Module D
“Understanding behaviour”


Read each of the sections below and complete all the activities. Once you reach the end, there is a link to OSM where you can upload evidence of your work from the activities. OSM is how we keep track of your progress so you must complete it to have evidence of this module. You can either write your work digitally or take a picture of any pieces of paper you use. However you choose, make sure you keep track of your work to get the recognition.

This module will take you 45 minutes to an hour to complete.


The aim of this module is to give you, as a Young Leader, a basic understanding of the different behaviours that young people can display and some possible causes. By the end, you should be able to recognise and propose possible solutions for different behaviours.

By the end of this module, you will have an understanding of:

+ different types of behaviour
+ talking about the causes and triggers that can lead to different types of behaviour
+ a number of tools or methods that could be used to manage behaviour
+ how you, as a Young Leader, can assist with managing behaviour in the section
+ where you can get further assistance, and when to involve adults
+ Approaching behaviour
+ every young person is an individual and all young people should be treated equally. They can display a range of behaviours that can be both positive and negative. A sudden or noticeable change in behaviour may be due to a variety of underlying causes of which you might not be aware.

All volunteers should focus on recognising and rewarding positive behaviour, and should never label a young person or adult.

When speaking about behaviour in the section, volunteers should focus on the behaviour itself, rather than on the young person in question. For example, instead of saying that young person is being ‘naughty’, they could talk to the young person about their behaviour, clearly explaining why it is not appropriate. Responding to challenging behaviour can be difficult for all leaders at times.

Activity 1

In this activity you will be reflecting on your own experiences. Write down an answer to each of the following questions:
1. How do you feel if you are having a bad day?
2. How do you feel when you are hungry?
3. How do you feel when you are tired?
4. How do you feel when you don’t understand something?
5. How do you feel when you are having a really good day?
6. Is there anything that helps you function a little better when you’re having a bad day?
7. What and who influences your mood?
8. What brings out the best in you?

Reasons for behaviour

There is always a reason behind challenging behaviour. Examples could include: boredom, over-excitement, enthusiasm, a misunderstanding about what is appropriate behaviour, a misunderstanding understanding the rules, experiences outside of Scouting, experiencing a bad mental health day, family circumstances and the environment (e.g. noisy, overwhelming, unfamiliar).

Challenging behaviour is often misjudged as ‘attention seeking’. It’s natural to want and need attention from others, but usually this is sought in a positive way. It’s important to think about why a young person might be seeking attention. Are they receiving enough positive attention from adults? Is there something important they are struggling to communicate to you? Do they need support with developing friendships in the section?

Activity 2

Write a list of 5 challenging behaviours you could encounter in your section. Once you have written your list, think about the causes behind each one and write it down next to your list.
If someone is experiencing boredom, what can we do to ensure the programme is inclusive and interesting? How can we make sure everyone understands?
If someone is struggling to understand something, can we present the information in a different way? Can we have extra people on board to support? Can we check for any differences in how young people in the section learn, and adapt our leadership style to suit them?
If someone is over-excited, can we set clear boundaries before the activity begins? Can we make sure we have a code of conduct in place?

Managing behaviour

One way YLs can provide a positive environment is by creating a Code of Conduct in partnership with their section. A Code of Conduct is not just a list of rules for young people to follow. It can include rules for the leadership team to follow, too. You should consider how the leadership team should respond if a young person is having a bad day.

Code of Conduct

Watch the video below about code of conduct:


Activity 3

From watching that video, create a code of conduct for either a Beaver, Cub or Scout section.

Further information

There are some useful resources to help you improve your approach to behaviour. These include:
District and Regional/County support
Young person’s previous section leaders
Young person’s parents/Carers

If you ever feel out of your depth when dealing with behaviour then seek the help of an adult leader. As a young leader, you should never be left to deal with challenging behaviour on your own.


Look back at the objectives at the top of this page and see if you think you are confident with each of them. If there are any parts you are unsure of, you can contact your District Explorer Scout Leader (Young Leaders).

You should now complete a witness form and fill it in. Then upload or email your activity evidence to your District’s YL leader.

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls