That Behaviour Book

The simple truth about teaching children

By: Stephen Baker


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PublishedJuly 2023
Size234 x 156mm

Written by Stephen Baker, That Behaviour Book: The simple truth about teaching children is an essential book for every teacher, providing an engaging and unique mix of anecdotes, practical strategies and moral imperatives for successful and child-centred behaviour management. 

What kind of teacher are you? What values, beliefs and principles do successful teachers have and how do they sustain these in the face of challenging pupil behaviour? 

In this timely book, Stephen Baker contends that rigid punishment systems weaponize young people’s defiance against them and that punishment doesn’t work. He believes that teachers need to take responsibility for behaviour and to lead it, not just ‘manage’ it, that we need to love the kids (even if we don’t like them), that children are people, that we are an event in their lives, and that teaching is a relationship-based activity.

With each chapter followed by engaging ‘takeaway tasks’, That Behaviour Book will allow teachers to rapidly improve both their practice and their relationships with pupils and classes. The book looks at the values that will sustain you as a teacher, how routines will help you teach better and what ‘positive expectations’ really mean, making child-centred relational practice easy to apply in the classroom. Teachers will have a more realistic appreciation of their own situation and of the context in which they teach. In short, this book will help teachers learn how to get the very best out of their pupils.

That Behaviour Book is an essential guide for both the beginner and the more experienced teacher. Its unique tone makes it an indispensable companion for the busy teacher, providing a sense of connection, challenge and reassurance all at once. Stephen Baker’s anecdotes, drawn from his years as a pupil, teacher and trainer pack an emotional punch and are often hilarious.

Suitable for all teachers.

Picture for author Stephen Baker

Stephen Baker

Stephen Baker spent 17 years in teaching, before working with local authorities and for the National Strategies as a regional adviser in Yorkshire and the Humber. He is now a behaviour consultant and trainer, passionate about helping teachers to succeed. Stephen lives with Sian in Anglesey where he spends his free time having fun with their children and grandchildren.


  1. A wonderfully written book designed to invoke reflection and provide answers to the questions every teacher asks at some point in their career. The book is a mixture of anecdotes and practical strategies for child-centred behaviour management. The takeaways at the end of each chapter are particularly useful at summarising key ideas and presenting them in accessible ways. Additionally, each chapter includes a now try this section, which is a powerful tool for reflective practice. That Behaviour Book is great for new and experienced staff alike.

  2. This is a useful, practical and supportive source of advice, with insights from the author's own professional experience and development. It draws attention to factors such as teaching with authenticity, the significance of body language, facial expression and building mutual respect through the development of social and emotional skills. 

    The main message is that teachers are responsible for pupil behaviour and they need to build relationships and establish clear routines that respect that children are people with a valid point of view.

    This book would be of value to both early career and more established teachers who are interested in effective communication and behaviour management.

  3. As all who work in schools know, student behaviour can make a brilliant day dreadful or a dreadful day brilliant. This is an incredibly helpful book for any teachers looking for more brilliant days, from Early Career Teachers to more experienced teachers who are looking to refresh their approach.

    Baker’s years of teaching experience bring not just masses of useful knowledge, but also funny, real world anecdotes that make this an enjoyable as well as useful read. He is realistic about the realities of teaching, the obstacles that arise, and the negative impact dealing with difficult behaviour can have on a teacher’s entire life. This is a book that shares, sympathises and suggests solutions, rather than dictating from on high.

    With clear real-world scenarios and examples that can be directly applied to any classroom, Baker leads us through topics such as Values, Expectations and Routines. Modelling the behaviour he is extolling, as he takes the reader on a fun and informative journey with him. The specific, practical suggestions offered include how to best word requests, effectively utilise your body language and how to calmly deal with verbal aggression.

    Alongside these practical tips and tricks are entertaining and thought-provoking considerations of a number of subjects surrounding student behaviour – from the importance of maintaining the idealism of youth to the ineffectiveness of draconian measures.

    A worthwhile read that puts the teacher firmly in charge.

  4. Expertly written and presented by educator and consultant Stephen Baker, That Behaviour Book is essential and instructive reading for every classroom teacher. Providing a wealth of engaging, illustrative, and unique mix of anecdotes, practical strategies and moral imperatives for successful and child-centered behavior management in an education setting, That Behaviour Book is a solid and recommended pick for personal, professional, school district, and academic library Educational Instruction and Child Management collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

  5. ‘Allowing the teachers to take control of behaviour’ is a wonderful summary as Steve looks back and advises on how to teach Wade Booley as his younger self (without taking him around the back of the Portakabin, Kes-style). This book helps establish routines and helps build relationships for ECTs and experienced teachers. It is easy to read with a plethora of simple ideas, told in a humerous manner with examples we can all relate to.

    The takeaways are a perfect ending to each chapter, but the cherry on the cake are the 'Now Try This' reflective opportunities which allow teachers to make those positive changes. An exceptional read.

  6. In this excellent book, Baker highlights the importance of understanding children, building strong relationships and loving pupils. Based on years of experience working in challenging schools – even the one I went to myself as a kid – he emphasises how vital adult behaviour needs to be in order to get the best out of the pupils. What we see in this book is the power of relationships and how we really must be sophisticated in how we communicate with children in our schools. If you are a new teacher then this book will help you take those first nervous steps into classroom management. If you are an experienced teacher then take a look – you may learn something new.

  7. Through visiting thousands of lessons, Steve has a special talent for spotting those moments of interaction between adult and youngsters that are catalysts for relationships breaking down and the inevitable onset of crisis. That Behaviour Book looks at those moments, identifies the issues and provides sensible solutions that have proven to work in many schools. This book is an essential read for all adults working with youngsters.

  8. Invaluable to early career teachers and experienced practitioners.

    Steve properly knows his stuff and communicates it brilliantly. His writing drips with authentic experience from a career in some truly wobbly places. Steve's advice is exactly what you need to upgrade behaviour in your classroom.

    I have worked with Steve for ten years and never fail to learn from him. This book is your chance to do the same.

  9. This book will challenge you to confront yourself. Do not read it unless you are ready to go on a journey to being a better teacher and a better human being. Whilst this book provides so many valuable tools and strategies, it is so much more than a ‘how to ... what to do if’ book. Steve is clear that our biggest asset in the classroom is our willingness to see children as fellow human beings. As Steve eloquently puts it, ‘Your job as a teacher is to help young people build their futures, to assist them to thrive and achieve their potential.’

    I have long been suspicious of the so-called ‘zero tolerance’ approach to behaviour. How can we say we love and value our children and have developed sophisticated policies and protocols to safeguard our children from harm, yet say we have zero tolerance of behaviour, which may well be communicating distress, trauma, fear and distrust? Perhaps the most subversive thing about this book is that it challenges the notion that children and young people are to blame for disruptive classrooms. As adults in the classroom, we have the power to create learning environments of mutual respect; Steve provides both the tools and research to prove this to be true.

    Steve is himself a student of life, and in this book he is honest enough to laugh at himself. This book will make you laugh at yourself too. Steve’s anecdotes are presented in a wonderful ‘Gervase Phinn’ style and readers will identify with so many of the stories relayed by Steve.

    Reading this book gave me hope. Hope to believe that there is a better way to teach and support our children, not least those from broken homes and dysfunctional families. Nelson Mandela suggested that education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world. Yet too many of our children are being excluded from lessons and even their own school community every day. If every teacher and every Ofsted inspector were to read this book, and apply the challenges and tools provided in their professional work, I believe we would see outcomes improve and the so-called disadvantage gap close significantly.

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