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Dear Tom... non-elective year 8 music class... help!

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Tom_Bennett, May 11, 2011.

  1. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Right, as you say this is serious, because it's damaging the learning of others, putting some kids off, and driving you up the wall. You've mentioned that they were given a 'good talking to.' That's great, but if nothing else happens to these kids, then for many children, that's no deterrent at all. A ticking off? I imagine that many kids would say 'Big Deal'.
    Seating plans and lining up are good strategies, but they're not deal-makers (sorry: just watched Apprentice). In order to see improvement in these kids, then they need to know that disobeying you is going to cause them discomfort, and that inevitably means something not unadjacent to a detention. Are you using sanctions? There will be, as you say, a core of trouble makers who are setting the standard for behaviour in the room. I've never taught music, but I've observed plenty of lessons, and I salute the music teachers who can keep order in such a noisy environment. You, as a musical professional should discern between those who are following instructions and trying, and those who just want to make a racket.
    Warn them before you start that sanctions are on special offer today; then make a list of those who cross you and make the lesson hell. Then set detentions to them all; and then attend the detention. Tick them off, and move on; repeat, repeat, repeat. If they don't attend, then escalate.
    The approach needs to be more direct; in their faces a little. Show them that you and your education are not to be trifled with. Oh, and if they mug you off for your fine Scots accent (*puts down bagpipes*) then they can do a little time with you after school as well where you can discuss manners, racism and respect. Call their parents, and involve line management. This kind of classroom abuse needs to be stamped on, because you're worth much more than this.
    Take it away, maestro! Good luck.
  2. Thank you Tom! I DO use sanctions. I regularly keep them in at lunchtime.... they don't care. The mistake I've been making is using that time to try and reason with them. Sometimes I get them to write me an essay, on how they could help make music class better. They all write "I should be quiet, and treat the teacher with respect.... etc, etc, etc. They know WHAT to say, but they don't do it! At the start of the lesson, I have already pre - written on the board what I expect to get through which could be something like "!5 minutes theory/listening...... 30 minutes practical" Although, most of them want "prac" even if it means half of them are either banging haphazardly on the instruments, or not doing anything as soon as I'm not focussed directly on them... it doesn't work. There's a core of ringleaders in the class who are hell-bent on making my life hell. Since getting your advice, I have insisted with the student manager, that the most disruptive boy be permanently removed from my class, and the option to send at least two more to senior classes with written work, if they disrupt my lessons, so hopefully that will make things better, and show this class that I mean business. I've also suggested to the genuinely musical boys, that they politely apply a bit of peer pressure to their more disruptive friends. I don't have this class again until next week, so I'll see how it goes and report back. Thank you again.

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