk/edt/year-1/autumn-1/topic-3/part-3

National Autistic Society (no date) Dealing with Change. Available at: https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/topics/behaviour/dealing-with-change/all-audiences 

University of Washington College of Education (2017) Intervention Guide: Classroom Routines. Available at:https://www.education.uw.edu/ibestt/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Classroom-Routines.pdf 

Week 4: Setting and Maintaining High Expectations for Behaviour

This week will focus on setting and maintaining high expectations for behaviour in your classroom. You will consider the importance of establishing clear expectations around behaviour and explore different mechanisms in order to maintain the desired expectations.  We will make links to the previous weeks in this module as you begin to see the synergy between environment, routines and behaviour.

Teachers' Standards:

Evidence and Research:

Setting and Establishing Effective Behaviour Expectations

Part of creating an effective learning environment entails managing pupil behaviour. Effective behaviour management happens best when teachers anticipate challenging pupil behaviours and modify the classroom environment to prevent or mitigate them (IES, 2008). Behaviour management strategies typically fall into one of three categories:

·       Proactive: Approaches for pre-empting and preventing problem behaviours before they occur. For example, using seating plans.

·       Reactive: Strategies to deal effectively with classroom behaviours as they arise. For example, using rewards or sanctions.

·       Escalation: Where proactive and reactive strategies are failing to work after a time, or where behaviour is extremely disruptive or dangerous, teachers should follow the school behaviour policy and/or discuss with their mentor what further support can be put in place. For example, calling parents, setting detentions or sending pupils out of the class after a certain number of sanctions. 


Part of effective behaviour management involves setting clear rules and consistently reinforcing them (Coe et al., 2014; IES, 2008). 

The goal of these rules should be to create an environment where pupils are routinely successful (Coe et al., 2014). (Ambition Institute, no date)

Screenshot 2023-10-03 at 15.41.27.png

Establishing, explaining and teaching behaviour expectations.

When establishing, explaining and teaching pupils about the behaviour expectations in your classroom, the following approaches are useful:

Develop the expectations alongside your pupils - involving your pupils in establishing the expectations around behaviour gives them a sense of ownership over the process and as a result leads to greater motivation to maintain and adhere to the expectations (DeFlitch, n.d). Consider embedding the development of the expectations as part of the pupils curriculum.  The pupils can develop English and 21st Century skills in the discussion and selection of the expectations and then their artistic skills to capture these into a visual representation.

Do not identify too many expectations - listing too many expectations may result in pupils failing to consistently meet the expectations.  Instead limit the expectations to no more than 5, but revisit these throughout the year as you may wish to amend them.  You may decide to have specific expectations established for particular activities e.g. practical activities.

Use positive language - When developing the expectations consider the language that is used.  Avoid negative language such as "Do not..." but instead re-frame the language to be positive informing pupils what they should do rather than what they should not do.  

Keep the expectations simple and specific - do not over-complicate the expectations, keep these as simple as possible and avoid combining several expectations into one by using "and".  Ensure the expectations are very specific and avoid generic statements such as 'maintain a respectful environment'.

Remember that these expectations apply to everyone - these are not solely expectations for your pupils but also for all adults. Therefore be careful to use "we" and "our" instead of "you" and "my".  For example always talk about 'our classroom' and 'we need to...'.

Provide mechanisms and space to allow pupils (and staff) to be successful in achieving and maintaining these expectations - by taking the time to explain them clearly to all members of the class community (including staff) giving examples as you do so.  You then need to ensure you lead by example and model these expectations.  It is important to allow the pupils opportunity to practice their behaviour, appreciating that, just as with academic learning, mistakes will be made and this is part of the learning process.  When this happens it is important to work with the pupil in order to support their learning just as you would do when teaching them an academic subject.

Once the expectations are set, ensure that you offer pupils behaviour specific praise when you catch them meeting these expectations!

