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Classroom behaviour management ideas

Discussion in 'Vocational' started by cliffgalea, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. cliffgalea

    cliffgalea New commenter

    Hi everyone,

    I am a new teacher and have a very unruly class. There are 12 students ages 15-18 years old. I am new to this age group as I am used to teach students with disabilities. I tried to establish ground rules but went all wrong during second lesson. Does anyone have suggestions on managing their behaviour. common problems: using phones in class, coming late, using inappropriate language and an "i don't want to be here attitude"

    Thanks in advance for all the help
    cys2017 likes this.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Since you posted this in the Vocational Forum, I take it that you are teaching in further education college. Try the following:

    1. Get the college's behaviour policy and read it thoroughly so you know the systems in place for sanctioning inappropriate behaviour.

    2. Get a copy of the book Taking Care of Behaviour by Paul Dix and sign up for behaviour management tips at the Pivotal Education web site.

    3. Explain to the class that you are there to help them, and for the sake of the group there has to be certain rules. You have an advantage as there are only 12 students in your class. If they start using a phone, are off task, disturbing the lesson, or any other inappropriate behaviour, give them a couple of warnings in a calm manner and use the school's policy for either having them removed from your lesson or phoning the parents. You may need to discuss this with your HoD.

    Paul Dix suggests using three simple rules and I use these as a supply teacher and they do work:

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

    Get to know what your students' aspirations and fears are. Is this a class that has been left to drift? Perhaps they feel no one cares and they are failures. Expect the best of them and let them know you expect them to work hard because you care and their success is important to you.

    They basically will try to push your buttons in order to see how far they can go before you explode or start crying. Don't get caught out: learn how to remain calm and use measured and controlled tones in your voice. Once they see younare going to stand your ground no matter what and you don't get angry, they will turn around.

    It won't be easy, but if you mix compassion with firmnes and try to see some of the reasons why they are misbehaving, then it might help you turn things around.
  3. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    Unfortunately there seem to be lots of classes like this. There's lots of money thrown at education, but no focus on getting and retaining good teachers. You tend to find the worst problems-regardless of the area/age etc -are where there's a high staff turn-over.
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Phones - my personal bete noire. Find out the college policy. You could try phone boxes - 2 warnings then student has to place phone in box for duration of lesson. If they refuse they have to leave class - followed by C4C or whatever to HOD. As a reward for good behavior students are allowed a texting break. Only the teacher is allowed to decide when the texting break happens, not the students. Phones can also be used as an educational tool - googling etc. Some vocational areas make students hand phones in at the beginning of the lesson. You must know the department/college policy. We introduced a 'no phone' policy last year but several teachers refused to enforce it. Making it difficult for others to enforce. I think the reason they didn't enforce it was because they were afraid of confrontation.
    Language - could try a swear box - similar to above. Boys love a swear box. Excessive language results in name going in to swear box. 3 swear boxes = sanctions, referral to HOD parents involved. Name can be removed from swear box if student puts in extra effort, answers questions etc. Getting out of the swear box becomes a bit of a game. You need the class on side to do this.
    Most importantly you need the backing of the college to carry out your sanctions. If the college and other teachers don't back you and don't tackle behavior you are flogging a dead horse.
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Just to tell anyone who may be interested, the Behaviour Forum has a new peer advisor available from next week to answer queries about behaviour issues.

    Excellent post about using the school policy.
  6. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Things MUST have changed since I taught in FE. Students came because they wanted to come and if they didn't want to study, then out they went and someone else took their place. It isn't compulsory to attend Colleges of FE, so why come if you don't want to behave well? Students are being prepared for the world of work where you are simply sacked if you don't come up to form. Do the same and turn them out. I've never had to do this but I think it could work.
  7. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    JosieWhitehead you are way behind the times. Students now have to stay in education until the age of 18, whether they want to or not. They have to study English and Maths GCSE whether they want to or not. This is compulsory.
    The top 60% of society get 5 GCSEs and stay on at school sixth form to study A levels, Btecs or re-take GCSEs. Theses tend to be the students with good behavior and motivation.
    The bottom 40% of society - those lacking motivation and good behavior- choose FE because of the more lenient approach towards study. They tend to be those from the bottom sets at school who have become totally disillusioned with education. The schools say 'oh X is not academic. Therefore X will be suited to animal care, motor mechanic, hairdresser, plumber, whatever.' X often has behavioural problems, sometimes anger management or mental health problems. Once X arrives in Fe they find that they have actually got to work, even worse, study English and maths - which they hate. They can't cope and decide to kick off big time and do everything they can to make the teacher's life a misery.
  8. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    For some students what going to FE colleges means is that they have another two years at the tax payers expense to do nothing but make everyone else's life miserable. Just as the post above describes in accurate detail.
  9. Robfreeman

