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Learning behaviour

Last updated on 07 October 2020

Learning behaviour is…

“… about students being engaged and motivated, developing independent skills for learning and a love of learning for its own sake.

It is about being committed to challenging simply compliant and passive behaviour, as well as that which is provocative and disruptive.

It is more than creating a positive ethos, it celebrates the uniqueness of the learning culture and is focused on actively teaching and developing the necessary behaviours.”

Core beliefs

Behaviour is:

  • learned
  • chosen
  • purposeful
  • communicates information about needs
  • can be changed
  • can be taught

We can only control our own behaviour.

Core principles

  • behaviour, like any other set of skills and responses, is learnt and, therefore new behaviours can be taught
  • as adults, we have the responsibility for giving every young person the best possible chance to make right choices and to succeed
  • attendance (or non-attendance) is a physical demonstration of an emotional response.
  • in the 21st Century, we no longer expect to control our young people by power, strength, fear or authoritarian practices.

The work of the HfL Wellbeing advisers complements and builds on the work of other teams. Our aim is to support and challenge senior leaders in schools as they make strategic decisions about how to create the right learning environment to enable all our young people to:

  • engage with learning and become excited by the future choices this offers
  • acquire the social and emotional skills necessary to achieve success in education and in future life
  • overcome barriers to learning
  • understand the consequences, positive and negative, of the choices they make.

Useful links

Sandringham Research School: Behaviour Blog 2: Teach learning behaviours and use classroom management strategies

SSAT: Effective learning behaviours

Behaviour checklists – for teachers


  • know the names and roles of any adults in class.
  • meet and greet pupils when they come into the classroom.
  • display rules in the class - and ensure that the pupils and staff know what they are.
  • display the tariff of sanctions in class.
  • have a system in place to follow through with all sanctions.
  • display the tariff of rewards in class.
  • have a system in place to follow through with all rewards.
  • have a visual timetable on the wall.
  • follow the school behaviour policy.


  • know the names of children.
  • have a plan for children who are likely to misbehave.
  • ensure other adults in the class know the plan.
  • understand pupils’ special needs.


  • ensure that all resources are prepared in advance.
  • praise the behaviour you want to see more of.
  • praise children doing the right thing more than criticising those who are doing the wrong thing (parallel praise).
  • stay calm.
  • have clear routines for transitions and for stopping the class.
  • teach children the class routines.


Give feedback to parents about their child’s behaviour - let them know about the good days as well as the bad ones.

SEAL resources

Social and emotional aspects of learning (SEAL) was a comprehensive, whole-school approach to promoting the social and emotional skills that underpin effective learning, positive behaviour, regular attendance, staff effectiveness and the emotional health and well-being of all who learn and work in schools.  The DfE pages for SEAL can still be found on the National Strategies archived website.

National Archives: The national strategies: behaviour, attendance and SEAL

The Hertfordshire SEAL resources available on the old Grid website are contained in the zip folder below:

First published 01 October 2020 - Last updated on 07 October 2020