Last updated: 02.07.24

How to Promote Positive Behaviour


The classroom is first and foremost a place of learning that should foster positive attitudes towards education and acceptable behaviour. However, promoting positive behaviour can be tricky and needs to be tackled quickly in order to avoid disruptive actions from students and classroom bullying.

In this guide, we will highlight how to promote positive behaviour in a classroom setting. We begin by providing a definition of positive behaviour with examples. Next, we will describe strategies that could be used to support positive behaviour that will benefit students as well as educators.

What is positive behaviour?

Positive behaviour in the classroom refers to actions and attitudes that contribute to a productive and respectful learning environment for all students. It includes a range of different behaviours that reflect self-discipline, cooperation and a commitment to learning. When these actions are implemented effectively, educators can ensure that students feel safe and supported in their learning environment. 

Using a framework of positive behaviour in the classroom allows educators to improve social, emotional and academic outcomes for their students. Adverse behaviours can have an immensely negative effect on everyone in the classroom and significantly disrupt learning. By promoting positive behaviour you can help children focus on their learning and give them the confidence to develop relationships with others. 

Examples of Positive Behaviour 

To help explain the concept of positive behaviour, it’s worth highlighting some examples that are often promoted within the classroom. Below we have provided a list of positive behaviour examples that foster a healthy learning environment for children. 

Respect for others - This can take the form of students actively listening when someone else is speaking, respecting the opinions of other classmates and using polite language in the classroom. 

Cooperation - This behaviour concerns children working well with others during group work, sharing their resources and helping their peers when they encounter difficulties. 

Responsibility - In a classroom setting, responsibility includes students handing in assignments on time, being prepared for class activities and taking responsibility for their actions. 

Engagement - This behaviour involves active participation in class discussions, asking questions to further understanding and showing an interest in learning. 

Self-regulation - While this can be harder for younger students, self-regulation involves managing emotions, staying focused on classwork and following the rules of the classroom. 

The Importance of Promoting Positive Behaviour

There are several reasons why promoting positive behaviour is important. Most significantly it can enhance the learning environment and bolster academic performance in students. Likewise, it can vastly improve teacher satisfaction and nurture the social development of students. We expand on each of these points below. 

Enhancing the Learning Environment

Promoting positive behaviour significantly enhances the overall learning environment. A classroom that is characterised by respect, engagement and cooperation provides a safe and hospitable environment for students and educators. This constructive environment encourages students to actively participate in learning without fear of criticism which further promotes open communication and mutual respect. 

Improve Academic Achievement

Positive behaviour in the classroom has a direct impact on academic performance and outcomes. When students are attentive, responsible and have greater perseverance they are more able to retain information and knowledge from the classroom. Motivated students are more likely to complete assignments, participate in discussions, and seek help when needed, all of which contribute to better academic performance and foster a growth mindset in young learners. 

Teacher Satisfaction

In learning environments where positive behaviour is effectively encouraged, teachers are much more likely to be satisfied in their position. When there are minimal behavioural disruptions in the classroom educators are able to focus on delivering robust, high-quality education rather than discipline. This leads to a more enjoyable and fulfilling teaching experience and fosters a more harmonious teacher-student relationship. 

Development of Key Social Skills

Promoting positive behaviour in the classroom plays a critical role in the development of essential social skills for young children. Behaviours such as cooperation, empathy and effective communication are fundamental for building healthy interpersonal relationships. In a classroom setting, students learn to work collaboratively, resolve conflicts, and support their peers, which are vital skills both inside and outside of school.

The Best Ways to Promote Positive Behaviour

Having covered the meaning of positive behaviour and its importance, it’s time to consider how you can promote positive behaviour in the classroom. In this section, we present 6 helpful strategies for fostering a positive learning environment. From setting clear expectations to modelling exemplary behaviour, there are a variety of ways that educators can promote positive behaviour.

