Implementing electronic behaviour management

“Bees!” by Todd Huffman on Flickr

Learning is paramount in school.  I know it is an obvious thing to say but it’s easy to forget and to get caught up with the day-to-day things like behaviour. Of course, if you have good teaching then it usually leads to good behaviour which allows outstanding learning, but that’s for another post at another time!

It’s easy to let your behaviour tracking system become more important than the behaviour itself and you can forget why you have the tracking system in place.  Most schools use a paper based system (in my current school it is the yellow sheet, in my previous the green sheet) and these sheets of paper move about via pigeon holes and clutter up desks.  

The problems with a paper based system are:

  • too many sheets of paper creating an unmanageable paper overload
  • it takes too long for actions to be carried out and the original incident becomes irrelevant 
  • students can get so many yellow sheets that it can become a ‘badge of honour’ to collect them
  • it is easy for people to fill them in without taking any action and shifting the ‘teflon sheet’ to the pastoral team

The biggest problem with any behaviour tracking system is that it is easy to forget what the point of the system is!  It is easy for the system to become an administrative nightmare that records actions but doesn’t effect change in students.  It is important to record all actions that are carried out but …

… behaviour management systems exists to help students modify their behaviour so they can get back to the most important thing … LEARNING!

The next logical step is to move to an electronic system that links into your schools MIS.  Most major schools MIS have a product that accomplishes this but there are external providers that will link into your MIS.  We use Facility CMIS from Serco and are currently rolling out their electronic behaviour system using ePortal. 

So far the roll out has gone extremely well and we are seeing more positive behaviours recorded centrally than negatives and this will be incredibly useful to share with students.   If you are considering moving over to electronic behaviour management here are a few learning points that you will need to consider but we didn’t think about!

  1. Everyone who comes into contact with young people will need access to the system including librarians, lunchtime supervisors, school nurse and other associate staff members. 
  2. All of these people will need access to a computer to record these behaviour events and need to be able to do this as part of their job. When, where and how does a lunchtime supervisor record an electronic incident?
  3. Can you analyse the data in the way you want it to?  We have halls (or houses) but our behaviour management system only allows analysis by years and subjects.  This is a bit of a pain for us and we are finding a workaround.
  4. Is the tutor aware of information throughout the process?  It is very easy for the tutor to get missed out of behaviour management processes.  The system we use puts the tutor at the heart of behaviour.
  5. Eventually this information will be accessible online to parents.  How are you going to ensure that spelling, grammar, tone and language is appropriate and acceptable to show to parents?

There are workarounds and ways to make all of these work but it is worth thinking about these as you prepare to move over to an electronic system.  Already we have seen great success and I’m sure it will radically improve the way we manage behaviour in my school.

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