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Dear Tom, low level disruption, but constant irritant!

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by mooncheek, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. mooncheek

    mooncheek New commenter

    I'd be very grateful for any help- I've been teaching for 6 years and just moved from year 5 to year 6 this year. They are a lovely, small class and I really shouldn't moan, but there is just one rather irritating boy who cannot seem to stop himself from calling out, wandering around the classroom during worktime , grabbing other lads as they cross the room to go past him,(all matey type stuff, not meant nastily, but annoying to them and me)and generally lacking in any focus when 'working' or 'reading'!! His work is poor and his ability is worth more but he finds concentrating so hard.
    He is pleasant enough but just can't seem to help it. He's like a puppet on a string! I've tried appealing to his better nature, (he can't seem to keep up any good behaviour for longer than 2 mins) speaking to his mum (she was ok, but said the usual 'he's a lad, eh, what can you do?') and sometimes make him sit alone, which works best. However, I'm not following any proper strategy or plan and just tend to move him or keep him in when he pushes my buttons, which feels unprofessional.

    I'd be very grateful for some idea of what I can do-is it mean to make him sit alone regularly?
    Thank you.
     
  2. mooncheek

    mooncheek New commenter

    I'd be very grateful for any help- I've been teaching for 6 years and just moved from year 5 to year 6 this year. They are a lovely, small class and I really shouldn't moan, but there is just one rather irritating boy who cannot seem to stop himself from calling out, wandering around the classroom during worktime , grabbing other lads as they cross the room to go past him,(all matey type stuff, not meant nastily, but annoying to them and me)and generally lacking in any focus when 'working' or 'reading'!! His work is poor and his ability is worth more but he finds concentrating so hard.
    He is pleasant enough but just can't seem to help it. He's like a puppet on a string! I've tried appealing to his better nature, (he can't seem to keep up any good behaviour for longer than 2 mins) speaking to his mum (she was ok, but said the usual 'he's a lad, eh, what can you do?') and sometimes make him sit alone, which works best. However, I'm not following any proper strategy or plan and just tend to move him or keep him in when he pushes my buttons, which feels unprofessional.

    I'd be very grateful for some idea of what I can do-is it mean to make him sit alone regularly?
    Thank you.
     
  3. mooncheek

    mooncheek New commenter

  4. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Hi MC
    Sounds like a strategy to me. A boy like this sounds, not bad, just inattentive to the needs of others, and you're quite right to think it needs amending. Like you say, don't just respond to his behaviour; anticipate it, and have a plan in place. I suggest:
    1. Reboot the relationship expectations: tell him clearly and without being soft, what you expect of him, and what unacceptable behaviour looks like. Tell him clearly what will happen to him if he doesn't follow these expectations. Tell him what will happen if he does. Ask him if he understands. (You've probably done this, but start from square one if you haven't. Really make it clear. The danger is that if you've been inconsistent with him he gets mixed messages about what is acceptable- or what he can get away with.
    2. Change your expectations. It isn't just lad behaviour. Lads come in all sizes. He will behave as you and others allow him to. Don't expect his better nature to shine through though; it assumes he accepts your behaviour conventions as ideal, when clearly he doesn't.
    3. Move him permanently to a place of isolation (within the classroom preferably) so that he can't misbehave in the way you describe (grabbing etc). The second he shouts out, you apply a sanction, or assign one. If he calls out twice or three times in a row before that sanction is realised, he gets removed to another place more distant; arrange this in advance- who will do it, and where they go.
    4. Make it clear that reintegration to classes/ groups is dependent on acceptable behaviour. Keep reinforcing this. Don't bother with any more chats to him about behaviour. He gets it. He just doesn't care. You need to make him care a bit by associating removal with his misbehaviour.
    This is seriously important for him and you- if he doesn't learn now, he'll probably carry this behaviour on into secondary and beyond, having underachieved all the way. A lot of hard work from you could be the difference between that and a better future.
    Good luck to you.
    <i style="color:#1f1f1f;font-family:Arial,sans-serif;line-height:16px;background-color:#e5f4fb;">Read more from Tom here on his personal blog, and follow him here on Twitter.[/i]
     
  5. mooncheek

    mooncheek New commenter

    Tom, thanks so much for taking the time to give me such a very full and careful response. I really do want to tackle the situation well and will take on board all of your advice. I think that I have probably spent more time expressing my annoyance to the boy than I have in positively explaining my expectations and this will be a very good place to begin. I'm also going to feel a lot better now about sitting him on his own on a permanent basis without feeling guilty, as I have dithered over this, although I can see that it does work.It was a revelation to read your point that 'he gets it, he just doesn't care', as I think I have been soppy enough to believe that kids basically all care if only I can get through to them. Thinking back now, to similar kids I've taught, I can see that this was true of them too really-they didn't give a monkey's and a tougher approach could have worked.
    Thanks again,
     

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