In weeks 1 to 3 we have explored three key areas that support positive behaviour: creating a positive learning environment, getting to know the pupils and establishing rituals and routines.  Each of these in turn support teachers in being able to effectively manage behaviour. Building upon this, there are some specific ideas and practices that you can use to build an effective learning environment and manage pupil behaviour.  Consider how the 6 elements below support positive behaviour management and thus outcomes:

·       Time on task: While pupil behaviour is not a perfect indicator of whether pupils are learning (Coe, 2013), there is a significant relationship between the amount of time pupils spend on task and how much they learn (Muijs & Reynolds, 2010).

·       Peer effects: Pupil behaviour is influenced by that of their peers (IES, 2008). The more that individual pupils adopt on-task behaviours, the more likely it is that other pupils will follow them.

·       Positive reinforcement: Positive reinforcement can create an effective learning environment. Positive reinforcement entails providing acknowledgement, praise and rewards for positive behaviours. However, teachers must be careful not to overuse praise, as this can inadvertently communicate low expectations (Coe et al., 2014). To avoid this, teachers can use ‘acknowledgement’ when expectations are merely met and reserve ‘praise’ for when they are exceeded. Sanctions for negative behaviours can also be used alongside positive reinforcement. Providing more praise than reprimand has been found to be most effective (IES, 2008). 

·       Pupil success: Ensuring a high pupil success rate is a powerful way to foster pupil behaviour and learning (Rosenshine, 2012). How you communicate your expectations of pupil success can influence what they do and achieve. For example, if you inadvertently communicate low expectations of success, pupils can start to think that they can’t do it (Tsiplakides & Keramida, 2010) and reduce the amount of effort they put in (Gutman & Schoon, 2013). Conversely, pupils’ prior experiences of success at a specific, appropriately challenging task makes it more likely they will be motivated to persist at similar tasks in the future; this also makes it more likely they will be successful at such tasks (Gutman & Schoon, 2013). You should balance challenge with high success rate (Rosenshine, 2012).

·       Motivation: Pupil motivation can be intrinsic (driven by the task itself) or extrinsic (driven by rewards and sanctions). Pupils who are motivated intrinsically are more likely to stay on task longer and persist when learning gets challenging (Lazowski & Hulleman, 2016). Over time, you should aim to reduce extrinsic motivators and increase pupil intrinsic motivation. For example, helping pupils to master challenging content, and make links between their long-term goals and the work they are doing in school, can help pupils to journey from needing extrinsic motivation to being motivated to work intrinsically. Building effective relationships with parents, carers and families can improve pupils’ motivation, as well as pupil behaviour and academic success (EEF, 2018). Use opportunities like parents evening to communicate proactively and engage parents and carers in their children’s schooling.

·       Self-regulation: The ability to steer our own behaviour and learning – is a strong predictor of attainment and future success. A key aspect of this is emotional regulation (Gutman & Schoon, 2013). This is important because negative pupil emotions can lead to pupils avoiding a task (Kluger & DeNisi 1996) and also because the ability to regulate one’s emotions affects pupils’ ability to learn, success in school and future life (EEF, 2017). Effective self-regulation also requires pupils to develop metacognitive strategies – how they plan, monitor and evaluate their approaches to specific tasks. Teacher support for pupil metacognition is likely to increase pupil self-regulation, success and therefore motivation (EEF, 2017). (Adapted from Ambition Institute, no date)

You may find the DfE Advice for Behaviour in Schools (2022) a useful resources and reference point.  You can access the document below.   Within this advice document, there is specific guidance on 'behaviour expectations and pupils with Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND) on page 14.

Screenshot 2023-10-03 at 16.16.41.png

This video explores' Challenging Behaviour in Autistic Students' (Centre for Excellence for Behaviour Management, 2023)

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

Ensure you have read Newingate School's Behaviour Policy.

