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Early Years Behaviour

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by fab208, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. fab208

    fab208 New commenter

    Hello, EYFS specialists. I wonder if you have any words of wisdom to share. I have observed my FS teacher twice and found that there are some problems with behaviour. During free flow and activities, they are great... the activities and the learning is really positive and the children are fully engaged in interesting and absorbing tasks. The teacher has worked hard on this, and is a good teacher, so please don't think I am criticising her.
    The problem lies with any kind of whole class session: story, circle time etc, where the children constantly shout out, fidget, don't listen and are generally learning little. This was a problem at the first observation, but they had not been in school for long and the children were learning those skills. However, the last observation was far worse, and the children were really difficult. They are very exuberant and excitable - not doing anything unkind - but I am concerned at the quality of learning in those sessions and at the implications for PSED scores. If they can't take turns, listen to each other etc then it is a problem.
    Last Wednesday they had a supply teacher who is a very experienced FS practitioner and she has said that they are the most difficult group to manage that she has known. Their behaviour could certainly be interpreted as rude and unruly.
    I have discussed it with the classteacher and she is aware of the problem but many of the strategies she has used just don't seem to make any impact. I am really concerned that we now have only one term left for her to get on top of this and improve their habits and attitudes. She doesn't keep them all together for very long so it isn't about them sitting for ages on end.
    Does anyone have really good strategies for discouraging the calling out, turning their backs on the teacher, talking to each other, getting up and wondering off, generally 'annoying' one another, 'answering back'/arguing the point!? My view is that this should be sorted out by now through consistent high expectations but ...... any suggestions are welcome.
  2. What positive praise does the class teacher use? I had similar problems to start with and even now some children need reminding not to shout out. However they are much better behaved. I ensure I give lots of praise to those who sit and listen and give them stickers for their reward chart. I have a sunshine/cloud/rain cloud for behaviour management. All the children start the day on the sunshine and are moved to the cloud if they misbehave. This has certainly improved behaviour.
    As for the children talking to each other I suggest she gets one of them to change places with another child. Does the children have talking partners?
    What is her class voice like? Although I don't encourage shouting, it sounds like she needs to do so now and again to demonstrate her authority over the class. They need to know she is the boss.
    Perhaps she needs to spend some circle time talking about class rules encouraging the children to talk about the rules and why we have them although I am sure she has already tried this.
  3. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    I like the sunshine and cloud idea! Might be pinching that!
    In group sessions there is lots of training needed for children, some of the methods are individual, part of the patter of early years... and some work for some teachers and not for others. Consistency and behavioural expectations come into it to.
    Little games to get their attention are useful. One nursery nurse I know, taps her shoulders and gets eye contact with the children who are copying her, then she changes and taps her knees and so on until all the children are ready.... it works well for her.
    Some teachers sit quietly and do not give any eye contact until the moment is ripe, then they launch into a song or simple activity or a call to attention such as "Are we ready yet?" to signal the start of the session. Children pick this up quickly if it is routine. "Why can't we start x ?" is non confrontational and useful - there are many more actions and signals for quieting a group.
    Routine use of class stoppers works too. Show me your hands is a good example. Just like they do in cubs/brownies in fact. It works on silence and is very useful.
    I find a pin drop useful too. I want to hear a pin drop says I then drop something like a counter into a tin or see through box of plastic.........they really listen hard when they get the hang of this - link to a weekly reward of some sort - counting out the counters to see how many they got.....
    but if they are being deliberately and wilfully challenging, well, hmmmmm
    Then they need to be shown how to sit and how to listen and spend some group sessions securing this with stickers and so on - they really really need to be trained - even with exclusion or other sanctions being the order of the day. Give stickers liberally at first, decrease over time - the strategy of unpredicatble rewards eventually kicks in here.
    Also they should spend a session making rules for group time and display these with pictures to reinforce what is required.
    If this group does not settle for year one teacher then the year one teacher must spend time training them to work as a group.
    See also movement games like follow the leader to find out which individuals intentionally undermine the teacher's authority. The clowns and the ring leaders!
  4. fab208

