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B Placement Behaviour

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Tom_Bennett, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Hi there. As I'm sure you've learned, one of the key qualities you need on a GTP is tenacity (and possibly skin like cured leather). Learning on the hoof must be extremely taxing, and it's great that you're taking such a reflective attitude to your practise. I'd make the following points/ observations:
    • The shout/ boom/ bang approach to behaviour management is a dead-end. Sure, it might get their attention momentarily, and it might make a few of them flinch for a second, but after a moment or two many kids just shrug and go, 'Is that all you've got?' Because shouting at them is a tacit implication that you're just about to attack them in some way (don't blame me, blame anthropology). And if you don't back up the Big Noise with the Big Action, they see that you're all hot air and bluster, full of sound and fury. Then they get back to scratching their names in the school silver with a protractor.If you have something to communicate to them, you can do it perfectly well with a normal voice- maybe just a touch above conversation level to reach the back of the room. Don't attack them, though...
    • It sounds like your school suffers from inconsistency; and if the kids know that threats never get followed up, then many of them will choose to do as they please. That's just the nature of some kids, particularly in challenging schools. In such a situation, you are further handicapped by your relative newness to them- you haven't built up the relationship of authority with them yet, plus they know/ suspect that you won't be round long enough to measurably impact their lives. So a double challenge.
    • The best thing you can do is to follow the school system as closely as you can, and then escalate the sanctions up the structural hierarchy as much as you can. You can try to encourage this by speaking directly to the people responsible for escalated discipline and ask them exactly what's being done about pupil x, and when. Get them to be specific. Ask their advice, and if they suggest a strategy, try it. If it doesn't work, go back to them and tell them, and then ask them what you should do next. I'm afraid that this might involve quite a bit of gentle 'managing upwards', i.e. making sure your line managers are doing what the school system expects. Sometimes this happens because they are overworked themselves, so be understanding of others. But also be demanding, at least as far as the school system goes. It only works when people make it work.
    • Of course, you can also apply your own sanctions, etc: phone calls home, lunch time detentions etc can all be done by yourself. It's only when they fail that you need the whole school to muck in, and in a meaningful way, not just everyone piling in from the corridor (which sounds fabulous, incidentally). 50% (exactly: it's like maths) of behaviour management is done outside the classroom.
    Finally, if the structure is still unsupportive, you only have so long to go before the placement ends.
    Good luck, and keep hanging on!

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