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Dear Tom - some advice needed!

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by star17, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. Hi Tom

    I'm in the early stages of my career and have got a job as a Year 2 teacher at a new school. I have briefly met my new class. One of the boys, I have been told, has severe Behaviour and Social/Emotional difficulties. During the short lesson I taught he was constantly shouting out (not the answer - just random noises) and being very distracting - moving around a lot etc. He has no recognised condition as it were, but is very low across the board.

    I know it may be hard to give advice as you don't know the reasons for the shouting etc. but just wanted advice on how I should manage his behaviour in the first few weeks. In the event that he is shouting out whilst I'm teaching should I pick him up on this each time (e.g. that's your second warning/third warning etc) or should I ignore some of it? It seems that I shouldn't ignore it as the other pupils have a right to learn but then I don't want the situation whereby he is being kept in every playtime etc as would rather have a positive approach.

    Any suggestions would be gratefully received thanks.
     
  2. Is it possible to speak to his previous teacher?
    They must have had strategies in place. If he is low across the board, does he have an IEP with a behaviour target on it?
    If there is nothing in place at the moment at all would it be possible for him to spend some time with an experienced TA creating an IBP, writing social stories etc so he can be explicitly told what behaviour is acceptable and what is not and have a personalised system of rewards and sanctions for him.
    As for the shouting out,you could try to have a whole class lecture, day 1, on what you expect and what the consequences are for digressing (with visual aids) and refer back as necessary.
    Good luck!
     
  3. Thank you very much for your very useful response. I talked to his previous teacher who told me "We have tried everything. Nothing works!" So not a very helpful reply and she has now moved on to a new school. I will definitely be following your advice. Thanks again.
     
  4. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Hi Star17
    What's really interesting here is that the pupil has no diagnosed condition, or identified medical issue- in that case, one of the things you're going to have to do is put the needs of every other single member of the class on the same level of importance as this student. He simply cannot be allowed to ruin the learning of the rest of the group. My worry is that if you indulge him, make allowances for his behaviour, or make exceptions for his outbursts, then you set a confusing and damaging precedent for the rest of the class to follow; many will undoubtedly realise that if HE can get away with it then so can they. And undoubtedly many will think it fun to copy him.
    So in order to prevent him rebooting the behavioural paradigm of the entire room, I'm afraid that you;re going to have to apply strategies that minimise the impact of his behaviour on the learning space. It's admirable that you want to have a 'positive' approach, but would allowing him to ruin everyone's lesson be positive? Positive can mean many things. To me, it means 'doing the right thing for as many as possible'.
    If you remove him from the class whenever he has an outburst then you save the class from further disruption, and you teach him (by isolation, a soft but useful sanction for the younger pupil) that his behaviour is unacceptable in mainstream communities. It isn't 'negative' to do so- it could be the saving of all parties: the class, his learning, and your sanity.
    If you tolerate him whenever he does this, then he can learn to get away with it; by indulging his desires, you reinforce them, and make it harder for him to change his ways as he gets older. What could be more negative than that?
    Do try to see if he can be looked at by an Ed Psych if his behaviour persists. There may be an underlying cause. But it's a mistake to believe that all such children have 'got' a condition, and that excuses them from mainstream approaches of reward and sanction- it assumes that people (and children) are just little robots, propelled by deterministic forces beyond their control. Have you considered that this little boy might just be selfish, naughty and attention seeking? None of these conditions are incurable, and with time, they can be trained out.
    I like the TA suggestion above. But you need to coordinate sanctions (yes, playtimes in if needs be, and as many as necessary) along with discussions with the parents etc. Ig his behaviour persists, he may need special provision, intervention startegies, etc. But for the good of everyone, don't indulge him out of a sense of compassion. True compassion sometimes requires resolve, determination and tough love.
    Good luck
    Read more from Tom here on his personal blog, or follow him on Twitter here.
     
  5. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    I love you Tom! I was going to add quotes from you, for bits I approved of, and then I realised it was practically the whole thing! Thank goodness there is someone out there saying, 'actually this child doesn't have a 'condition'.....they are just badly behaved'. And they need to stop ruining everyone else's day by being allowed to get away with it. I have taught many, many children who have behaved perfectly well in my classes whilst being appallling in other people's. The difference was generally that if they behaved badly in mine, then the consequences were fairly unpleasant. Too many pupils have benefitted from being able to do as they like without fear. If there are no consequences to your bad behaviour then why would you alter it? Love your thoughts on 'positive' approach! On a positive note....I have found that even the thickest kid doesn't take long to decide that he will start to behave if the sanctions applied for poor behaviour outweigh the fun of behaving badly. Vote for Tom!
     
  6. Thank you for both of your advice - an interesting perspective. I am keen to start as I mean to go on so that was really helpful in clarifying that a strict no nonsense approach to the shouting out etc is the way to go. I do believe though that this child isn't just naughty and that I need to get to the root of the problem. Thanks again for your advice.
     
  7. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    Some excellent advice here, OP.
    Firstly, let me explain that I know next to nothing about infant/junior teaching. The thought of a class full of rug-rats terrifies me. As I've said before here, give me a class of bloody-minded 16 year olds any day.
    However, as well as the above, I would make it my quest to involve every outside agency for the support of this boy. To my mind, from what you have described, he needs a statement and the phrase he's got no condition is a load of toffee. Even if they can't give a diagnosis as such, he needs support for the sanity of everyone in the room. A statement would bring money for a TA for him. Yes, he might just be a naughty boy, but that's no consolation for yourself or the other children.
    In the past, I have taught 'naughty boys' who might have been cute aged 7 but are complete monsters at 14. His behaviour needs tackling now so my advice would be to make a nuisance of yourself with 'phone calls, emails, haunting your HT etc. Eventually you will break them down and they'll do something just to get you off their back's. It takes confirmed resolution on your part-there will be days when you'll wonder if it's worth it but it is worth the effort for you, the boy and, importantly, all the other kids.
    The very best of luck.

     
  8. I completely agree - I am going to make it my mission to get everything I need! Thanks again to everybody for the advice. I really appreciate it.
     

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