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Dear Tom, Help for a Reception Teacher

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Miss Piggywig, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. Miss Piggywig

    Miss Piggywig New commenter

    I am hoping you can offer me some new ideas. I haveclass of 25 reception children in an inner city primary. I have a core of 10 children mainly boys who are very difficult. They have very poor concentration and low ability.They do not engage in any thing, When adult focused 1:1 they are mentaninable for about 5 mins. At other times they are disruptive and attention seeking. They are becoming violant to each other and others. They roll around the floor, throw equipment and pull each other around.I have tried star charts and rewards with very little success. I follow the school behaviour policy and have spoken to their parents but they aren't worried as they are only "babies. SMT are aware but have hands full with other children further up the school. I am just wondering if you have any other ideas to try and regain control of my class as the childre who are usually on task and focused are getting disheartened and beginning to miss behaviour for attention. Thanks
     
  2. Miss Piggywig

    Miss Piggywig New commenter

    I am hoping you can offer me some new ideas. I haveclass of 25 reception children in an inner city primary. I have a core of 10 children mainly boys who are very difficult. They have very poor concentration and low ability.They do not engage in any thing, When adult focused 1:1 they are mentaninable for about 5 mins. At other times they are disruptive and attention seeking. They are becoming violant to each other and others. They roll around the floor, throw equipment and pull each other around.I have tried star charts and rewards with very little success. I follow the school behaviour policy and have spoken to their parents but they aren't worried as they are only "babies. SMT are aware but have hands full with other children further up the school. I am just wondering if you have any other ideas to try and regain control of my class as the childre who are usually on task and focused are getting disheartened and beginning to miss behaviour for attention. Thanks
     
  3. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Sorry to hear about your troubles with this group.
    The more challenging the behaviour, the clearer and stronger the boundaries need to be; rewards and 'catching them being good' simply won't cut it (besides which, you'll have to be bloody fast with some kids to catch them, and in some instances will need high speed camera traps with strobe flashing to do so) because all they see is that, no matter what they do, something nice happens to them. Which means that you will never modify the behaviours you don't want to see, because all you have done is tried to apply a kind of Darwinism to the misbehaviours, hoping that eventually they will be selected against. Well, that approach might work if you were to teach them and their offspring for generations, but I'm guessing you're looking for something a little bit more targeted.
    So here it is: get tough. Highlight the misbehaviour by attaching strict sanctions to them every time they occur, until, by a simple process of habituation and association, they learn that cometh the naughtiness, cometh the Big Stick. This principle is even more vital for the younger pupils, because they have unsubtle and broad attitudes towards what they do and don't want to do. We're not talking complicated psychologies here- some of them have barely grasped yet that there is a world external to their desires and ambitions yet, so you need to remind them with something memorable.
    You haven't mentioned sanctions, which doesn't mean you haven't tried any of course; the parent phone call is usually a good idea, but if the parents are as unsupportive as you say then that might be a dead end. There are primary kids and there are primary kids; there are some who, even by the age of five have grasped conduct and manners (usually because their parents have made a significant effort to convey them) and others older than that who still apparently believe the world was created to satisfy their smallest whim. The 'they're just babies' argument doesn't cut it. Perhaps we hold some clues here as to the genesis of their awful behaviour? No matter.
    No matter how strict you are, get more strict; put on your game face every day and keep the smiles for private moments. They need to see you as the disciplinarian now, not the Easter Bunny. Don't shout too much, but when you do, make it short and terrifying to heighten the impact. Tell them what your rules are, and what will happen to them if they break them. Then EVERY time that they do, apply a sanction, and make sure it's a real one:
    Real sanctions: isolation: losing Golden Time; getting seriously told off; doing lines (if they're old enough); missing break; after school detention; losing privileges.
    Pretend sanctions: being spoken to with patience and love; doing detentions where they can play, or talk to others, or do anything they like.
    It's going to be hard work, but they need to get something like that every single time they act up, so that they realise that you aren't to be messed with. Unless they have something seriously wrong with them, every child in the world can be brought to heel if they are treated the right way. The problem here is that you have so many. So divide and conquer- seat them apart, don't let them play together, and try not to detain them altogether at once in order to give yourself some space to deal with them.
    Oh, and even if the parents are being a bit rubbish, you can still keep up the pressure on them to help you- with many of them, they just need to realise that the troublesome one child they have to deal with, becomes part of an enormous problem when they become part of a pack in your classroom. And if you keep on at them, they may get the message. Or you may just annoy them into helping. Who cares? Results are results, and the child wins (and so do you). Some parents unfortunately see school as a holding pen they can dump their offspring into. Most don't.
    Good luck
    http://behaviourguru.blogspot.com/
     
  4. I read your response with interest as I have a very similar reception class this year and I can say that the only thing that has really worked with them is being very very tough. Clear simple rule and expectations and clear and simple sanctions that are swiftly carried out. And they do cry and tantrum - but that's because they are learning for the first time that unpleasant things happen with unpleasant behaviour. Of course, I also lavish them with priase whenever I can too, usually for the tiniest things, like managing to engage with something for a few minutes. I still have exasperating days - but when I think of where we have come from, we've come a long way.
    The other thing that has really helped too is taking the time to help the parents. Once I have got through the defensive exterior I usually find parents at their wits end with no idea of how to parent and be consistent. Its a delicate job - as its hard not to apprear patronising, but taking the time to acknowledge how hard parenting is, or sharing a comment or two about how my own kids exasperate me has enable me to get them on side. I link rewards and stickers with home too. Some of my kids get a sticker or point, time with the sparkly box/ disney toy (whatever does it for them) if their parents tell me they went to bed properly the night before etc. I now have some of my most difficult parents working with me and they really feel like they are gaining control. Most outwardly agressive parents do want the best for their kids, however most of them also see schools as against them. It takes a lot of effort to build trust and break down these barriers - but it really does make a difference.
    Yes- it takes alot of extra effort. And I teach full-time and am on the SMT so I could do without it. But it really helps.
     
  5. Miss Piggywig

    Miss Piggywig New commenter

    Thanks for your replies. As a school we have sanctions which I always use, Think I will sit down with the group and set clear santions for them. I will keep informing parents and see if they become any more supportive. One problem is 1 of these children has major tanturms that involve him having to be removed from the classroom and all the outside teams that have been into class have told us to ignore him and leave him to say no and do what he wants as he has no additional support. I think the others see this and think well he gets away with it. Well its monday again tomorrow each week seems to be getting harder.
     
  6. silver2003

    silver2003 New commenter

    You have a very difficult job on your hands so all I can do is offer my humble advice. I work in a primary EBD school and we do have younger children come to us. Children in general will find it difficult to focus for any length of time at this age. Although you have identified that they seem less able to focus than the others.
    Here are my ideas - may not be of any benefit as the youngest I have worked with is yr 3-4
    Have them working apart.
    reward good concentration where pos ignore undesired behaviour. (not always pos just need to monitor and adjust)
    Stop them before they get to the stage of being unsettled so they become more used to experiencing success. Then with time you can extend this period.
    Find out as much about them as you can their strengths and weaknesses etc what they like and enjoy and try to incorporate this into your planning.
    Could have golden time for those that focus well throughout the day.

     

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