Research School Network: Blog: Establishing the Regular Melodic Rhythm of School Life Establishing the Regular Melodic Rhythm of School Life


Blog: Establishing the Regular Melodic Rhythm of School Life

Establishing the Regular Melodic Rhythm of School Life

by Research Schools Network
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Angie Harrison, from Wolds Associate Research School, is the Research Programme Lead for Learning Behaviours at EEF, a SCITT Lead and Secondary School Leader based in the East Riding of Yorkshire and Hull. 

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Building consistent positive behavioural habits and routines is the bedrock for supporting pupils’ social, emotional and behavioural needs, but vital behavioural learning routines take time and patience to establish.

Time after time, behaviour strategies are perceived as simply tools to manage misbehaviour. So, what do we really mean by learning behaviours?

A learning behaviour can be thought of as a behaviour that is necessary in order for a [child] to learn effectively in the group setting of the classroom (Ellis and Todd, 2018).

The Education Endowment Foundation‘s guidance reports can inform and support how we can implement and develop effective learning behaviours in our schools:

Improving behaviour in schools

Metacognition and self-regulation

Special educational needs in mainstream schools

Working with parents

Social and emotional learning in primary schools 


By building consistent routines and teaching learning behaviours, we can carefully establish a rhythmic pattern to nurture and support our pupils at the start of this school year.

Some of the following key principles from the EEF Guidance Reports are at the core of our school routines and classroom habits:

Promote Positive Interactions with Pupils

Establishing clear routines and expectations based on mutual respect helps to create a safe space’ for pupils. It’s key to establish a learning environment where pupils know their contributions are valued and that making a mistake or struggling with a key skill is simply part of learning.

Model Effective Learning Be

Whether we are modelling our own thought processes to help pupils think metacognitively or showcasing the social and emotional behaviours we want our children to embrace, modelling is at the heart of effective teaching.

Consistency is Key

Building a cohesive community and a sense of shared responsibility amongst staff, pupils, parents/​carers and the wider school community for learning behaviours takes time and careful strategic implementation: the consistent application and rehearsal of behaviour policies is vital.

In establishing and maintaining these regular rhythms of school life, modelling and rehearsing as appropriate, we set the foundations for effective learning behaviours.

Further Reading and Guidance

Putting Evidence to Work – A School’s Guide to Implementation

EEF Blog: Five-a-day – Achieving Effective Learning Behaviours Within our Classrooms.


Ellis, S. and Todd, J. (2018)​Behaviour for Learning: Promoting Positive Relationships in the Classroom, Routledge.

Jones, S et al. (2018) Preparing for Effective SEL Implementation, Harvard.

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