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Dear Tom and anyone else who can help- behaviour management techniques

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by thedancingqueen, May 20, 2011.

  1. I'm on my final block placement at the moment, with a year 5 class. Overall, it's going very well and the children have produced a lot of good work, but I have to put a lot of effort in to actually get the class to contribute and some of the kids are quite lazy. Today, I was very nearly in tears during the last lesson of the day when I was teaching ICT, because I'd given the children a topic to research, I'd modelled exactly what to do, a lot of them were working far too slowly and worrying about the presentation of their work rather than the content, which I kept reminding them not to spend very long on because I'm more interested in what they write. There were two in the class who originally copied and pasted a few sentences from a website, deleted them and then at the end of the lesson, had just posted a web link on a powerpoint and written nothing. I did tell them several times throughout the lesson to get on and explained to that pair again, exactly what they had to do. I told them that if they didn't get on they'd have to spend Monday break doing the work and if they didn't get on, they'd be sent to the deputy head and they didn't pay a blind bit of notice. It's put me in a really bad mood and it did upset me. I know I shouldn't have shown it but I was nearly crying. I didn't realise that kids not working could give me that kind of reaction but they're not badly behaved kids. Maybe they're just lazy or afraid to put a bit of effort in. I always hate teaching ICT because the class does worry about the presentation of their work rather than the content so from now on, we'll just do plain word documents etc instead of powerpoint presentations. What else could I have done to make these kids work? The class teacher is off ill and so this class have tried to take advantage of that. I follow the school policies and try to be firm but fair, but they don't always listen and it infuriates me. If anyone has any tips for getting the kids to work faster or actually work in the first place, I really need them. This is the first time kids have refused to do work in one of my lessons, in any school I've taught on placement in. The kids didn't even apologise for their behaviour and didn't seem to care that their behaviour was bothering me. I was firm, without really shouting at them but it didn't make a difference. Please help!
  2. I've never had much success with this particular activity either. Many children are simply lazy and will avoid thinking at all costs because thinking is hard work. Cutting and pasting and endless fiddling with presentation are symptoms of this.
    If the lesson is about researching something then I find there are better ways of doing it without resorting to ICT. Giving the children some text and getting them to highlight important statements or perhaps converting written information into different forms or a narrative works better for me than using computers.
    If you are actually teaching ICT - the point is for them to learn how to use some of the features of the programmes such as Microsoft Powerpoint. In this case give them some simple information that you want them to make a presentation from. The idea is to get them thinking about professional presentations rather than the absurd assault on the senses powerpoints children usually come up with. There is a free website called 'Teach ICT' that has some useful ideas although I tend to find it a bit high order for most classes.
  3. PS I'm not trying to say that the particular choice of activity is an excuse for the poor behaviour - just that, like yourself, I never seem to get the outcome I want from it. I've simply had more success with the activities suggested because they don't involve easy short cuts like cut and paste.
  4. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Hi there; sorry to hear you've had a hard time. Here are some thoughts:
    1. It's not your fault they weren't working- it was theirs. So don't beat yourself up over it. Besides, it sounds like most of them were probably doing most of what you wanted. Small victories...small victories.
    2. You're right- the task is a big temptation for them to fret about font size and special effects. As Mr L says above, that's not your fault, but it is something to think about, and it sounds like you've realised it.
    3. So did they spend the Monday break doing work/ and did they get sent to the deputy head? Make sure that any sanction you threaten actually happens, otherwise they'll learn not to attend to you.
    4. You've not been there for long- it takes a while for students to habituate to a new teacher, so the fact that you;re on a placement should reassure you that you're not expected to have them drilled by the time you leave, because the relationship you're looking for can take longer than the time you have available to you.
    5. The simplest way of 'encouraging' kids to get work done in y experience, is to say that anyone who doesn't have it finished by time 'X' will be staying to finish the work in time 'Y' (which could be lunch, break, etc). And if they still don't do it then, then it becomes a more serious issue, and the parents come in (if it's primary) or more immediately, they get some kind of detention (in a secondary). Whatever sanctions you use, use them. Use them consistently, and use them with fairness.
    And try to remember that they aren't your kids. They don't know you. And they certainly don't go home worrying about you. You can only be hurt by the ones you love (as a song told me) so you'll have to learn to draw back a little from them emotionally, and treat parts of the job as a job. That's hard, and it takes time. But you'll get there. You sound like you'll be a fabulous teacher, with all that compassion you possess. Just make sure you don't whip yourself with it.
    Good luck
  5. Thanks Tom for the great advice! They spent break time today working on their presentation and they did a good job of it. They have made a great start and have asked me if they can come in tomorrow break to finish it, so I'm glad that things have worked out and they're finally working hard. This is encouraging.

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