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Am I just cynical or what? Do SMT use lesson observation to head off complaints about poor behaviour?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by will o the wisp, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. I think this is a very good piece of advice.
    Also if your observer suggests doing exactly the opposite then I'd try and avoid being observed by them in the future.
  2. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    Well said.

  3. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    What do you think the odds of this are? I'd put my money on "selective ignoring" being suggested along with some changes to the lesson plan to make it more engaging. "Listening to their opinion" or similar might also put in an appearance.
  4. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    This discussion seems to be boiling down to differences of approach. I believe teachers use different approaches to classroom management based on their personal styles, the schools they have taught in, the management they have worked with and a host of other factors. if you have worked in schools which offer no support in the classroom, characterised by the "students dont misbehave in well-planned lessons" war cry, then a teacher must adopt a different approach from a teacher who works in a very supportive school. I have seen some excellent advice given on this forum to teachers who have rubbish managers who wont get off their$rses and give practical assistance. The very fact that this advice needs to be given indicates strongly that rubbish school management exists. It would be very foolish to believe that rubbish school management does not exist.
    ====================================New paragraph=========================================

    On the whole, in my experience I have found that difficult classes dont respond to the whole "build a relationship..." stuff. In my experience order needs to be established before any kind of learning environment can be created. Order isnt established by congratulating students for getting a pen out. Sometimes I have had management help with establishing that order, mostly I have not. So my classroom management style is go in hard, establish my expectations, consistently apply sanctions and once it is all going smoothly I then get to be a nice guy. Sometimes this process takes one or two lessons, sometimes it takes months, it depends on the students and the management. I now fully understand the value of the "never smile till christmas" advice I was given in my first school. I have learned strategies that I can apply through experimentation. Some were miserable failures. But now I have a set of strategies which I can apply and which seem to work for me. These strategies would not work for everybody. So I have learned to respect strategies which work for other people. Experience allows me to recognise strategies which would not work for me.
    ============================================new paragraph ===========================

    I believe that the teacher needs to be the boss in a class. Students must be clear about their responsibilities in a classroom. Sanctions must be applied consistently across the whole school. Management should be skewered and roasted over an open fire if they say that good lessons mean good behaviour. Praise, once order has been established, is my most powerful method of "control". Students know I really mean it when I praise them or their work.
    ==============================================new paragraph ============================

    I also believe that without proper management assistance some classes are unteachable. I have seen the illness, depression and despair caused by rubbish or simply vindictive management and I live for the day that some of those bar stewards get jailed for the damage they deliberately cause.
  5. Tom, Big kid, Mr Leonard, Gatarsoon,

    Thank you all for your words of comfort and sensible advice.

    I admit to spending longer on planning and resource making than is truly sensible considering the hours that I teach (0.5) but I find that aspect creative and don't begruge the time (mostly).

    I have talked to my colleagues in depth in the last few days,and while I am still uncertain whether Senior Management will support me (consensus in the staff room appears to be that I should not hold my breath....) at least I now feel a trouble shared is a trouble.... well, shared.[​IMG]

    With reference to the free use of emoticons......James T.E.S.- I'm not affected either - but you are rude![​IMG]
  6. Begrudge ! Hate making typos!
  7. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    Call me a polly anna, but it just might be that your observation will allow SLT to observe the group dynamics at first hand. Yes there maybe something you could do, but I personally have been in the position of having an 'unsatisfactory' lesson in my NQT year which was entirely due to the class regarding me as fair sport and totally understanding that I was being observed. My mentor apologised to me saying that as learning hadn't taken place for x numbers of students etc etc. However it was reported that I was using x amount of strategies etc and the little blighters were dealt with. Yes they may use lesson observations to head off complaints about poor behaviour but it can be done to good effect. If the SLT member reads out verbatim extracts from the observation to a parent it can have miraculous effects.

  8. baitranger

    baitranger Senior commenter

    I think it's a bad idea to blame the lesson content or lesson organisation for bad behaviour.

