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Engaging top set students

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by cmiller27, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. cmiller27

    cmiller27 New commenter

    Hi everyone,
    I have been teaching since September and I teach a top set class once a week. I teach 12 different groups, yet this class are my most challenging.

    There are a few individuals who are quite vocal and distract others. I challenge this low level disruption- but there’s always something to contend with. When I explain tasks, it is evident that some students are not focussed, thus when they are asked to get on with the activity- they are left unsure and disengaged. It feels like a vicious circle each week.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated .
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Could you put the instructions on a powerpoint, but also give the instructions to them printed on paper. Learning to read instructions/explanations is a skill they need to have. If you need to speak and explain something - keep it brief.

    You will find that even after years of teaching, you will give clear instructions then there will always be a few who sit in a daze not knowing what to do. Some individuals struggle to write their name, date and title of the lesson despite being in school for years.

    Perhaps speak to the individuals with another adult present. Explain that one of your rules is to work without distracting others and be specific about what they are doing. Tell them you are going to keep a log of the calling out or whatever it is and if it doesn't stop, you will phone their parents.

    It is a tactic to derail your lessons - nothing more nothing less and you have to address it.

    Use these rules:

    1. Follow instructions fast
    2. Stay on Task
    3. Work without disturbing others

    Explain what behaviours you want to see and those you don't. When you see them doing what you have asked, for example, all are focused, then give praise.

    Don't worry... almost everyone has the same identical problem at one time or another.

    Whatever you do, however, don't let them see they have rattled your cage.
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  3. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    Check with your school mentor for advice about this class and whether this is happening in other lessons. You could also ask to observe them with other teachers so you can establish if there are issues elsewhere and the measures taken by experienced teachers-they also then see you in that context and that may help!
    blueskydreaming and pepper5 like this.
  4. fluffy81212

    fluffy81212 New commenter

    It sounds like you already had a lot of good advice. One thing I would say is that kids at all ages stages and abilities will test everyone. But don't judge too quick, one of the issues with top set pupils is that they may well have spent a lot of their school career bored and not listening because the lessons have been pitched too low. It may not be a factor but consider it when you reflect on how to manage this problem.
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Some good advice from fluffy81212. If you have some very able students in your class, then it can be a massive problem - or a huge advantage. First of all, have lots of rather challenging and open-ended activities available, so they will not sit there getting bored when they have finished the activity that the rest of the class are doing. Try to give the more able students some special task or assignment to keep them busy. Best of all, try to get them to explain something to the rest of the class or coach some of the other students. "You are really good at this, so please explain to the other students how you do it."

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