    Robfreeman Occasional commenter

    Are you in secondary or FE?
  10. kajalsengupta

    kajalsengupta New commenter

    This more or less sums up the situation and it is so frustrating for the teacher to face such a situation. I agree that with out the support of the authority it is becomes doubly difficult. Many in the admin have an attitude that if students are not listening to you it means that there is something wrong with your approach.Having said so , I would never give up trying some ways to strike a chord with them It is true it needs a lot of patience and determination to do so. I am always reminded of the book "To Sir with Love".
    pepper5 likes this.
  11. philgchild1

    philgchild1 New commenter

    i work in FE with the same age group, i to have a mix of students, some want to attend, some attend because they have to ( parent pressure, expelled form other FE centres ech ) Discipline is a daily challenge.
    i start with site and ground rules, and use them if necessary on a three strikes -sanction, 4 strikes warning 3 warning remove, as per site policy,
    However i have rarely do use as i find if you take a interest in the learner, talk and discuss behaviour and their aspirations, then help them develop their communication and behaviour to help them succeed, even completing small tasks and gaining praise helps reduce disruption.
    its not easy but i think you have to be positive, firm but fair and consider the whole class to achieve lesson aims is important.
    pepper5 likes this.
  12. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Yes, I could well, luckily, be behind the times. I'm glad I taught when things were different. The difference comes from making education compulsory instead of optional. When it is a "privilege" to be given a place in a classroom and you've chosen to be there because you have chosen to work for an examination, then you will see a big difference in how students behave - naturally. Turn back the clocks p l e a s e!
    pepper5 likes this.
  13. Norsemaid

    Norsemaid Lead commenter

    The point is that children / students / young people in the main ( although I realise that here are some exceptions ) aren't forced in to work or take responsibility for anything these days .
    They don't even know the conditions that children faced in the Victorian / Edwardian times that triggered an education for all and don't see education as a privilege.
    Only last week some of our secondary age students were shown pictures of young children working in pitiful conditions in Asia and Africa . These students are of lower ability but I saw a change their faces when they realised that this was for real, it still happens . One lovely student who does get in to regular scrapes of sorts then realised that children in this country moan about school and in their words said but we should be happy that we can come to school . Otherwise I'd end up like them . And he was genuinely sad for the children inthe pictures . It brought a tear to my eye too . He's not a perfect little angel yet. ,but those pictures have had a big impact on him .
    The awareness of others and awareness of responsibility is lacking in this day and age .
  14. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Yes, where I live in Yorkshire, there are mills all around us. This used to be the capital of the wool market and in many towns young children worked from very early in the morning until late at night in dangerous and terrible conditions whilst the mill owners lived in luxury. Take one of those children then and offer them what they have today and things would be very different. I skype into 'schools' all over the world, from the richest to the poorest, and I have seen a great deal. I've been adopted as "aunty" in a charity school in Ghana where the children were rescued from the streets of Ghana where they were abandoned by their families. All they had was a grass roof over their head and a "headmaster" who cared. They had no books but a charity gave them a laptop computer and a satellite company gave them internet access and they were learning English from my poems. See them here performing Mr Worm (http://josiespoems2.webeden.co.uk/?use_flash=1#/mr-worm/4556550106) and here, when a school in California gave them filters so that they didn't have to drink just dirty river water. (http://www.josiespoems.webeden.co.uk/?use_flash=1#/most-precious-gift-the/4579124576)
    I also go into some of the richest schools that there are and I do know the difference. Take your children to this African school in Ghana and open their eyes.
    pepper5 likes this.
  15. Norsemaid

    Norsemaid Lead commenter

    Thank you . It won't do them any harm and might just do some good. :)
    pepper5 likes this.
  16. Norsemaid

    Norsemaid Lead commenter

    Thinking about it , in a small town in my area there are mills too. That would be interesting g to take them there. .The atmosphere is rather spooky.
    pepper5 likes this.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    I posted the following recently, and I stand by it as generally good advice:


    The 15 - 18 age group can be better because they are more switched on, but a pain because they expect more freedom. In how they dress, when they arrive, how they work etc. But whilst demanding to be treated like adults, they frequently behave like children.

    With older students, you might want to also follow the line of:

    a) You will soon be working for a living. Get used to not being able to answer your phone, exactly the same way that I can't when I'm teaching you.

    b) If you are late / have not prepared for the lesson then I won 't teach you. I'll mark you as absent and ring home.

    c) focus on what you want to be doing when you finish here. What grades do you need to do what you want to do? If students don't have any career in mind, nag them about that rather than about your lessons. Then when they do have an objective, show them how your subject fits with obtaining it.
    WYPQA and pepper5 like this.
  18. a1autotransport

    a1autotransport New commenter

    Thank you for sharing!
  19. atang

    atang New commenter

    This is very true. I am in the difficult position where I have 23 Year 11 students with 19 of them not prepared to work. They do not care for any sanctions even when challenged about 'non-negotiable' such as mobile phones/ coats off at the start of the lesson.
    In my 10 plus years of teaching in the secondary sector, this unfortunately are the most challenging and unfortunately ungrateful cohort of students I have met!!!
    It is a sad day when many of these students do not care for their own education
    Catgirl1964 likes this.

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