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Behaviour peer advisor to help answer your queries

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by TES_Rosaline, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Hello everyone,

    I would like to introduce a new service for members. A behaviour peer advisor will soon be available to help answer some of your queries twice a week. This should make it easier to find the advice, tips and information you need on a range of behaviour management issues and strategies.

    I’m pleased to announce that Sarah Dann will be joining the TES Community as the behaviour peer advisor next week.

    Sarah is a secondary English teacher with responsibility for KS3. She has taught across the years 7-13, subjects including GCSE Media, A-level creative writing and functional skills, and has previously held responsibility for whole school literacy and targeted intervention. Sarah now works in rural Sussex, after six years in Tower Hamlets and a year-long adventure in Madrid with the British Council.

    Sarah said: “I’m really looking forward to taking on the role of behaviour peer advisor. In my different schools and roles, I have observed many familiar behaviour patterns and varying strategies for sanctions and rewards. I will aim to provide useful advice, practical suggestions and draw together information from a wide range of sources to support the TES Community members.”

    I hope you will join me in welcoming Sarah to the forums.

    Please note that this forum, including all content posted in it (whether by you or us or on our behalf), is subject to our General Terms and Conditions which can be found here: https://www.tes.com/us/terms-and-conditions.

    As set out in our General Terms and Conditions, the content and posts in this forum are for general information only and are not intended to, nor do they, constitute legal or other professional advice or services or a recommendation to purchase any product or service or a recommendation upon which any specific decision should be made. The information and content made available in this forum should not be relied on as a substitute for proper professional advice. We accept no responsibility for any reliance placed on information or content provided in this forum or otherwise through our websites or services.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  2. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    Hello everyone,

    Thank you for the introduction Rosaline. I thought I would add a quick note to say thank you to those community members who already contribute to the forums and hello to anyone using the services for the first time.

    I hope I will be able to help with any questions you may have or issues you may be facing in school. Feel free to direct queries to me and I will do my best to provide suggestions and strategies as appropriate.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    LINGUIST2 New commenter

    I hope you can help me. I have 2 large classes of 30 pupils that I'm just not coping with . My other classes are fine. I manage to get through a lesson but a lot of the time they are off task, talking when I'm talking or when others are answering. They are nice enough kids but it's almost as if they are kind of ganging up on me - I honestly feel this is grinding me down and I dread every lesson as I feel it's all my fault as I can't engage them . My HOD says I have to send any troublemakers to her but I feel she really isn't interested in helping me with them e.g. today I reprimanded one boy for talking and he replied cheekily saying other people were talking too. I have tried names on board but they just seem to find it funny. I feel useless - I teach MFL and have been teaching a long time but I think I am losing my confidence because of all this. I have had good observations from the headteacher but with these particular classes he'd probably think I was rubbish. I am in the type of school where if you complain about a pupil other teachers say they don't have a problem with that pupil etc.
    Thanks for listening.
  4. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    Thanks for getting in touch. Low level disruption can be one of the most challenging aspects of teaching, even for experienced teachers like yourself. At times the dynamics of a class group can make you feel isolated as you have described when there are 30 pupils and only one of you.

    When it seems that the whole class is talking, it is difficult to identify ‘troublemakers’ and so I understand why the idea of sending them to your HOD will not be effective at this moment. In that situation it’s easy to misjudge and send a student who is perhaps not the most to blame and this can further harm your relationship with the class.

    Therefore I think the first important thing to do is to establish total silence at the beginning of the lesson and return to this between tasks, when you’re going to give instructions and before pupils take turns in speaking. Does your school have a policy of standing silently behind chairs at the beginning of lessons/the teacher’s hand raised for silence/sound effects/countdown etc? If so, use it absolutely rigidly and do not move on until that silence is achieved. If not, introduce a system – you might need to try out a few different things and you could try involving the students by explaining that as a class you need to work on showing respect to everyone in the room and so you will have a signal that means everyone stops talking to allow the class to progress. Something simple like a doorbell sound or lion roar can be effective. I’ve never found clapping useful with older students (I am making an assumption you are in a secondary school as an MFL teacher) but I know some teachers do use it. Initially, you may need to accept slowing the pace of the class right down until they get on board with being silent at the appropriate times but I think in the long term this is worthwhile. Some students might complain that they are waiting for others or getting bored but this can be useful to get them to appreciate that they need to collaborate as a class, with you, in order to learn. This should then help you identify any key players that are making this more difficult.

