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Dear James (and anyone else!), how can I manage this behaviour without shouting?

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by starlight189, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. I've just started a placement with a very difficult KS2 class. I've had negative observations, mostly centered around my behaviour management. I've used the hand-up and the clapping tecniques, but my teacher thinks I'm having to do this too much. I'm already using lots of positive reinforcement too. The main issue is that the children are noisy and off-task when working. I don't want to shout at them, it goes against the grain, but how can I keep them focused on the work?
    Should I just get them to work in silence? I don't really like doing this, but if it keeps them on task then maybe it would work better...what do you think? I have to do something, at the moment I seem to be getting more negatives than positives in my feedback, and my behaviour management has always been really good before :(
  2. I'm secondary rather than primary, so you may need to adapt my advice. Shouting can be effective, but it depends how you use it. Constantly shouting becomes ineffective, but if you use it as a one off it can be a surprise for htem and get them to behave.

    It can be very difficult to get them to work in silence, so you need an incentive, ie loss of break / part of lunchtime, or part of golden time (I'm assuming the name hasn't changed since I last worked in a primary school). If they are not working, forget about the all singing, all dancing lessons for now, and stick to dull textbook lessons - less intensive for you and gives you move time to focus on getting the behaviour up to standard.
  3. Thanks for your advice :)
    I can't really make my lessons too dull because that will impact on my feedback :s. I'm just finding it really difficult to know that they're not on task. Apparently a few of them were mucking around because they were bored, but they hadn't finished the work I had set...I don't know where I'm going wrong!
    I thought about playing music quietly whilst they were working and telling them they need to stay quiet enough to hear the music...and warn them if they don't then they'll have to work in silence? What do you think? I've already done the loosing part of their breaktime.
  4. lilykitty

    lilykitty New commenter

    Don't forget you are a student with a mentor. Ask him/her to teach a lesson for you to observe, with the type of activity or subject which you find most challenging, and observe closely everything the teacher does. Look at body language and non-verbal communication as well as what they say.
    I had two very difficult classes for my placements. I found the behaviour management easier with one class because the class teacher and I had very similar personalities and I found it easy to assimulate a lot of the things she did and even some of her comments. The children then saw me as equal to her and this gave me a stronger footing.
    The other thing I would suggest (and I'm saying this without knowing much about you, so if it doesn't apply please don't be offended) is that you distance yourself from the children a bit. I've seen a lot of student teachers (and fallen into this trap myself) want the children to like them, especially at the beginning. The children interpret this as you being a friend, not an authority figure. Whenever I've found my class are getting a bit out of hand, I become a bit colder with them - no joking about, no chit-chat, and let them know that this is because of their behaviour. Go for distant and disappointed rather than angry and upset. The children will then try to win you back, and this puts you back in control. With tricky classes you may need to keep going back to this every couple of weeks, but I have always found it works.
    Finally, I know challenging placements can make you doubt yourself, but they are also the ones you learn the most from, so hang in there!
  5. Thanks so much for your encouragment, I was pretty darn gutted when I got my feedback. It's a good idea to ask if I can observe my teacher. I actually have on a few occassions, but all he really does is shout at them, and in all honesty, the kids are often off task in those lessons too. They're definately better than they have been in my lessons though, so I'll certainly give it a try.
    The disappointed angle might work well with them, so I'll try that next time. Thanks again fo your advice :).
  6. Hi, I just wanted to say - please avoid shouting. There are other ways around it. My dad is a headteacher and he says that the thing parents complain about the most is teachers shouting.
    I completed my second KS2 placement in the middle of March in a challenging school.I was in Year 6. The class teacher responded to any misbehaviour by shouting and then taking their break away - there were no warnings, and the children didn't get a chance to redeem themselves.
    Having seen the teacher deal with this behaviour, I know that shouting is something I will never do. The children cried. I don't want to make you feel guilty, but if you shout, you might find yourself in this situation - and then finding yourself feeling guilty and apologising! (My teacher didn't do the latter, he just let them get all upset, and carry on crying - they weren't thinking about their behaviour, or learning anything - they were just scared).
    It sounds like the children in your class have become accustomed to shouting - like mine had. It's difficult to start with, but you need to establish rules (eg noise levels - it's good to ask the children what noise level they would expect when doing a certain activity so they set it themselves), and make it visibly clear to the children. I have a Powerpoint presentation that I think I got from this site, which is green if the children are working at the correct noise level, yellow if they're getting a bit too noisy (and it says "take action now or you will lose minutes of your breaktime!"), and then red - "you're now losing minutes of your break - take action now so that you don't lose more!"
    If children are talking over me, I just stop and look at them. They soon stop! Keep using the positive reinforcement. The children probably know you're a student and at the moment they're taking advantage of the fact you don't shout - but that doesn't mean you have to have less control over your class.
    Good luck :)
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I would say that please don't judge all teachers based on one example.