    fab208 New commenter

    Thank you so much for the helpful advice. I agree that this is going to need to be a real focus for her to crack it and - as she is a gentle and quiet person - she is going to have to up the ante and let them know when she isn't happy with their behaviour.
  5. How long are her class sessions? We were advised our children were sitting too long, and we now make sessions 10 mins or at the very most 15. Lots of talk partners(we're beginning to use turn to your partner as in read write inc so it's a quick response to the phrase), thumbs up/down to show what individuals think. I also think FS can sometimes lack "pace" horrible word but |Iknow that I sometimes faff around for a few minutes while class getting to focus area and that sets the pace and tone of the session. We're trying to make sessions short and meaningful so all children engaged and take into account SEN, EAL, behaviour prob children by briefing support staff to support those children in the session.
    A great help when establishing routine were cards to show "good listening";good sitting, ears listening, eyes looking, lips closed, brain boxes on. Original idea came from ********** but I've since made my own. Now I can show quickly cards with actions and ch adjust sitting etc.

    Lots and lots of praise and stickers for good listeners.
  6. In Reception, I have used things like praising the child who is sitting the way you want (be extreem!), starting a song or a 'everybody copy this' sequence.
    Teach them that when the adult in charge claps a sequence, they have to clap it back as accurately as possible and then listen, I found that worked quite well.
    Counting the children who are sitting and ready - "One super person sitting nicely, ooooh! Two, no - THREE amazing super people ready and listening...."
    I have also used the sun/cloud/rain technique. Every child was given a peg with their photo glued to it and had to move their own peg when they were given a 'warning' - make sure that moving the peg back up onto the sun is achievable too.
    Sticker charts for tables or groups, the table who works quietest for the session gets a sticker on their chart, the table with the most stickers at the end of the week/fortnight/term wins a reward (10 mins extra play works really well in reception, even though all children enjoy one tables reward!).
    Seating plan. Have a big rug with squares/dots or the alphabet on. Give them a seating space just for them and ensure children who disturb each other are not close to each other, this can help children who need support also, by placing them on the edge so they are close to a TA. Some disruption can be caused by pupils who need some support during sessions.... requring longer to process the information or not fully understanding new concepts so talking with someone else out of boredom.....
    Hope some of these are helpful for you. :)
  7. May2

    May2 Established commenter

    Our reception class introduced learning places at carpet time. They didn't have any fancy mats or alphabet squares the teacher just stuck about four rows of parcel tape across the floor worked out where she wanted each child to sit, not next to anyone or behind anyone that would cause trouble together. Within a couple of days they knew their places and very quickly sit in them now without the fussing of who they want to sit next to.

  8. This year I too have had an extrremely likely group who took a long time to settle despite all the strategies I usually use and they still call out a bit (which sometimes I have to reign in by saying something really positive like ' i'm really pleased so many of you are so keen to contribute but we must remember to listen to each other, so please put up your hand so we can take it in turns to talk')
    I've used all of the above suggestions - sunshine/ cloud thing is great - now I just move the names across without saying anything and evryone goes quiet.
    Also exagerated positive acknowledgement for those sitting well is very effective - I try to ignore others not conforming but sometimes a firm 'I'd like you to come and sit down /stop talking now!' is needed too.
    And generally any non - verbal, attention attracting things like 'do as I do' followed by exagerated praise for those who followed you straight away.
    But I find that a puppet works like magic. I introduce my friend Robert the Rabbit as being very shy and he doesn't like it when the children are noisy or being rude by not listening or not sitting down on the carpet. So when they are quiet and sitting he whispers in my ear and I say ' Do you think so? Oh yes .. I think you are right , x is sitting really well' then he whispers again and the children still sit like mice waiting to hear what he has to say. If children do shout out or get up Robert whispers to me that he doesn't want to play at the moment because even though so many children are sitting beautifully, one or two aren't and that upsets him, so he gets put away and may make an appeareance later if everyone is quiet and listens really well.
    Carpet places are also excellent - I used to put down rows of masking tape to help the children but now I just make a plan (it takes a bit of sorting out with deciding who to keep apart and where to put the most disruptive - usually I find immediately in front of me is the best place) but now I just tell the children where to sit as this involves lots of poitional language. i tell them it is their special carpet space and not to worry if they are not next to the person they want to be next to as we don't sit for long and they can chose who to play with during choosing time. we've had one or two ammendments over the year for different reasons and sometimes I offer the really sensible ones who ended up at the back the chance to swop to the front but mostly they like to stay where they are - it seems to offer a little security and insecurity is often a reason for disruptive behaviour.

  9. oops - so many typos!
    Lively not Likely. Extremely
    and probably more too

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