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Behaviour management in MFL

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by musiclover1, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    You could also drip-feed them information about the country with lists of rivers, regions, cities etc on the board and they have to try to memorise as much as they can for a recall 'test' at the end of the lesson. eventually you can use that information in other starters (anagrams or odd one out again).
     
  2. whapbapboogy

    whapbapboogy New commenter

    well, you are just starting outm, you need to trial doing starters on worksheets as well as from books. If they moan, tell them the truth- that you have discussed effective starters with MFL colleagues from other schools, with a view to ensuring your starters as as effective as possible in your lessons with your students, and you are trialling different , tried- and tested approaches.
    You say they took ages with the TMP and past participle placing- I suggest do the first one or two as an example, and recap the TMP / participle rule before they start. Every class needs reminding of grammar before they launch into it again after a gap- if you are sure they know it, turn it around, get them to tell you- before we begin, who can remind the class about the word order rule we looked at last lesson?
    If it is a class that dribbles in and the behaviour/talking is an issue, have the TMP rule (for example) written on the board above the ex.
    The first part of the starter could be an explanation:
    complete the sentence:
    In German, if you a time, a manner and a place in one sentence, you.....

    . The macho thing, more fool them. All you have to do is train them and show them that they will just keep getting DTs from you if they treat you with less respect than other teachers.
    Regarding your comment about detentions and talking to/with them- I agree with you- I always use detentions as an opportunity to discuss with the child what the problem is/to develop a relationship with the kid. You do have to establish that the kid knows why and accepts as reasonable the reason he got a DT from you. I would only make the kid sit there in stony silence doing hw/ sharpening my pencils if the kid was showing me disresepct/had a belligerent attitude.
     
  3. runaway

    runaway New commenter

    Firstly well done on all your hard work and hanging in there.

    Just a quick answer to your query about getting 'satisfactory' in your subject knowledge when you are a native speaker. Your subject knowledge is not your knowledge of the language -it's your knowledge of HOW ENGLISH children LEARN/Acquire the target language, how well you can predict what they will find tricky/easier due to the nuances/experience of their own mother tongue, how to facilitate and spot knowledge gaps in the students etc. in other words it's your knowledge of how a language is learnt by English students that is your subject knowledge - not your own mastery of a languages at all. (Similarlybeing a Doctor of Physics does not give you outstanding subject knowledge in science - its your knowledge of how children learn scientific skills that is your subject knowledge)
    Hope this helps.
     
  4. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Thank you, runaway, and fair enough. And I actually find those things that you mention quite difficult, due to being a native speaker, even after 6 years of teaching (and 10 years of career break). Still, after all that effort, it would be nice to be more than satisfactory. I'd like to be 'good', so that I can feel I'm not wasting my time - not just blocking a desirable post that could otherwise be filled by somebody more competent than me.
     
  5. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    So, jubilee, I'm being too soft, yes? I've invigilated these listening exams for years, and I haven't had this problem before (not that I can remember in any case, or not to such an extent that it's bothered me). The problem is, I either allow no questions, which seems a bit mean, or I answer some people's questions, which is then regarded as unfair. I explain the work, and I end up with 10 hands up for questions. It happens all the time, not just in tests, but in tests it's particularly bad. And before asking them what they want you can't know whether they're about to keel over and die, need the toilet, have got the wrong test paper, their finger is bleeding, their pen is broken, they're unsure which language to answer in, are unsure what the picture on exercise 3b means (you know those typical matching exercises where the pictures aren't necessarily very clear), whether their friend has just poked them or whether they just want to ask something I've already explained when they weren't listening. I've spoken to a colleague recently about this class who also finds them challenging but has taught them since year 7 and is now getting somewhere - she said 'they just can't listen'. There's one boy in one of the two year 8 classes, he's not special needs, not particularly incapable of behaving, but he just loves to hear himself talk, I think. In a normal lesson, I explain a simple pair work exercise, and then I say (like I used to do in my girls' grammar and like I was taught on teacher training): 'I want no English for the next 2 minutes, therefore, if you have any questions, ask them now'. And I swear, this boy will put his hand up and say: Actually, Miss, I have three questions.' I mostly avoid this problem now by letting everyone start and then answering individual questions.
     
