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Behaviour management in MFL

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

  1. runaway

    runaway New commenter

    Oh dear -I think you might have your HOD in tears if they read that.

    Whatever you think of NC levels they are how your school has chosen to track kids progress and your dept need to all be sharing the SAME criteria. Not making it up.

    I think your priority really needs to be AfL. And you must ask yourself some questions;

    - why do you think we assess children?
    - who do you think we are assessing for?
    - if you were a child in your class, do you know what you are doing? Do you know how you are doing? Do you know how to get better? RIGHT THE WAY THROUGH THE LESSON EVERY LESSON?

    -How would you feel personally if you were learning say Polish and you hadn't any idea to the answers of the questions above? Would you trust your teacher as a result?

    - If your school has decided to go for a whole school approach to learning objectives and they are not working - what are you going to do about it? What could you do to make them work?
    - Are you breaking down learning into small achievable steps? If they are small enough could these become your learning objectives?

    Come on Lissadler - it's not rocket science and you know you can do this.
  2. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    No, it's not rocket science, but it's the complete opposite of what I was trained to do, which was to use target language as much as possible and to get pupils talking and communicating with role plays, pair work etc. If I were learning Polish I'd want to learn as much vocabulary and as many new structures as possible in every lesson, and I'd want to revise them regularly so that they stick, rather than slip back out of my mind once learnt. And I'd want to practise the structures and the vocabulary until they're completely secure. And I'd like the teacher to find out where I'm going wrong so that s/he can help me get better. Or help me figure out for myself where I'm going wrong.
    I don't think I'm making the levels up, by the way - I do look at the descriptors to find whether I've described the pupils fairly. Their levels are bound to vary from one piece of work to the next, and if I raise them by too many sublevels this time, I won't have anywhere to go in 6 weeks' time, and then they'll think they haven't progressed next time round.
  3. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    I tend to use the LOs from the textbook.
  4. runaway

    runaway New commenter

    Right and is that working? Clearly not! That's why you are advised constantly not to slavishly follow the textbook - you see the class, you understand the class, the book is just a book and the person who wrote it never has and never will see your class.

    "And I'd like the teacher to find out where I'm going wrong so that s/he can help me get better. Or help me figure out for myself where I'm going wrong."
    Exactly - and are you doing that? If you are then you don't have a problem do you?

    Sublevels have to be agreed by whole dept and stuck to. How are kids (ie non linguists, ie you are a linguist they are not, at least not yet) going to understand their own progress if you can't find a way to explain it to them? If you don't understand the NC levels and are not able to explain/describe their progress in these terms then for goodness sake use something else but you must all use the same - otherwise how is that fair from one class/teacher to another?
  5. runaway

    runaway New commenter

    No it isn't the opposite of your training either -it's taking it to the next level. No one said anything about dropping the target language or the role plays or anything else. Do all of those just as normal.
    Please please please go ask your HOD for some AfL training. Your life will become much much easier.
  6. I ALWAYS have the date, the title of the lesson and the learning objective displayed on the board ready for when the children come in the room - usually on the first page of the flipchart if I'm using one or on a small board if not. The pupils are into the routine of collecting their books from the front of the room and writing the information on the board into their books. They need little prompting and it's a great settler. Children need clear structure and routine - the fact that they automatically write the objective if you give one means that someone else has obviously trained them to do it and they are looking for it.

    How can you plan a lesson if you don't know what you are aiming to teach them? And how will the pupils know what they are supposed to be heading towards. The LOs need to be tailored to each class, not just what's in the text book. It might be that an objective is to work well as a group or improve their listening skills.

