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Behaviour Management techniques.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Findlotte, Nov 17, 2015.

  1. Findlotte

    Findlotte Established commenter

    I'm new to the CS role and haven't received any behaviour strategies other than to follow the schools policy which is 2 verbal warnings, move the student to another seat, offer time-out or remove them via on-call (they receive a detention for this). It probably doesn't help that cover work can be poor or limited or that I'm covering some classes that haven't had a real knowledgeable teacher all term.

    Physically, I'm small and can easily blend into Y11 or 6th form (despite being 7y older than them) so I don't have that "presence" that some teachers have. I'm able to quiet a class down and get on with work, but the noise levels will slowly rise to a loud level. If I ask them to quiet down again, half don't hear me or care. I don't really want to be that teacher who screams and shouts because it shows lack of control (and my voice isn't capable of screech for 6 hours a day).

    If I give verbal warnings or send them out for time-out/move seats, they will move back, or return to the class but will be loud 5 mins later.
    It's not really a problem with Y7/Y8 as they tend to listen and fear the detention route, it's more the older years who are very chatty and produce little work unless I go through it with them/stand over them for the whole hour (not practical in a 30 student class).

    How do you manage classes?
    What are your techniques?
  2. Findlotte

    Findlotte Established commenter

  3. dixonh

    dixonh New commenter

    Positive praise works a lot. Give students a task verbally and also write it on the board. Any students doing the task will have their names on the board. I usually say to students that the person with the most ticks at the end of the lesson receives a positive phone call home and gets to go to break/dinner/home first (if the lesson is before those times).

    I also listen to the Pivotal Podcast which has a lot of ideas about behaviour management. What subject do you teach?
  4. Findlotte

    Findlotte Established commenter

    Any subject across the school. I'm cover.
  5. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Many classes can't do "quiet". You need to enforce silence with them and gradually teach them what quiet, productive work is like. It is hard when they are not a regular class!

    Use the sanctions. Make the seat moves permanent and make it clear that if they move back it will be a no more warnings, straight to being removed from class. Know their names. Direct requests to "Luke! Keiran! I've asked for quiet!" is better than general announcements about the class being noisy.

    Expect to be obeyed. Express through your whole body language the shock and surprise that they have not leapt to your bidding. If you ask them to do something you MUST enforce it (so be careful what you ask for!)

    Never start counting. Never start a sentence with, "If you don't stop X, I will do..." Phrase things as choices. "I have asked you to be quiet. You can choose to do that or you can choose to go down the discipline procedure."

    Praise the good ones and the ones you catch in good behaviour.

    If they aren't working write the time in their jotter next to the last piece of work and tell them you are coming back in five minutes to see what they have done. The shock that a parent or their normal teacher will see how little work they complete often brings some into line. You can extend that process into coming back in ten minutes and I expect you to be here, back in twenty minutes etc.

    None of this is a magic solution. None of it works with every kid. All of it is harder if they have been left meaningless work.
    Quitoon likes this.
  6. Findlotte

    Findlotte Established commenter

    Useful points, thank you!

    I'm trying to learn names and have remembered a few from teaching them several classes (usually the noisy ones). I think the amount of work set and how engaging it is makes a big difference!
  7. midnight_angel

    midnight_angel Senior commenter

    What are your colleagues like, regarding leaving seating plans?
    When I have a planned cover (although not always easy when just calling in sick, because you have been vomiting - as just example - the night before!), I always attach my seating plan to the cover work. This reinforces to my classes that just because I am away, I still expect their normal behaviour (and my standard expectations) to be maintained. It would also help you in learning their names.
  8. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    One school I taught in provided supply staff with a photo sheet of the class - okay, so some of the mugshots aren't that good, but it helped. It might be worth asking.
  9. Findlotte

    Findlotte Established commenter

    Very rarely have a seating plan.
  10. Findlotte

    Findlotte Established commenter

    I have access to Sims so I can see all their mugshots haha it's helps!
  11. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I write numbers on foreheads with an indelible marker. They stop complaining when I reach for my tattoo gun.
    Clive_Candy and Quitoon like this.
  12. Findlotte

    Findlotte Established commenter

    I've been invited to an NQT behaviour management workshop this afternoon so hopefully I learn some tips and tricks there!
  13. Noja

    Noja Senior commenter

    Often it's just a time thing - the longer you are in a school, the better the children behave for you. Just be fair and it will fall into place eventually.
  14. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    First thing to remember is that you are there primarily to keep order. Work on that before fretting about how much work they are doing because unless and until you have order, they won't work. So - insist on a class list if not a seating plan. You will get to know the names of the naughty/noisy/amazingly good ones, and the rest will come in time.

    Don't fall prey to 'our teacher always lets us'.... this is YOUR classroom while you are in charge of it and they can follow YOUR rules. However, pick your battles carefully because you must follow through with sanctions if you threaten them. I always preferred to hold students back if the lesson was just before break/lunch/end of day because why should you have to take detentions? So don't allow any part of the room to be off-limits and don't hide behind the desk. Patrol. Lots. Check the work and answer any questions as best you can.... or refer them to the text book.

    Have clear start and finish routines no matter which class (apart from maybe 6th form and yr 11). I used to make them stand in silence while I greeted them, and invited them to sit down - if they weren't quiet they didn't sit. The rest of the class will tell the noisy ones to shut up quick enough. Ditto at the end of the lesson - get them all standing with chairs tucked in, and then you choose who goes. (Ok doesn't always work as disruptive ones may push their way out, but you can't win them all.)

