A cognitive style preventative intervention for improving

behaviour and learning in secondary school pupils



Dr. Richard Riding and Dr. Stephen Rayner

Assessment Research Unit, School of Education, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK



This paper describes an innovatory approach to both pupil behaviour management and the improvement of learning performance in secondary school pupils. The approach focuses on cognitive style, which is an individual's preferred and habitual approach to both organising and representing information. Recent studies utilising cognitive style have developed a simple innovatory method of identifying school pupils who are at potential risk of developing behaviour problems. This method provides a foundation for developing new approaches to teaching and learning, which improve behaviour and raise achievement by reducing failure and frustration. Practical approaches have been developed for use by teachers in improving the behaviour and performance of pupils by engagement at the critical stages in an Improvement Cycle. This cycle consists of improving behaviour and producing better learning which in turn enhances self-perception, and so increases motivation, leading to even better behaviour. This has potential for improving provision for children experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Return to Abstracts Page