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Confusion in the classroom fans the flames of bad behaviour

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by alicenev, Sep 10, 2011.

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    Hello, I'm an agency TA worker. I've been working in
    a few primary schools in very deprived areas in which the children’s home lives are
    abusive and chaotic. Naturally this results in very challenging behaviour and
    getting through lessons is painstaking. I have worked with kids where I can
    scarcely imagine their self-esteem being any lower.

    Now, its very easy for me to say 'If I where the teacher
    I'd do it this way...' and I am also quite new to this career too, I have only
    had paid work in schools since May this year. But this is an issue I feel very
    strongly about. I long for more CLARITY, STRUCTURE and FOCUS in the classroom
    and I think the kids crave it.

    Here are some things I think would really help improve behaviour:

    - STOP CHANGING THE ACTIVITY EVERY 10 MINS. If I can't keep up with what’s going on, how do the kids? I
    constantly have kids saying ''What’s going on?', 'I don't understand.' Too
    often I watch their faces turn from confusion to 'I give up.' Then the anarchy
    begins to take over.

    - BEWARE OF USING SMART BOARDS/TECHNOLOGY TOO MUCH. I think teachers fall into the trap of desperately trying to
    interest children by using as much mediums of technology as they can possibly
    cram in to one lesson. Kids have technology at their fingertips anyway at home
    (even the poorest). They are totally saturated with it. It's nothing special to
    them anymore. In fact I think it becomes a waste of time. I watch kids doing
    the clever interactive games yet they have no idea what’s going on. Too often
    they lose track of what the subject matter was in the first place! And at the
    end of the lesson, they don't know what they
    have learnt.

    - <u>WRITE </u>ON THE BOARD, DRAW DIOGRAMS AND PICTURES! Honestly, I watch kids pay attention so much more doing it the
    old-fashioned way rather than using power point. Seriously, I have watched the
    most disaffected and unruly children become transfixed when the teacher starts
    to draw a diagram on the board. Perhaps it's a bit of the Rolf Harris "Can
    you tell what it is yet?" factor! And also, I'm <u>sure</u> if the kids watched
    the teachers write
    more, it would improve their
    writing too?

    think it is a real mistake that some schools seem to have got rid of their
    textbooks. I think ALL kids get a real sense of satisfaction working through
    them. I think they get a true sense of achievement when they finish and get to
    go on to the next page. I was with a class with a terrible reputation last
    week. It was a true battle to get them to do anything but the best behaved
    lesson by far was a maths lesson when they were
    given textbooks. The page was lines of sums and
    I watched in amazement as they sat quietly and took pride in creating rows of
    Does anyone else agree with what I say who has worked with low-self-esteemed, low-achieving children from deprieved areas? Am I naive?
  2. gingerella

    gingerella New commenter

    Yes and btw neat, full exercise books does not always correlate with understanding. However as a teacher of 12 years in tough, but successful, inner city secondary schools I bow to your superior judgement.
  3. Thanks and by the way I am in not blaming teachers! You teachers are heroes. Is it the goverments fault that has made classroom life a baffling whirlwind?
  4. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    While I am not a hero by any means (and it totally belittles those who are, to suggest teachers have anything like the same status), I do take full responsibility for what goes on in my classroom. Please do not give the responsibility to the government. The only thing dictated by the government is the national curriculum, and in my opinion that is a good thing. I choose what goes on in my classroom and how my classroom is run.

    Children do sometimes sit quietly and answer question after question after question in maths. And they produce a lovely neat set of identical calculations in their books. sometimes they even use a ruler to draw the lines. However if they can do the first five correctly and all on their own, what precisely are they learning by doing another 25 of them?