    The responsibility for the bad behaviour lies with the children who are behaving badly.
    The OP went to the head with a disciplinary matter regarding badly behaved children and came away with a feeling that she might be blamed for the bad behaviour.
    Boring lesson : bad behaviour the fault of the teacher for not engaging the children's interests sufficiently.
    Very lively,interesting lesson: bad behaviour fault of the teacher for making the lesson too involved.
    So she can't win.In my humble opinion, the head could have assured the OP that the behaviour would be dealt with straight away.
  9. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    It's not a question of blame. From a simple practical point of view it is far easier to deal with poor behaviour if you are trying to less in your lesson than if you are trying to do more.
    I agree. Sadly managements and OFSTED do not always acknowledge this.
    and this is wrong. It is poor, weak management. However the question is what can the OP do about it? Do you have any suggestions?
    The head could have done many things. It is quite possible that she can't win. However there are practical things the OP could do to improve behaviour. That, surely, is how you attempt to win.

  10. baitranger

    baitranger Senior commenter

    It sounds as if she has done what she can. As the OP puts it, the root of the issue is:
    "They think they can get away with it".
    They may think this because, as the OP says, she's part time and not there to ensure sanctions are enforced. A teacher is not meant to be entirely alone in enforcing discipline and in my opinion she ought to be able to rely on the head to make sure it is enforced and the children aren't left with a feeling that they can get away with it.
  11. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    In my opinion what is meant to happen (or not) and what people ought to do or be able to do is fairly irrelevant if these things are not happening. The world is how it is not how it ought to be.
    I sympathise with the OP. I have been in the same position before. However given an absence of support the OP still needs to find ways to improve the situation. My sympathy won't do that. However the advice that I gave that worked for me in a similar situation might.
    If the headteacher won't support the OP with behaviour then the pupils will continue to think they can get away with it unless the OP changes something. The pupils are not going to change their behaviour on their own out of the kindness of their hearts.
  12. baitranger

    baitranger Senior commenter

    I agree that there seems to be a lack of
    support. Whether she should simplify her lessons so that she can
    concentrate on the behaviour of the two troublemakers may prove to be a
    risky strategy, creating more problems than it solves.We know that the
    other pupils are generally well behaved: "most of the class lovely most of the time- but these two characters very draining." and like her lessons. She tells us that there are 30 in the class, including eight SEN children.
    Her lessons are successful in engaging the vast majority of the class and to change them in the hope of improving the behaviour of just two children-presumably by giving them more attention-could result in many children disliking the sudden change and acting up.
    There is also the issue of whether just two troublemakers should dictate the organisation of her teaching.
  13. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    If its only two troublemakers then there is a chance to manage the situation. I would isolate the troublemakers, make them sit on their own if possible. They get simple worksheets and rigid application of behaviour rules until they show they can follow instructions and behave in a civilised manner. I would try hard not to send them out of class, instead publicly punish every single transgression. In the past I have taken a break time to get a troublemaker to read and sign a behaviour contract which states clearly, in childspeak, what their responsibilities as a student are. Sometimes it worked. First establish order.
  14. baitranger

    baitranger Senior commenter

    I got the impression that that suggestion may not be easy to put into practice without substantial support.The OP tells us that the two children are badly behaved with other members of staff too:"they, for their many reasons (poor parenting, deprivation, broken homes etc etc etc) behave very badly to many members of staff". My suggestion would be for the OP to meet with those members of staff and then jointly ask the head to take meaningful disciplinary action. I realise that this may not be easy to achieve but I think there is a danger that the OP will be blamed no matter how good her teaching is.
  15. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    Good advice
    Sadly this is very true
  16. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    dear baitranger,
    In the past I have had to work without management assistance and this was one strategy that sometimes worked for me.
    Sometimes I would make deals with other teachers to take my troublemakers one lesson and I would take theirs another lesson. I found that year 11 nutcases go quiet when sitting in a year 7 art lesson and are presented with play-do and string. Alternatively year 7 nutters get intimidated when siting in a year 11 class. It worked for me and was completely without the knowledge of management. If management already are refusing to get involved, approaching the head in a mob will only further alienate the OP from management. If management were in the slightest interested in helping they would already be helping. They dont want to help and going above their head will, in my experience, result in competency proceedings , finding fault with the tiniest details of lessons, stress anxiety and usually depression. Management have the power and they will use it with ruthless effect.
  17. baitranger

    baitranger Senior commenter

    Dear Qatarsoon,
    It sounds like a good idea, but a few questions arise.
    What would happen if there were an accident involving one of the transferred children, or if one of them caused an incident that involved other staff? Wouldn't you be asked whether you had cleared the timetable changes with your HOD?
    What would happen if the school secretary came looking for one of the temporarily transferred children?
    Suppose they don't become as docile as hoped and they cause disruption to other teachers' lessons?

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