    Writing that a pupil has achieved the objective lets you and them know they're heading in the right direction. As has already been said, you need to get some AfL training - quite frankly I'm amazed you've got this far without it!
  7. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    With MFL still being Topic based, the NC levels are of little use anyway. A pupil might get to Level 4c in one topic and be back at a much lower level when starting the next topic, with learning new vocabulary as the first challenge.
    When I was an MFL learner, we progressed week on week with more complex language issues (grammar!) and learning vocabulary was something we did at home. We weren't even drilled in saying new words as our early introduction to the language included intensive work on pronunciation, after which we were set up for being able to say any new word correctly, without assistance (even taking dictation in French and using our grammar knowledge to spell words correctly).
    Nowadays pupils are confined to the same level of difficulty for months on end, with each topic involving the repetition of things like 'I like / I love / I hate / I prefer / I would like'. It's difficult for them to show any progress.
    When I attend training courses (not just for MFL) I have discovered that most teachers will confess to a complete disrespect for NC levels. One group of teachers agreed that some staff are too meticulous about levelling work and allow it to dominate their working lives. The concensus has been that it's much easier if you just 'play the game' and make sure that the paperwork shows that pupils have progressed under your tutelage. To do this, you look at the level they achieved the previous year and you adjust it upwards. When you know that pupils are dropping the subject after YR9, you can be as creative as you like (dare) with their NC level!
    Levelling individual pieces of work is a nonsense as the task will only have elements of a particular level and just because the pupil has produced an average piece of work does not mean that they have achieved that level. If the school/ department insist on teachers levelling on such a regular basis, teachers are entitled to 'play the game' and generate the ridiculous flood of data that SMT demand.
    I re-trained for Maths some years ago and the LA trainer/advisor agreed that school are applying NC levels wrongly. Her advice ( on regular NC levelling and on LOs )was that you have to do what the school asks but that it was a crying shame that this culture has developed in education. She said that her colleagues in the LA would regularly report on how their children had achieved level 4a, 5 c etc in various subjects and she felt the need to remind them that no such levels existed and that until the end of a Key Stage everyone was just working on the Level above their last key Stage assessment!
  8. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    I take my NC levels from the textbook - if they achieve 7/10 on a level 5 exercise, then they're level 5. And I can subdivide that into 5c, b or a depending on whether they only managed to get there, or whether they got there comfortably.
    The problem I have is that the textbook caters for levels 3-5, whereas the pupils should now all be on level 5, and aiming towards level 6. My colleagues get round that by concentrating on Writing Assessments, whereas I do Listening, Reading and Writing Assessments.
    You're right of course, runaway, I should be liaising and moderating more - but my only German colleague is already retired and just coming back part-time on a supply basis. She does pass her writing tests onto me, but they rarely contain what I've covered, and sometimes she's even on a completely different chapter.
    I agree with jubilee on the NC levels, but I'm happy to have a go and level everything to keep my school and my pupils happy. But it's a very different perspective on teaching, compared to my young colleagues who haven't known a life without NC levels.
  9. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    I'd quite like to do that: do lots of stuff on pronunciation, so that pupils just know how to pronounce any new words. I haven't got round to working out how to do that yet. There's a sheet in Echo 2 Chapter 3 with some tongue twisters which I did attempt to cover - with moderate success. I find that some of my beginners just 'know' how to pronounce everything, whereas others don't have a clue. Yet they've had the same teaching.
    I still believe that the more the pupils USE the language, the more they progress.
  10. This is a soothing piece of advice. Thank You
  11. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    That sums it up very nicely indeed.

  12. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Sorry - I've only just seen the posts about LOs and AfL. It'll give me something to chew on. Not having had the training I don't know what I'm missing I suppose.... I'll ask.....
    LO's are fine if I'm starting a new topic - e.g. 'Learn the parts of the body in German'. But what if I want to go over the pluperfect tense with year 11 (because that's what I was covering last lesson, and I want to assess how well they've understood it, plus I want to refresh their memories), and then I want to move onto a different topic - let's say, Free Time, and I'm also returning a homework that requires feedback - then the lesson becomes a lot more 'bitty'. I appreciate it's not ideal, but in the time I have available I can't always manage to prepare 'the perfect lesson'. I never walk into any lesson unprepared, but I certainly do many lessons 'by the textbook'. My fault for going back to work when I've got a family to look after I suppose. (I shouldn't be spending so much time on this forum either, but it makes me feel better to communicate with others).
  13. runaway