    But like the previous poster, despite being a teacher for 15 years, yes you are being naive but I bow to your superior knowledge and so judgement!
  5. Ok I agree you are not heroes but lets just say I nod my head to you!
    Ah yes and i didn't mean to sound like I think kids should work through repetitive textbooks like they did in the 50's! I just think they enjoy the books.
  6. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Because it doesn't require them to think or learn! Mindless repetitive tasks can be relaxing and enjoyable. But not really what school is about!
  7. Many of us agree, and have been saying similar things for years, but no-one seems to want to listen. There has been so much misunderstanding and misapplication of so-called 'progressive methodologies' over the last forty years, that I don't think there's much chance of ever getting back to a base of commonsense again. If I could be responsible for what goes on in my own classroom, I'd put into effect much of what you describe; but unfortunately, for many years now, professional discretion has had to give way to a dictatorship of political and bureaucratic so-called 'initiatives' that have made teachers slaves to the opinions of others, many of whom know little about the nature of a true education. Rote-learning may not be what education is all about; but neither is anarchy.
  8. It would be a bad idea to rely on textbook repetitive learning all the time, I agree. It is just nice to see them relax and get on with the task for once - almost as if they had a sense of comfort in doing something 'concrete'
  9. Oh dear, that sounds depressing! I don't want to become a teacher if that's the way it is [​IMG]
  10. Oh dear, that sounds depressing! I don't want to become a teacher if that's the way it is
    That's the way it is. It's depressing. But you could maybe find a country to teach in where all the **** hasn't caught up yet. Or you might be able to find a way to stay outside of the nonsense.... supply teaching, maybe, or now there appear to be other kinds of school starting up. You might not approve of them politically.... but at least they might allow a bit of professional freedom to teachers...
  11. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    Text books don't help children to learn? - An inaccurate sweeping statement.

    OP, I agree with most of your post.
  12. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I didn't say that, or at least I certainly didn't intend to. I said doing 50million similar maths problems, one after the other in a mindless repetitive manner, does not help children learn.

    Teaching is not always the way it is described, or not in any of the school I've ever worked in. I cannot believe some teacher are seriously abdicating all responsibility for what goes on in the classroom and saying it is all the fault of the government. If poor behaviour and poor teaching was all the fault of political nonsense, then there would be no good or outstanding schools at all. It is perfectly possibly to have good behaviour and engaged children working, learning and achieving while complying with any legal requirements.
  13. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Alice, to be honest, there's an enormous amount of what you say here
    with which I completely agree: the fetishisation of IT, the abandonment
    of tried and tested teaching tools in favour of fashionable ideas that
    imply innovation and deliver varying results.
    I think low
    self-esteem can mean a lot of things; some of the worst behaved children
    have got perfectly jolly self-esteem. If you mean 'have low horizons
    for themselves' then I completely agree. A TA's perspective on learning,
    especially when gained in many different classrooms, is something that
    any wise teacher should listen to.
    Read more from Tom here on his personal blog, or follow him on Twitter here.
  14. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    Not sure if your comments above a just general ones or a direct response to what I said. I certainly don't disagree with your last sentence.
    Ofsted's preference for their way of teaching children causes far more harm than good imo.
  15. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    General. Only the first part was in response to what you said.
  16. Isn't doing a task repetitively vital if one is to master said task?
  17. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    If a child has completed, say, 5 calculations correctly, then one can assume they have already mastered the task and so has no need to do 25 more.

    If the child cannot complete the task they will simply be repeating and reinforcing their mistakes and so not mastering the task.

    Either way it is fairly pointless.
  18. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    When Jonny Wilkinson was 13 he was getting up at 6 every morning, collecting an armful of rugby balls and heading out to the pitches where he spent and hour or so kicking the ball over the posts.
    He didn't become the highest points scorer in international rugby by deciding that he'd scored 5 goals and so had no need of doing any more.
  19. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Mastering a skill requires repeated practice: however, that is not what minnie is talking about. Once I know the steps to take to multiply numbers together, I do not need repeated practice, whereas I do need repeated practice to kick a ball between the posts given the infinite number of different contexts of weather, surface, etc. which can go to make every single event of it unique.
  20. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    Sadly a pupil being able to do 5 calculations today doesn't mean they will be able to do the same calculations tomorrow, in a weeks time or more importantly in their exam.
    So many pupils who stop answering questions after they have done 5 don't actually understand what they are doing so a worded question or one in an unfamiliar context throws them.
    5 questions is generally not enough to ensure that a student will remember what they have just done further down the line.
    I can answer any question up to 25 times 25 in a second. I can't remember how to do some of the questions from my final year of maths (which I found in a folder in a cupboard recently). The former I use all the time. The latter I don't.

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