    When I started and classes wouldn't settle or too many were messing about I would stand them up and line them up in the corridor before letting them in. When you've done that 3 times and wasted 20 minutes of the lesson you may feel you're not doing your job, but next time they will settle quicker because they don't WANT to have to do it again. (And I was quite happy to explain to whichever SLT passed what I was doing and why - usually the class got the rollicking instead of me!).

    Learn ways of padding out the time when there isn't enough work set (which is often, as teachers do a lot of talking so the amount of work got through is always less in their lessons than when kids are working out of texbooks). More on this if you want it, but don't want to make this too long.

    Body language - be confident about yourself and this will convey itself to the kids. They don't need to like you, nor should you care if they do, they just need to do what they're told. Disputes about your authority? Offer to explain it to them at length at the end of the day. Offer to ring parents to invite them in to discuss it. Make it clear that you WILL do this (and be prepared to do so).

    Have a sense of humour. At base they're usually great, and even the worst of kids can be ok with you if you ever have the chance to talk to them and get to know them a bit more - and this is more possible with cover than teaching as you don't have to TEACH the lesson, just make sure they do the set work, so there's time to go round the tables and chat a bit.
    Quitoon likes this.
  15. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Some great advice and tips on here. I would add that the material on the Pivotal Education web site is good and the book Taking Care of Behaviour by Paul Dix of Pivotal Education is worth buying. In that book, he suggests three rules:

    1.Follow instructions fast
    2. Stay on task
    3. Work without disturbing others

    After reading the book, my behaviour management was transformed and I get a lot of bookings as a supply teacher.

    Monica's tip is good if you think you can get away with it: when the students come into the room, ask them to stand silently behind their desk until you invite them to sit down.
    Quitoon likes this.
  16. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Thing is that every teacher does things differently so they are used to teachers doing things differently. They want to know what to expect when they get you (the 'sub'/cover teacher) and once they know it gets better.

    Be prepared for success "miss, we get through more work in your lessons", and surprises - such as the small group chatting away in the room, and when you go over to tell them off for chatting and not working, you realise they are actually discussing the work and the subject.

    Oh, phones - I used to tell all the kids to get their phones out - so they did - and then I would tell them that this was the only time I expected to see a phone in the lesson, and if I saw it again it would be removed, so they should turn their phones OFF and put them away. Alternatively, have a shoe box to put all their phones in at the beginning of the lesson and then collect at the end. Again, other teachers may do this already so it won't be new.
  17. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    More good advice from monicabilongame

    One thing that also helped me is to have scripts to use when students are off task. In the book Taking Care of Behaviour, there are some suggested scripts. For example: "Rosie, I saw you throw the pencil across the room. You chose to break rules 2 and 3. This is a verbal warning. You now have the chance to make intelligent choices. " Walk away and give her take up time. If she continues the off task behaviour, move to step two and give a written warning in her planner. After the second warning and the student hasn't followed the rules, if the school allows, I will ask the student to be removed to work elsewhere. By using scripts, you have rehearsed in your mind what you are going to say and you won't tend to be drawn into arguments or saying something that the student will argue with. Focus on the behaviour - on the rules they are breaking and what they need to choose to do.

    Despite the your best attempts, there will be students who choose to break the rules and will not follow your instructions, be off task, and continue to disrupt the entire class.

    The main thing is to always to remember to stay calm and not to shout. There are occasions where you will need to raise your voice, but do shout as it only serves to make the situation worse and the student will think they have upset you and therefore will do it again for fun. Don't give the students ammunition! If they know something drives you around the bend, they will be sure to do whatever it is. So even if you want to run screaming from the room, hide the fact that you are being annoyed.

    A lot of the misbehaviour is down to students wanting to see how far they can push a teacher before the teacher loses it. Another reason for the misbehaviour is that students find the work difficult and in extreme cases can't read or write to the level to do the work and will therefore be struggling. For some of them, it is like us being in a lecture theatre and the lecture is entirely in Chinese and we are supposed to take notes and learn the topic in Chinese.

    In addition some of the misbehaviour is attention seeking since some students have incredibly difficult home lives. Therefore, once you get to know some of the students you will understand why some of the misbehaviour is occurring and be able to take some action towards minimising it or at least understand what is happening.
  18. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

  19. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Keep moving around the room... prowl your territory... check work as you prowl.

    Loom over them, with a smile, but create a physical presence. Learn names. Tough when you have a cover role but if you know names it makes it more personal for them.

    Stand at the door as they come in and welcome them in. Make positive comments.
  20. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    One of my favourite tricks was, whilst prowling around the room, to spot the girl/boy chatting to a neighbour and not working. I would quietly walk up alongside until I was right beside them (sometimes I would crouch down and lean an elbow on the desk with my face on my hand) - everyone else would see it but not the chatter - the chattee would also notice and try and indicate (without saying anything) that I was there, and then when the chatter turned round to see what all the pointing and nudging was about, THERE I would be! I never said anything, just waited for then to notice me. Embarrassment and their peers' laughter made them start concentrating again.

    The best controls are the non-verbal ones - the LOOK, the silent shake of the head or raised eyebrow, the finger on the lips; with year 7 I would hold a hand up and silent down down on my fingers - if I reached zero from 5 we had to start again - those who noticed would hold their hands up and so the others would click they needed to stop talking and pay attention. (And once you've taught yr 7 & 8 this, it lasts for as long as they are in school, although they feel a bit sheepish in Yr 10 or 11 because by doing it you're clearly indicating that they're behaving like yr7 or 8!).

    I did cover for about 10 years - and was a respected force to be reckoned with "Shh, it's Mrs Bilongame"; or "you don't mess with Mrs Bilongame" or "you're the best cover teacher Miss, we always work for you". It takes time and you will find your own way that suits who you are.
    lanokia and notsonorthernlass like this.

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