Set Clear Expectations

One of the most critical foundations for promoting positive behaviour in schools is to set clear expectations for students. The rules and guidelines that govern classroom conduct should be outlined from the first day of class. These expectations should be easily understandable and specific to avoid confusion and ambiguity that could lead to bad behaviour. 

A great way to cement these expectations into your students is to involve them in the process of making classroom rules. This can create a sense of accountability and ownership for young learners and make them more likely to abide by the set standards. Likewise, visual aids like posters and regular reminders can help reinforce these expectations and keep students aware of their conduct. 

Positive Reinforcement of Good Behaviours

One of the best strategies to maintain good behaviour in a learning environment is positive reinforcement. This involves acknowledging and rewarding behaviours that align with classroom expectations. These rewards can take a variety of forms such as stickers and certificates or extra break time and special classroom privileges. 

The most important aspect of positive reinforcement is to ensure that the reward is immediate and directly related to the behaviour as this will help students understand what actions are being rewarded. Over time, positive reinforcement helps to build a culture where good behaviour is recognised and valued, making it more likely to be repeated.

Model Positive Behaviour

Teachers play a crucial role in modelling behaviour that they wish to see emulated in their classroom. Children tend to learn by observing and parroting adults so it is vital that teachers convey respect and empathy during their interactions with students. 

When teachers model positive behaviours consistently, it sets a standard that students can follow. By being role models, teachers provide a concrete example of positive behaviour, reinforcing the idea that these actions are valued and expected within the classroom.

Build Strong Relationships

Building strong relationships with students is fundamental to promoting positive behaviour in a learning environment. When students feel that their teachers genuinely care about them and their well-being, they are more likely to engage positively in the classroom. This involves taking the time to get to know each student, understanding their individual needs, and providing support as needed.

Positive teacher-student relationships are vital for building trust and respect, making students more receptive to guidance and correction. Additionally, strong relationships help create a sense of belonging and community within the classroom, encouraging students to uphold the collective norms and contribute meaningfully to the learning environment.

Keep Lessons Engaging

A great strategy for maintaining positive behaviour in the classroom is providing engaging lessons for students. When students are actively involved and interested in the material, they are less likely to become distracted or disruptive. Engaging lessons often include a variety of teaching methods and activities that cater to different learning styles, such as group work, hands-on projects, interactive discussions and the use of technology where appropriate.

By making learning enjoyable and relevant, teachers can capture students’ attention and foster a positive attitude towards learning. Engaged students are more likely to participate constructively and exhibit the behaviours necessary for a productive classroom.

Be Consistent and Fair

Consistency and fairness are key to promoting and maintaining positive behaviour in the classroom. Students need to know that rules and expectations are applied uniformly to everyone. Inconsistent enforcement can lead to confusion, resentment and a sense of injustice, which can undermine attempts to promote good behaviour.

It’s important for teachers to be fair and impartial, addressing all students equally and avoiding favouritism. Consistency also involves following through with consequences and rewards as promised. When students see that their teacher is reliable and just, they are more likely to trust and respect them, which in turn encourages adherence to the established behavioural standards.

How to Apply Positive Behaviour Support in the Classroom

Positive behaviour support (PBS) is an evidence-based approach that is targeted towards sustaining and improving positive behaviour, particularly within the classroom. PBS focuses on understanding the reasons and motivations behind adverse behaviour and looks for solutions that will promote desirable behaviour. It is a proactive approach to classroom behaviour and is people-centred, below we highlight some useful strategies for implementing PBS into the classroom.

Classroom Management Techniques

Classroom Management Techniques involve organising the classroom environment and establishing clear expectations to promote a conducive learning atmosphere. Effective classroom management minimises disruptions and maximises student engagement and learning.

There are a variety of Classroom Management Techniques that educators can utilise. For instance, developing consistent routines for daily activities, transitions and procedures. Predictability helps students feel secure and understand what is expected of them.