  6. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I suspect that they're not bombarding you with questions out of curiosity or confusion but as a time-wasting exercise!
    They'd rather spend time asking needless questions than be doing the test.
    If the test only takes 15 minutes, they know that you'll have other work to fill up the lesson, so the delaying tactics works as a way of avoiding that extra work.
    The answer sheet should say whether they are to answer in MFL or English.
    They can't ask all those questions (or indeed any questions) in formal examinations, so they need to get used to working things out beforehand.
    i think you need to ditch the strategies that worked fine with academic, committed pupils in your previous Grammar school. You probably had useful questions then and enjoyed answering them and then getting down to the task at hand.
    One startegy that I find works well when pupils are 'taking the mick' with hands up/shouting out/compiling endless questions is to tell them that more time is needed to put them in the picture properly so you'll see them during the lunch break to go over the work again. I bet that all of a sudden they'll tell you that that it's now crystal clear, thank you very much!
    It works with squabbling pupils too, especially those who appeal for you to sort it out. Arrange to see them both in the lunch break to take statements and get to the bottom of their dispute and they'll suddenly be the best of friends and don't need your intervention after all!
     
  7. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Thank you, jubilee! I've always been a gullible sort of teacher.
     
  8. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I don't think it's gullibility! It's being nice and not realising just how manipulative, lazy and 'unlike you' so many pupils are nowadays.
     
  9. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Next time you do any kind of test or even when you introduce a type of exercise that they've not done before, tell them that x,y and z are the instructions and they must make the best of it.
    Anyone who doesn't understand those instructions will be booked into a lunchtime session to be held in two days' time so that they will be up to speed the next time they are confronted with a similar task.
    Tell them that you will select pupils for the extra session based on those who continue to put hands up or call out that they don't understand and also on who made such a mess of the test that it is clear to you that they need extra tuition.
    tell them that at the outset, before giving them any instructions and see if that makes them pipe down and listen properly to your explanation (given no more than twice by you and then getting a pupil/s to recap by repeating the various rules involved). Then down to work!
     
  10. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Thank you. I had such a horrid lesson with them today, and I'm sure the fact that I was really tired didn't help. I did the rest of the test with them (reading and writing) and just ignored their questions and the atmosphere was horrible. Lots of them just sat there with their hands up for ages without actually doing any work (this was the 'better' of my 2 year 8 classes), and loads of times they all started being noisy even though it was the middle of the test. The ADHD child got his name on the board about 5 times and that's not counting the times when I just ignored his off-task behaviour. I'm going to put him on departmental monitoring now because I know he can behave in other people's lessons - I've seen it on observation. I had the whole class back at lunchtime, and then let the quiet ones go straightaway and kept the mouthy ones in for a long time, which meant that I didn't get any lunch myself. My mistake to ask them to come at the beginning of lunchtime and as they had PE beforehand they came in in dribs and drabs, and some of them were naughty enough to have their lunch first. There's just so much to learn.I know I'm not supposed to give class detentions, but with this monitoring that I've been on I don't feel I can let them get away with it when they start talking all at once, and I've seen my Spanish colleague do it when she first came back from maternity leave and they dared to play her up, and they totally respect her and listen to her now. She does the most amazing 'cross face' which shuts them all up - I'm just not up to it.
    Today I wouldn't mind just giving up and staying at home looking after my sick child, but of course I won't, I'll carry on to the end of the year, and then I might give up. At least year 9 were ok, so maybe I can do it but I'm not sure anymore.
     
  11. runaway

    runaway New commenter

    Hang in there lissadler!

    You've answered your own questions if you re-read what you have just posted. That 'cross face'your Spanish colleague does is what managing class behaviour is all about.

    It's a game you see. They are playing at being naughty because that's what children do -you have to play at being the teacher. To win the game you have to NEVER let it get to you. You must play at being angry (but never really lose it inside, coz you know it's just a game right) you must play at setting the most devious and evil and inconvenient sanctions/punishments for non-compliance. You must play being a strict and utterly confidant at all times in control person. Just until the bell goes and the class is empty again.

    Sounds daft? Practise your cross face in the mirror, practise giving the evil eye, practise saying nothing but sending evil killer glare looks and looking extremely irritated but mean too. Practise looking like someone who will get their own back. try to imagine how you want the lesson to go before you go into the classroom. What do you need ready/to hand? What are your expectations? How will you enforce them? What is your emergency back-up plan that will inconvenience them but not you?

    It's not personal so don't make it personal. X
     
  12. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Yes, that's my problem: I just want to be myself instead of putting on a big show. And if I act cross I get cross - and then I get depressed and upset later. Far easier to be nice and patient and to put up with a bit of noise - especially when tired. I'll carry on trying, but sometimes I don't now if I've got it in me. (I've been acting cross all the time with my year 8 recently - then it becomes hard to go back into positive mode - but I've found the 'spin on a penny' advice really worth remembering).
    On top of all that I was told on Friday lunchtime that they're 'phasing out German' from my school. So, no AS level group next year, no Year 7, no year 8 beginners. And the year after that, no year 8 etc. That news will go down a treat with my difficult classes.... I just feel so depressed now: I'm supposed to persuade them that my subject is worth learning and then the school decides that actually, it's not worth learning after all. And this AFTER I invested many many hours advertising my subject at Year 9 Options Evening, at 6th Form Options Evening, at Year 6 Open Day........
     