    Make sure you are very clear about expectations of when students have 'talking time' whether this is to respond to something out loud or to discuss ideas in a group and when 'silent listening' is needed. Don't move on to the next activity unless this happens. When a student interrupts another, stop the student who is giving an answer, say something along the lines of 'I'm sorry, I couldn't hear your answer because you were interrupted. Please try again once X is ready to listen.' Do this consistently every single time they talk over each other and emphasise the need for respect. You could also try tallying minutes lost on the board whilst waiting for silence and then take this time off the students at break/lunch. Allow them to earn the time back as they get on track. Keeping the whole class back for those minutes the first time - explaining that as a class they need to work together - can help to get them to self-police. You might find they start to tell key players to be quiet amongst themselves.

    Alongside this you could try conducting some activities to take students out of their normal routine and to bond as a class with you. The cycle of current behaviour needs to be broken so you can re-establish the expectations in your own classroom. This can be more difficult to do once term is underway so spending a few lessons on something out of the usual curriculum (although I know this can be tricky to fit in) could be worthwhile. Explaining to the students that their current behaviour is disrespectful to each other (taking it away from yourself as the only one expecting to be listened to) could help start again with their attitude towards learning in your classroom. Trying circle time or P4C (philosophy for children) or a team building activity, emphasising the need to work collaboratively and making your reasons for doing this clear, could help to start again.

    Finally, do try involving your HOD once you are able to more clearly understand key players. Even if you feel she is not interested in helping, if that is the system of behaviour management in your school, it needs to be applied consistently so that students know they will be passed on if they do not meet expectations. Send emails home to parents outlining your concerns, even if you have to do this initially for a large number of students. At the same time, send positive feedback home to those who are achieving and slowly the numbers of those not on your side should subside.

    These classes can be wearing but it’s early days in the first term and you will be able to turn it around. Good luck.
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. rebeccawilson102

    rebeccawilson102 New commenter


    I'm in need of some strategies to deal with the behaviour of a new child in my class.

    I'm a primary teacher currently teaching year 2. This new child started 2 weeks after the start of term, the rest of the class have settled and are into routine. However her behaviour is very disruptive. She craves a lot of attention during lessons by shouting 'I can't do it' when in fact she is able to do the work. This then escalates to a very loud cry and then she begins to wail so loudly the other children cover their ears.

    I am following the school behaviour policy and her conciquence is missing minutes from golden time on a Friday. This week she lost all her minutes by Friday morning and had to be removed from the classroom to the head teachers room.

    She answers back and throws herself on the floor when upset. I have no class TA and am struggling to deal with this and still support the other children in class.

    I spoke to her teacher at her previous school and they saw this behaviour all year and couldn't really advise on what to do. I can't handle a year of this behaviour, any advise would be really appreciated!!!

  6. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    Hi there,

    You’re absolutely right that you and the other students cannot allow this behaviour to continue all year. You mention you have no TA; is there any chance of getting an additional adult to support in any form? I know resources are tight in schools but it might be worth checking that alongside other options.

    It’s a shame that her previous school haven’t been able to provide any suggestions but you should remain confident that the situation can still change as she grows and settles.

    Have you yet contacted home? It seems like it would be important to get a picture of what sort of support you are able to get from parents/carers.

    • Did this behaviour start from day one with you?

    • Have they just moved to a new area? (I know it sounds like she had some issues in her last school too but perhaps they are acerbated by being unsettled by change)

    • What is her behaviour like at home/relationships with siblings etc

    • Could a parent/carer talk this through with her alongside you?