A policy is not intended to simply 'tick a box' or sit on a shelf gathering dust.  Policies should be applied to practice.  As you read through the policy, consider how you are applying this policy to your practice.  Perhaps highlight the key areas that are important for you, as a teacher.  

If there is anything within the policy that you are not currently aligning to, note down what you need to do, or how you need to adapt your practice to ensure alignment.

Screenshot 2023-10-03 at 16.30.14.png

Using what you have learnt about setting and establishing expectations for behaviour, spend some time with your class to set behaviour expectations, using the approach outlined in the evidence and research section above.  

If you already have behaviour expectations, consider whether they align with each point of the guidance.  If not, do they need to be adapted?

Choose one of the 6 elements: time on task, peer effects, positive reinforcement, pupil success, motivation and self-regulation to reflect upon.  How might you develop this within your own classroom?  You might find using a reflective framework useful here.

Reflection and Discussion

Reflect upon the intersection between behaviour management, environment, knowing your pupils and rituals and routine.  How do the latter three impact behaviour?  Thinking about this visually may be useful:

Screenshot 2023-10-04 at 10.01.03.png

In preparation for your mentor meeting this week, reflect upon:


  • The key things that you have learnt this week that have influenced your thinking and practice.

  • The key elements that support behaviour management and result in positive behaviour in your classroom and the link between positive behaviour, learning and outcomes.

  • Be clear about how your practice aligns with the school behaviour policy, perhaps capturing and noting down some examples.

  • The behaviour expectations you have within your classroom and how these reflect the evidence base you have explored.


Ambition Institute (no date) Module Overview and Contracting  Available at https://support-for-early-career-teachers.education.gov.uk/ambition/year-1/autumn-1/topic-1/part-2

Centre for Excellence for Behaviour Management (2023) Supporting Challenging Behaviour in Autistic Students. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdmcFKIuKlI 

DeFlitch, S. (no date) 6 Steps to Establish Behaviour Expectations. Available at https://www.panoramaed.com/blog/establishing-and-teaching-behavior-expectations

DfE (2022) Behaviour in Schools: Advice for headteacher and school staff.  Available at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1101597/Behaviour_in_schools_guidance_sept_22.pdf

Newingate School (2023) Behaviour Policy  Available at https://www.newingateschool.co.uk/_files/ugd/862a7b_fdaf8ce403cb41f2aab1e5c89cc1e7b5.pdf

Week 5: Behaviour for Learning & Creating an Empathy Based Classroom Environment that Supports Positive Behaviour

This week will focus on exploring the difference between behaviour management and behaviour for learning and considers the importance of re-framing language, the use of praise and reward and creating an empathy based learning environment in order to support positive behaviours. 

Teachers' Standards:

Evidence and Research:

Behaviour for Learning

Watch the video below that explores the difference between behaviour management and behaviours for learning and take you through some clear and routined approaches to maintaining positive behaviour.

Read, 'An Introduction to the behaviour for Learning Approach' that explores the framework in more detail.

The EEF's (2019) Improving Behaviour in Schools summary captures the approaches to behaviour management that we have explored in weeks 4 and 5, as well as within the wider module.  Click on the summary to a printable version and click here to access the full report.

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The document below will support you to reframe your language in different situations.

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Praise and Reward

"You can use praise and rewards to develop a positive, predictable and safe environment in your classroom:

  • Acknowledge and praise expected behaviour using verbal and non-verbal signals.

  • Use in-class rewards and praise alongside whole-school rewards.

  • Make praise and rewards ‘high value’: don’t praise work that is not at the standard expected.

  • Focus praise on effort and progress, not attainment. This encourages further effort, whatever level the pupil is working at.

  • Use positive language to give directions or address behaviour: sanctions are used positively with a focus on returning to learning as quickly as possible.

  • By narrating the positive things pupils are doing in your classroom, you can quickly get pupils on task and encourage good behaviour. If you do this every lesson, it will create a positive climate for learning as pupils will expect you to recognise and highlight the good things going on in your classroom." (Education Development Trust, no date)

Read the handout below, produce by The National Association of School Psychologists (2018) and that offers advice on how to use praise widely.