  13. Like you I returned to teaching after a child care break. Previously I had been HOD and on top of my game. It has taken me a good 5 years to feel happy again in the classroom; so much had changed in terms of technology and teaching and learning strategies. I'd never heard of the term "starter". I had to learn a new set of rules. I spent the first two years mourning my OHP! I am now in a lovely school where I feel supported and cherished. Follow the advice you are given and work through the pain barrier.


     
  14. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Thank you,KattyKathrin! So, what do I need to learn that will make me feel confident again, do you think? Is it NC levels or Assessment for Learning, or Peer Assessment, or IWB, or all of these?
    Which of these will make my lessons better?
    And which of these will give the pupils the idea that I know what I'm doing?
    Because I think it's not just about lesson quality, I think it's also about giving the pupils what they're used to. I think I confuse them sometimes because I'm not like the other teachers. For example I don't give them a speech about how to get to the next NC level every time I set a piece of work. And I give them written tests that they haven't practised for, whereas I think the other teachers tell them exactly what they're going to be asked and let them do a draft beforehand, so that they can get level x or whatever.
    That huge disagreement that I had with my year 8 classes about asking questions in tests was partly due to that, I think.
     
  15. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    I'm going to do more observations to get to the bottom of this, I think. My colleagues are all really good teachers, so I can learn from them (if I take the time, rather than getting side-tracked by all the work).
     
  16. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I think you've just described what is otherwise known as 'dumbing down' in education!
    It drives me nuts when everyone gets so hung up on NC levels. Individual pieces of work can never be allocated to an NC level. We are supposed to be looking at a pupil's body of work over an entire Key Stage in order to work out, retrospectively, what they have achieved. Instead we have invented sub-levels and inordinate time spent on talking about NC levels at the expense of teaching and learning! Progress should follow from pupils simply concentrating, listening, following instructions, learning vocabulary and grammar points etc and that shouldn't need to be explained in every lesson!
    Does it bother you that a piece of work that happens to include a tense other than the Present tense is automatically graded as a Level 4, even if the future tense or past tense included was a teacher given phrase and the pupil wouldn't know a verb, never mind a tense or a conjugation, if their life depended on it?
    In my opinion, there is no greater degree of dificulty in a pupil writing (in MFL) ' I listen to music' and ' I listened to music', yet we are expected to credit the latter sentence as being a stepping stone to a higher NC grade.
     
  17. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I was covering an MFL lesson last week and there was a starter of groups of words with an Odd One Out to be selected and explained, followed by several exercises using comparatives. The work was clearly explained in the text book and by my presentation, with examples done orally and on the board.
    One pupil seemed unable to start the work as they hadn't been told what the Learning Objective was! When you're being told to make statements about one item of clothing being bigger than / smaller than/ more expensive than or less expensive than another item of clothing, isn't it obvious what you will be learning?
     
  18. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Yes - that's what I mean. It's hard for me to put myself in their shoes and I confuse them by not always remembering to have Learning Objectives. Or I have a learning objective and I 'm surprised when everyone immediately goes and writes it in their exercise book, underlining it with a ruler. But that's what they've been doing all their lives and it gives them a sense of security and purpose.
    I've got my own kids at primary school, and they always have an LO at the top of each piece of work, and at the bottom the teacher marks 'LO achieved'. I find it hard to make my lessons as cut and dried as that - my LOs stretch over several lessons at times. And LO's can't always be achieved by doing a piece of writing because the ultimate goal is to become fluent in the language - to internalise it.
     
  19. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    I'm not allowed to think like that about NC levels. I have to give each piece of work a level, and I have to give each pupil a level once a term and type it into the computer system. After those disastrous (behaviour-wise) tests last week I managed to give each of my 60 year 8 pupils a level in Reading, a level in Listening, and a level in Writing (not to mention my year 7 and my beginner year 8, who were also doing tests) - but the pupils were still not happy because they wanted to know what their overall level was. And they were also disappointed because my levels are lower than the ones that their French/Spanish teachers give.
    When typing the levels into the computer I didn't actually look at the tests - I looked at their previous levels and if they'd worked well I graded them up one sub-level, and if they haven't been working well I gave them the same level as before.That way the parents can find out if they're progressing or not.
     
  20. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I find it so unscientific and worthless! Just because a pupil has something in their exercise book that is correct doesn't mean it's their work! In class they're always looking at someone else's work - even getting an exercise book off someone who has finished and copying their work. I can grade someone on their oral work in class but a grade for Reading, Listening and Writing is only valid if you have a room large enough to space them all out for the work to be done in test conditions.
    Homework may not be all their own work either.
     

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