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Confusion in the classroom fans the flames of bad behaviour

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

  1. 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 were 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.

    - WRITE 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 sure if the kids watched the teachers write more, it would improve their writing too?

    - BRING BACK TEXTBOOKS! I 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 answers.

    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. 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 were 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.

    - WRITE 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 sure if the kids watched the teachers write more, it would improve their writing too?

    - BRING BACK TEXTBOOKS! I 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 answers.

    Does anyone else agree with what I say who has worked with low-self-esteemed, low-achieving children from deprieved areas? Am I naive?
     
  3. 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.
     

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