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The Empathy-Based Classroom

Building effective relationships is easier when pupils believe that their feelings will be considered and understood. Listen to Bea Stevenson, Head of Education at Family Links talk here about the role that respect and empathy play in this process. (Teach First, no date)


Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

This week you have been introduced to a range of strategies to support a positive approach to behaviour management and to establish positive learning behaviours in your classroom.  Take time to consider these approaches and strategies and implement some in your classroom and with pupils.  Remember, you should not expect a new apporach or strategy to work the first time!  Give yourself time to practice and embed these approaches. 

Reflection and Discussion

Thinking back to the video you watched where Bea Stevenson discussed empathy in the classroom.  Think about these following:

  • Why is your own self-awareness important?

  • How are feelings linked to behaviour?

  • How can you help pupils to self-regulate their emotions and consequently, their behaviour? (Teach First, no date)

Choose a couple of the approaches and strategies introduced to you this week, and that you have trialed in your classroom. 


Using a chosen reflective framework, critically reflect upon the impact of these approaches and strategies. You may find Gibbs' Reflective Framework useful for these reflections.

Make notes for each stage of the cycle and take these to your weekly mentor meeting for discussion.


Early Career Framework (2022) Empathy Based Classrooms. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=didSxbidJWU

Education Development Trust, no date Maintaining High Behavioural Expectations. Available at: https://support-for-early-career-teachers.education.gov.uk/edt/year-1/autumn-1/topic-5/part-3

EEF (2019) Improving Behaviour in Our Schools: Guidance Report. Available at: https://d2tic4wvo1iusb.cloudfront.net/production/eef-guidance-reports/behaviour/EEF_Improving_behaviour_in_schools_Report.pdf?v=1696562484

EEF (2021) Improving Behaviour in Our Schools: Recommendations Poster. Available at: https://d2tic4wvo1iusb.cloudfront.net/production/eef-guidance-reports/behaviour/EEF_Improving_behaviour_in_schools_Summary.pdf?v=1696562484

Ellis, S. (no date) An Introduction to the Behaviour for Learning Approach. Available at www.behaviourforlearning.co.uk/about-behaviour-for-learning

National Association of School Psychologists (2018) Using Praise and Rewards Wisely: Helping Handout for School and Home.  Available at: https://www.nasponline.org 

Teach First (no date) Creating a Positive and Respectful Classroom Environment. Available at: https://support-for-early-career-teachers.education.gov.uk/teach-first/year-1/autumn-1/topic-3/part-2

Week 6: Creating an Accessible Learning Environment

This week will draw together your learning from module one and explores how to create a learning environment that is accessible for your pupils.  

Teachers' Standards:

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Evidence and Research:

Read through the PowerPoint below, this has been adapted and condensed from a session led by the Headteacher of Newingate school working with teachers in the Dutch Caribbean islands of St Eustatius and Saba in August 2023.  As you work your way through the PowerPoint engage with the questions posed.  You can find the inclusion audit in the Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting section, below.

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You can access The Index for Inclusion here:

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Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

Inclusion Audit: Complete the inclusion audit.

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Choose another lesson to observe this week.  Your observation needs to be a focused observation, solely looking at how that teacher has created an accessible learning environment.  Draw upon your learning from this module and consider the learning environment, pedagogy and strategies the teacher uses. You may wish to take notes in your journal.

Reflection and Discussion

Your mentor will undertake an observation of your practice this week.  This will focus specifically on how you have created a positive and accessible learning environment for your pupils.

Your mentor meeting will be in the form of a professional learning conversation based upon your observation.


Booth, T. & Ainscow, M. (2002) Index for Inclusion. Available at: https://www.eenet.org.uk/resources/docs/Index%20English.pdf

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