    • Could they even spend some time in the classroom (if your school supports this strategy)
    Then within your school, have you been able to speak to any other members of staff about it? When she was sent to the Head’s office, what involvement does the head have after that?

    Other than losing golden time minutes, are there any more immediate strategies you can use to try to stop the behaviour in the moment?

    • Do you use names on the board?

    • What reward strategies have you tried and is she responsive to positive feedback?

    • Could she have a time out area within your room?

    • Could she have some sort of target based reward chart on her desk so that she earns gold stars or stickers for each block of time that she is well behaved? Of course you need to be mindful of rewarding her for things the others are already doing well, but it could be a short term strategy to get her to co-operate.
    The loud wailing suggests she is not interested in what the other children think of her – has she made friends? By Year 2 most children can show some empathy. What happens when you try to discuss how the noise impacts on others?

    I think a good first step would be to arrange a meeting with the student and her family and another member of staff so you can explain the situation – approaching it perhaps from an angle that she might be unsettled by the new school – and this will help gauge how much the child understands about her behaviour and what support you could expect from home.

    You could then go through the routines and expectations with her again and set her some very small targets which, if achieved, would lead to a reward (phone call home, sticker, public praise etc). You could also try giving her some responsibility within the class and re-explain how much it helps everyone when you all work together. I think aiming for her to care about building relationships with the other students, as well as you, might help moderate her disruption.

    Let me know how you get on and I will keep thinking.

    LINGUIST2 New commenter

    Thanks for your reply Sarah. You have given me some good ideas which I will try . I had a terrible lesson today and I did send for my Hod who removed 2 pupils but it seemed to wind the others up and they deteriorated further after that as they saw it all as a laugh. I really feel like telling Senior Management and the Head what I have had to put up with - it's as if around half the kids in the class were against me and it was not a pleasant feeling but I know I will be seen as weak and incompetent . Just feel so rubbish - my Hod said that I should have got the class to copy in silence when they wouldn't listen to me - she has also suggested that I reseat the class so I will do that next lesson and then focus on expectations etc as you suggested - thanks again.
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. mikejcollins

    mikejcollins New commenter

    Hi I am a new head and have inherited difficult parents. There Are behaviour issues in our school but not the bullying kind. The children are not very honest so it is very difficult when trying to get to a conclusion. Parents come in frequently to complain and never seem to happy and like to use the term bullying. I know the children are very unkind at times but it's the parents that stress me the most. Any suggestions?
  9. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    Congratulations on your new headship. Dealing with parents is another potentially difficult aspect of school life, especially when taking on the top role.

    I think two important areas to consider are what sort of relationship the previous head had with the parents and how the handover to you was managed?

    Do you feel that you have taken over from a situation where parents are used to coming in regularly to complain and if so, what can you do to restart the relationship on more positive grounds? For example, was there a general meeting with parents to introduce you as the new head? If not, maybe you could set one up so that you could use that time as an opportunity to address concerns in a more general way (and ideally then get away from repetitive individual complaints), emphasise that you are prepared to hear their worries and put plans into action, and for you to establish new expectations in whatever areas you feel are most necessary.

    You might decide that you would like parents to contact you in a different way, or you could address the ideas about bullying directly so you can use the terms you think are appropriate and make it clear what you are doing in school to work on any problems that do exist.

    In terms of the unkind behavior and whether that constitutes bullying, as you say it can be difficult to get to the truth. Could you hold some sort of workshop around student behavior or have a focus week on treating other people well?

    Perhaps you could give some more information about the ages of your students and how things are currently set up so I could think of some other suggestions for you.
  10. mooncheek

    mooncheek New commenter

    Hi Sarah,
    I'd be very grateful for your advice. I am a Year 4 teacher, with a class of 27. I've been teaching over 10 years and my BM has always been good. I have about 8 children who are very immature and not very motivated and another 4 who don't have that excuse! Behaviour management itself isn't really the problem, as I can control them by placing them in seats, names on board, keeping them in, etc. My prob is that I am having to be much stricter and sterner than my year group partner, who seems to be able to do this more easily them me (she is more experienced, but it's also noticeable that her children are a different bunch and even she doesn't let them have fun, nor do I ) and I don't want to get a reputation as being the one teacher who can only cope by being too hard on them.Parents could complain, although they haven't yet. Nobody raised any issues last year about my kids being troublesome, so it could look like it's just me. I would always be the first to say that it's always the teacher's fault, but I don't know how to be firm but fun!, The HT likes fun.
  11. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    Hi mooncheek,

    Please accept my apologies for the slow response to your query.