    runaway New commenter

    Then you have several LO's for the lesson. Really don't see what your problem is. Your LO is simply sharing with the kids what you want them to get out of the lesson. It's not a title. And nothing wrong with having different LOs for different students if that's how YOU want to do it. They are there so you can check at the end if everyone achieved them (in your opinion and in their opinion and try to spot if there is a difference of opinions) and if not what will happen next/needs refining etc.
    Please try to stop beating yourself and try to be a tiny bit more positive about your own ability to lead a class. Instead of fighting it try to see how you can get the system to work for you. :0)
  14. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    I need to observe other people's lessons so that I can see how they do it, instead of worrying about whether I'm doing everything wrong. And I need to leave more time at the end of lessons to check on LOs achieved. I do quite often ask teach pupil to say a German sentence as they walk out of the lesson, or to tell their partner all the words they've remembered from the lesson before they walk out - but all those good things depend on the rest of the lesson having gone well, with the timing right, not too many pieces of hwk outstanding etc.
  15. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Thanks, everyone. I didn't have a bad week - felt like I'm getting my confidence back. The 2 year 8 classes are quite enjoying the new topic (parts of the body), and when I told them I was doing their behaviour grades during the week, most of them settled down and worked well. A couple of absences also worked in my favour.
    But why did a member of SMT walk into my lesson for three days in a row??? Just to stand in the back for 10 minutes and then walk out again? (Well, and, on one occasion, request to see pupils' exercise books, and then to tell me off because they hadn't been marked according to the school marking policy? And on another occasion to shout at a pupil who hadn't taken his coat off and I hadn't noticed?)
    3 months ago I would have thought they'd come to support me, but now I'm more inclined to think that my classes have been too noisy and unruly again, and that I'm generally not up to scratch and they've come to look for evidence against me.
    I'm sad I got told off about the marking because I had tried really hard to keep up to date and to follow the policy - I think I was unlucky with the particular books that they saw. And just towards the end of term I'd been so tired that I sometimes just ticked and wrote 'well done' instead of putting a NC level and a WWW and a EBI, like I'm supposed to.
    I'm jst really pleased to be on holiday now. Although my hwk from that deputy head is to mark all my exercise books properly by the beginning of term 4. Well, tough, it was too late to take them all in.

  16. rosered27

    rosered27 New commenter

    Have you tried "golden time" at the end of their last lesson each week? The idea is to reward positive behaviour. And if they do not behave positively, they cannot be rewarded. Takes the punishment out a bit and has worked for me.
  17. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Thank you, rosered. I was called into the deputy head's office today to be told that some parents have complained about behaviour in some of my lessons (two of my Year 8 and one of my Year 9), and therefore I've been invited to a formal interview next Tuesday which is going to start some sort of 'extra support' (capability proceedings?) which is going to last for 1 month and is going to address 'aspects of my teaching which need improving'. I was given a big document and a letter which I haven't spent too much time looking at because it would depress me too much.
    I asked for more details and was told that all in all 6 parents complained, about half of them in Year 9. They didn't complain in writing, it was just some sort of 'open door' surgery thing where parents are allowed to come and chat and they raised these concerns.
    They didn't tell me who complained, I'd just love to know who is unhappy in my year 9 class. I know my teaching hasn't been good in Year 8, but I really don't think it's fair to say that my year 9 classes are too noisy and therefore it's hard to concentrate - or whatever these parents said. Most kids are working really well in that class, and although there are a few characters who like to wind me up and I've been setting detentions on a regular basis, we do get lots of work done.
    I think what I could do with is having the persistent offenders put on departmental monitoring - maybe 5-7 kids in each year 8 class, and 2 in Year 9. That's work for my HOD (who hasn't been in since half term because her baby is ill), but that would actually make a difference. At the moment it's just me setting lots and lots of detentions, and the kids mostly don't care as long as they still get to mess about and avoid work. I don't know if that's the kind of support they're thinking of giving me - I think they're more thinking of me doing more observation or training. I'm just wondering where I'm meant to get all that extra time from that this is going to take? When I'm already working flat out (except when on this forum)?

  18. Try not to worry too much, I find that often enough people observing you are either fair and will try to help or they will realise how challenging the class really is and will not dare to challenge you that much as really it is their job to support you.
    Keep going and don'tgive up. It does get easier.
  19. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Thank you! Feeling better already.
  20. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    The 'problem' is that as soon as I get observed they all behave perfectly because they don't like being on display. So nobody really knows what's going on, other than me and the pupils. I suppose it would be worse if they messed about even with other people in the room.
    I had a student teacher observe my Year 9 last lesson before the holiday (Friday period 5 - discussing the differences between the past, present and future tenses!), and I thought she'd see them messing about, but they were quite good even with her there! :) (Maybe they didn't know who she was?....)

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