Behaviour secrets: How to utilise the speed camera effect

Behaviour secrets: How to utilise the speed camera effect

It’s only natural!

Human beings tend to be on their best behaviour, when they feel as if they are being watched. Most of us have a ‘public self’ that we display to the world – a way of presenting ourselves in the best light in front of others who may be judging us.

Research shows that whether we are young or old, if we think nobody is looking we are more likely to do something ‘naughty’ as we hope we won’t be seen and think we might get away with it.

What’s the speed camera effect?

The speed camera effect refers to this change in behaviour when we feel like we’re being monitored.

So, when a driver hurtles towards a speed camera; and they know that they are being observed and are likely to be caught and suffer the financial consequences, they slow down. They change their behaviour to fit in with the rules.

Makes sense, right?

So, how can we utilise this effect to our advantage in school?


Let’s look at an example in the classroom:

When we notice that a group of children are becoming too loud, this is often a sign that, if not tackled now, their behaviour may escalate into something more serious later…

…so, before their behaviour dips any further, we simply:

  • walk over
  • look friendly and observant
  • stand next to the table

And thatís it.

This simple action will often be enough to calm the behaviour of the pupils at that table, without you even saying a word. Students quickly realise that an adult is monitoring them, so they adjust their behaviour in line with school expectations.

It’s as if the adult is creating a circle of calm.

Supercharge your impact:

For maximum effect move around your classroom, from group to group – creating circles of calm wherever you go. Let your pupils feel that they are being monitored and therefore need to present their best selves.

This technique is also brilliant for managing behaviour in dining rooms and playgrounds.

Why not share it with your mid day supervisors?

And if they haven’t watched our new free training videofind it here.


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