    It's always tricky to strike the right balance between being firm and fun and especially so when you feel that the headteacher rewards fun! Perhaps easier for them to say that than it is to actually deliver that in the classroom day after day!

    So, first of all, give yourself a break. It sounds like you're doing the right things by focusing on their behaviour so they can learn. Of course, we all want the children to enjoy their lessons, and we can't help but hope they recount that to parents/other students, but remember your job is to help them progress and you're doing that. A sensible parent isn't going to complain about you tackling behaviour so their child can learn. So don;t be too hard on yourself and try not to compare yourself to other teachers. It always looks different from the outside.

    What sort of reward system exists in your school? In terms of fun time, do the students get golden time or something similar? If so, perhaps you could try getting very involved in those activities with them, or even something at break or lunch with them so they can interact with you in a fun activity away from the normal classroom routine. You could allocate a Friday afternoon to set up an obstacle course in the playground (a silly one with putting costumes on and running from one point to the next inside hoops etc) but explain that the activity on the Friday is dependent on good behaviour during the week. Or inside the classroom you could play a game (something like the chocolate/gloves/knives and forks) again as a treat at a specified time. Do this first to separate the fun side of your personality and the more strict side you need to show during routine classroom hours.

    If this is successful, you might then feel more able to bring in some more fun/relaxed starters or plenary activities and allow the students slightly more room, with the premise that the 'golden time' type activities will disappear if they can't control their behaviour. By year 4, they should be quite aware of different ways of behaving and perhaps you could use this as an opportunity to discuss that - eg more formal/relaxed environments, home/school and help them see you as a rounded person who behaves differently in different situations. Demonstrate that you react to them, not that you have a rigid and unchangeable way of engaging with them.

    Hope that helps,
  12. mooncheek

    mooncheek New commenter

    Apologies, Sarah,
    I hadn't checked this post lately, thanks for your reply and your help. I have been concentrating on rewards and sanctions, as you suggested. Also, I've found that 'sitting in pairs' which change weekly, a la growth mindset has worked too, as I can position the worst offenders in the four extreme corners of the room! Thanks again.
    sarah_dann1 likes this.
  13. Teacher-in-Training42

    Teacher-in-Training42 New commenter

    Hi Sarah

    I hope you will able to give me some tips. I teach young offenders and I have been allocated a new class. There is one student in the class that will keep his feet up on the table and be on his mobile. I have not taught this student yet , but apparently every time someone tells him to get his feet of the table and concentrate he just says he don't want to be there and that he just HAS TO BE THERE. He is on probation so that means he has to go there or it's prison. I have him in my class soon and would really love to hear some advice on how to work with a student like this.

    Many thanks
  14. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    That sounds like a challenging 'in-training' scenario!

    I haven't worked in a specialist environment myself but I will pull together some ideas and get back to you.
  15. Ray_Bee