As this approach is more proactive, it also allows teachers to address potential disruptions before they escalate. Use strategies such as redirection, proximity control, and non-verbal cues to manage behaviour without interrupting the flow of instruction.

Interactive Activities

Interactive Activities engage students in the learning process, making lessons more captivating and reducing opportunities for disruptive behaviour. These activities foster collaboration, critical thinking, and active participation.

In the classroom, this can take the form of group work, role play and hands-on activities. By providing students with different opportunities for learning, you can actively promote positive behaviour through play. Likewise, interactive activities can be tailored to different learning styles such as the VARK model allowing educators to create a learning environment that is optimal for their student's needs. 

Incorporate Technology into the Classroom

Incorporating Technology in the classroom can enhance learning experiences, provide personalised learning opportunities and maintain student engagement. This makes it an excellent strategy for promoting positive behaviour as it can be used as a reward when implementing positive reinforcement and also creates a varied learning experience. There are a variety of ways that technology can be used in the classroom to promote positive behaviours. 

Evidence suggests that utilising educational software and games that align with the curriculum can make learning fun and interactive. When using games as part of a learning programme, students are more likely to participate and encouraged to take risks which is crucial for their development. 

Educators can even use interactive whiteboards to display multimedia content, conduct virtual field trips, and involve students in varied ways of learning. This is also applicable when using ipads in the classroom, as students can feel responsible for their education and learn modern technological skills which are vital in the modern day.

Monitor Students and Provide Feedback

Monitoring students and providing feedback ensures that class members are on track with their learning and behaviour goals. Regular feedback helps students understand their progress and areas for improvement, allowing them to understand why certain behaviours are not appropriate and giving them the means to address any behavioural issues. 

Teachers can keep track of student behaviour using charts, checklists, or apps designed for classroom management. Similarly, regular individual conferences with students are an excellent way to discuss their academic progress and behaviour, set goals, and provide personalised feedback. You can also encourage students to give constructive feedback to each other during group activities or peer review sessions, allowing them to further develop their interpersonal skills.


How do you promote positive behaviour in an early years setting?

Promoting positive behaviour in an early years setting involves creating a nurturing and structured environment where clear expectations are set, and routines are consistently followed. Strategies include acknowledging good behaviour, modelling appropriate behaviour, and implementing age-appropriate activities that engage and motivate children.

What are the benefits of encouraging and rewarding positive behaviour?

Encouraging and rewarding positive behaviour leads to numerous benefits, including increased student motivation, improved self-esteem, and the development of a positive classroom culture. It helps students understand the connection between their actions and outcomes, reinforcing desirable behaviours and reducing the occurrence of disruptive behaviours. Positive reinforcement fosters a sense of accomplishment and belonging, encourages cooperative and respectful interactions among peers, and creates a supportive learning environment that enhances overall academic and social-emotional development.

Which strategy is most likely to promote positive behaviour in children?

The strategy most likely to promote positive behaviour in children is positive reinforcement. This involves consistently recognizing and rewarding desired behaviours, whether through verbal praise, tangible rewards, or privileges. Positive reinforcement not only motivates children to repeat good behaviour but also builds their confidence and helps them understand what is expected of them.


Promoting positive behaviour in the classroom is essential for creating a productive, respectful, and supportive learning environment. By understanding the concept of positive behaviour and implementing effective strategies such as setting clear expectations, using positive reinforcement, modelling exemplary behaviour, and incorporating engaging activities, educators can significantly enhance both academic and social outcomes for their students.

The benefits of these approaches include improved student motivation, higher academic achievement, greater teacher satisfaction, and the development of key social skills. By fostering an atmosphere that prioritises positive behaviour, teachers can ensure that every student feels safe, valued, and ready to learn, ultimately achieving a harmonious and effective classroom environment.

At Virtual College we provide a suite of education training that can help educators create productive learning settings for their students. Contact us now to see how our solutions can benefit you or have a look at our bespoke training options.