    Lots of teacher do sometimes shout at children with good effect. That does not mean the children are scared or crying or that we are not good teachers. Just that we can judge when it is necessary and will be effective.

    Occasionally children do cry when they are in trouble, not even because they have been shouted at. This is also not necessarily a bad thing, children should feel upset when they have been naughty and disappointed their teacher. It does not necessarily follow that you should feel guilty about it.

    Sometimes it is good for children to be able to redeem themselves, but don't fall into the trap of letting them win back minutes lost from break. If you do you may well end up with a class who behave dreadfully for the first half hour and then perfectly for the second so you don't keep them in.

    I'd say be clear with the children what you want from them. Be clear with them what the consequences are and stick with it. Next time you teach them, say you weren't happy last time and set out what you expect, have them sitting on the carpet if you can for this. Let them know what the reward will be (might be a game at the end) if they behave and the consequences if they don't. Say this in a very serious, slightly stern, voice with a serious face. Let them know you are not yet happy and you mean business. Then every time someone does something good, go a bit over the top with the praise and smiles. If someone does something bad, be very serious and stern with your body language, voice and face.

    But if they aren't good for their own teacher, they are unlikely to be fabulous for you. Good Luck though....you can do well!
  8. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    In regards to knowing when the children are off-task, always make sure you are sitting in a position where you don't have your back to anyone. I always sit at a particular group of tables and rotate the children around, depending on who I want to work with. I can then see everyone during the lesson, just by looking up. Train yourself to keep glancing up and, if you see a child not on task, just say their name in warning. It lets them know you are watching them! I also try and position children who are more likely to mess around on the tables nearest to where I'm working (if I'm not actually working with them). They're not too far away then, and I can keep an eye and ear on them.
    Just as something to think about: is there a possibility that the children who are not on task are either bored or finding the work too hard? Mix the children around in the class to try and limit the number of friends disruptive children are near. Then find time in the lesson to go around and talk to those children who are normally off task. Ask them about the work, what they enjoy about it, how they will go about doing it, if it's too easy. If they can do it, praise and attention might help them do more, or you can give them something more challenging. If they can't do it, you will have identified an area of weakness and can help them. You can record all this in your plan; "At this time I will talk to X, Y and Z about their understanding and enjoyment of the work, to see if I can move them on in their learning." Then, if you challenge or help them, this can be recorded in your evaluation of the lesson and linked to the child's assessment record in that area.
    You could also think about rewards for a whole table who are working well and quietly, whether a points system or giving everyone on that table a gold star or whatever. Do it randomly during the lesson, so the children know you could say it at any time. I used to give a Star of the Lesson to one person I thought had worked really well in that lesson. The children were always on tenterhooks to find out who it would be that lesson. Positive reinforcement always works better than threats!
  9. Just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who replied :). Your advice has been really useful in helping me to figure out what will work for my class. I think on the whole, maybe the work was a bit easy, so that probably didn't help matters. I think I will come up with a traffic light noise indicator, but also some sort of reward... I'll definately make my expectations of behaviour a bit clearer too.
    Thanks again for all your advice, I feel a lot more confident about what I can do next lesson now.

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