    Ray_Bee New commenter

    I moved schools at the start of the academic term from a very well behaved environment to one where behavior isn't exactly 'bad' but there is a general malaise and lack of respect or cooperation from students, particularly of the spoilt and entitled kind. I am having a crisis of confidence as I haven't had to hugely manage behavior like this before and feel week in week out things are just getting worse. What's worse is,while I'm seeing very poor behavior patterns emerge across my year groups I've started not to care and am instead ignoring rude, disrespectful and poor behavior rather than taking steps to address it. I'm not new to teaching, am in my 6th year but this is my first post in a new school. With lower school, I have stopped doing most of my routines, like lining up my students as I've begun to feel paranoid and embarrassed when they don't respond or just roll their eyes, yawn loudly, or outright laugh. I just want to get them into the room. It doesn't help I teach these classes last period on the days I see them. Some students brazenly mock me in the classroom within earshot or at least with the intent of making it obvious they are utterly disinterested in what I'm saying or doing. Eyerolling, deliberate yawing, tittering etc. Others will give smart or obvious answers, trying to be the class clown to which I respond sarcastically and on occasion unkindly to make an example. Others again if I ask them something or confront their behavior will answer back or speak rudely, even if I try to deal with it neutrally/pleasantly. However, I now find myself more often than not, negatively managing behavior. Either I end up stopping the whole lesson and reprimanding them all (even though it doesn't involve all) for poor behavior, not listening, being off task or I lose my temper and shout at them. (Wincing writing this, but trying to be truthful). I feel like I have become 'that' teacher students show no respect towards and have almost given up and just muddle through each week. I have gone through expectations many times, they just laugh, I have told individuals many times about how 'disappointed' I am by their behavior, they remain ambivalent. My older class, despite my having a good relationship with them for the most part, also demonstrate lack of regard for my expectations. A very small number of them do not complete homework or meet my deadlines. Ever. They do little to no work in the lesson unless I helicopter over them. Again, some days I handle this okay but then others I am intensely cross with them because of this. I have stopped caring about whether they do the work set and just concentrate on those that are working. I take it all extremely personally. I feel like the reason they are behaving like this is because I allow them and then I am even angrier with myself for allowing myself be walked all over. Ultimately, I am not doing some of those students justice because I've just stopped caring and let things slide so far. There is no behavior management policy at the school. There is a reluctance to acknowledge behavioural issues generally. It's fee paying so there is very little boat rocking when it comes to involving parents or administering consequences. There is also an environment of 'out-doing' each other as a staff which I find unbearable. Nobody ever seems to be making any mistakes and though I know they are, nobody would dare say so. I have stopped raising anything as when I have it's been met with borderline astonishment that I think behavior is relatively poor. This further reinforces my crisis of confidence because at the end of the day, this is down to me and poor teaching. I feel in a vicious circle but too exhausted to stop the wheel. Any advice welcome, it's bee useful to just write this down even!
  16. MissyICT

    MissyICT New commenter

    Hi I’m an experienced teacher. I recently moved from a great school where I was established and I can’t say lesson were perfect but the low level behaviour I could deal with and worked well.

    Now I am lost. I have students I every class that test the boundaries but two classes in particular that are testing inY9.

    I meet and greet at the door and have a differentiated starter - they stand behind their desks at the start of the lesson. I then try to start the lesson. I can not get them to be quiet. Some of the better ones did but even them now don’t bother. So I try to get them quiet with a count down 3 to 1 slowly. Still as soon as I speak the noise starts again. I sometimes give up and just get text books out as I can do task or just write notes on the board and get them to copy, writing faster than they can.

    I have tried: differentiate lessons, changing the seat plan to sit “quiet” students together with more boisterous. These student refuse to move so that I go through consequences points, until one or 3 get removed. They don’t care. Or they just go at the quiet ones: stealing shoes, stealing equipment, books. I’ve had them throw airplanes, notes, books. They have stollen equipment, glue sticks disappear or end up hidden In the room, pouring water on each other’s books, gluing chairs, hair etc. Ive tried postive points and praising good behaviour, reprimanding in private. We are not allowed to put names on the board. I’ve called parents who say “how do I know they have done that, or you have an issue with them.”

    I plan my lessons to include: bingo, word searches, quizzes, find the answers around the room, pick an activity, cartoons etc

    I asked for SLT support (changing seating plans, students refusing to move, getting theclass quiet or the room tidy at the end) they will walk out at the end or two 10 minutes before the end and try to insure others to do this and I got: make your PowerPoint on a white background. Then I got told I’d fail my PM as I was asking for help therefore my behaviour management needs work.

    What can I do as I dread these lessons andnever been anywhere like this. The school is rated highly both ofstedand in the community that’s why I went.

    Lost and really need some advice.

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