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A whole class refusal

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by MissyICT, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. MissyICT

    MissyICT New commenter

    I have taken over a y10 class as one of our teachers has had to retire unexpectedly. It's a y10 class and it's science. I mostly get them last lesson and I have a plethora of issues. Mass refusal to listen, to open books or do anywork. 4 who do nothing and tell me they never do anything. Swearing, ripping pages out of the book, destroying work sheets etc. I have tried doing practicals but it's dangerous with them. I have done games, worksheets, board work, card sorts ordering games, fill in the blanks etc

    I know the last teacher was tired at the end and I want these children to get some success.

    What can I do next? How to get them on side.

  2. Ask them what they like. Be interested in them. Find out what interests them. What kind of music they like, what their favorite things are and try to incorporate this information into your lessons. If they are interested in some aspect of the lesson they will be much more likely to pay attention to the other parts that maybe don't have an much to do with what got them interested.


    (this is completely hypothetical and probably not a good example but you will get the point)

    Say you're a 5th grade health teacher and right now you're teaching the names of bones in the skeleton. You find out the class really enjoys the show Hanna Montana. There is a song that Hannah Montana made up in the show to help her remember the bones for her health class. Open your lesson with this song to get the kids hooked and go from there.
  3. Primarysevensix

    Primarysevensix New commenter

    Sounds awful. You can't deal with this on your own. Ask for help from your head of department, or SLT.
  4. olderandwiser

    olderandwiser Occasional commenter

    Agreed. You won't solve this on your own although this sounds like a sink class so you won't solve it at all. Still, best go through the motions, read up on the behaviour policy so no one can accuse you of not following it, raise it in departmental meetings and get it documented what the problem is, what you've tried, what you want and what you are promised / advice, get SENCO involved, tutors, SLT, the milkman etc. Seriously, it won't make any difference but you have to show willing.
  5. apeace2012

    apeace2012 New commenter

    I find that it is more useful to make sure that the class understands that it is the teacher that sets the standards for behaviour and how the classroom should operate. First make sure there is some basic discipline.

    Step 1: Seating plan must be in place. Be brutal, accept no compromises from anyone that says "I can't, sit next to ______ because .....". If this happens tell them that you need a note from their Head of year of a member of SLT saying this is true before you will change the seating plan. Do not allow them to get a note in lesson time, tell them that they need to arrange this in their own time if it is that important to them.

    If there is small scale refusal give them a time scale (e.g. A countdown from 5) to follow your instructions. If they still don't after the countdown give them a warning and count down from 5 again, escalating the consequence every time they refuse. If any Mass refusal occurs, call for a member of SLT to supervise while you implement the seating plan.

    Step 2: Spend 20-30 minutes outlining your expectations in the classroom using no more than 3- 5 clear rules, and consequences that will occur for breaking these rules the 1st, 2nd and 3rd time in a lesson (Any more should get SLT/ Whoever is on Callout involved). If members of the class do give you a chance to do this. Implement your policy straight away, they can find out the hard way.

    If there is too much general noise that you can't keep track of who is and isn't doing the right thing start adding minutes on the board for wasted time. Most schools in the UK have a policy of allowing you to keep students in for 10 minutes after the lesson ends at the end of the day without notifying parents. Use this. I use a timer to see if they can serve the detention properly. I stop the time every time I hear noise and then start it again when silence returns. If they accrue more than 10 minutes or don’t work of the detention fully in the 10 minutes after the lesson. I make it very clear that they “still owe me 5 minutes next time” for example.

    Finally don’t forget this:

    1. Make sure you follow the school’s reward system for any student and I mean any student that behaves well in this class from day 1.

    2. If a student makes a joke you find funny and it is not at the expense of anyone, don’t forget to laugh. It shows you are human.

    3. Don’t forget to apologise to them if you make small mistakes for example like I have in the past, borrowing their pen and not giving it back to them. Or they put their hand up to ask for help but it takes quite a while for you to respond. It shows that you are not perfect and therefore human.
  6. re

    re New commenter

    Don't even think about getting them on your side. Your job is to get them learning. Their behaviour is preventing that. I am certain that all students like to learn. There is a pack mentality going on here preventing that and your task is to change this attitude. It is not to persuade or make them enjoy. Perhaps this class contributed to the previous teacher's early retirement. Certainly sounds like it.

    I agree with olderandwiser. You will need to enlist the help of others - pastoral heads, HoD etc. Make yourself a pain. Keep punishing poor behaviour in line with school policy. Accelerate if they don't respond.

    Keep up with it. Be consistent but fair. Reward good behaviour. Take charge. Do not take BennyRose's advice - they will only see this as weakness.
  7. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    I have found that when no-one wants to sit next to X it is because X is a vile pupil. X will sometimes start fights, stab other in the leg, smack them in the face with a book. In the past I have made X and Y and Z take it in turns to share my desk with me. One day Y had a revolting brown stain around his lips and I spent the afternoon wondering just what he had been consuming. No wonder no-one wanted to sit with him.

    I think we have all met the class whose previous teacher retired suddenly. They then usually have a succession of teachers who can't wait to see the back of them. One such retiree, that I know, began teaching in a different, better, school within 3 months. Says it all really.

    Waste of time doing any fun activities or being nice to them. Be strict, enforce all sanctions, including parents, if necessary. Although there is always the chance the parents aren't bothered.

    Count the days until July
  8. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    UK schools are full of year 10 classes in all subjects just like the one you describe. Older and Wiser is correct: you won't be able to do this on your own and will need support from head of department or other senior member of staff.

    Take apeace's advice which is sound - go in firm which is different to harsh. Have your seating plan and on the day you implement it, have another adult in the room so you can have support if needed. This class has been allowed to run things, and now you have to step up to the plate and lead them.

    As suggested explain the rules to them and I would suggest these three:

    1. Follow instructions fast

    2. Stay on task

    3. Work without disturbing others

    Follow the school's policy for misbehaviour which is usually a verbal warning, a written warning in their planner, and if they continue after that, have them removed if possible.

    Don't whatever you do, use ticks on the board for that just creates a game and an audience.

    This is year 10 almost year 11, so they need to focus on preparing for their exams.

    I would give them booklets to work through with all the topics that they need to cover for their exams, so they know where there strengths and weaknesses are. When they show you that they can behave, THEN treat them to a fun lesson or a practical. If they REALLY behave, perhaps treat them to a day out somewhere connected to a topic you are studying.

    Also, I would make each student attend an interview with you with their parents to let them know where they are at this point with their studies and let ALL the parents know that things in YOUR classroom are going now to be different. . Give out a scientist of the week award or something similar if you think it appropriate. Post cards home also work well.

    If the school will not support you, find another place that will.

    You are definitely up against it, but if you get the right support from the school, you will be able to turn it around.

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