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Happy to work but not listen.

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by franscaz, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Hello,

    I'm half way through my NQT year and have an issue with a couple of classes. Particularly y8 and 9 set 3's (of 4).
    Both classes are happy to complete work when they understand, and they want to understand in order to complete the work - which is great!
    I have made the classic mistake of not being rigorous enough with sanctions for not listening/ talking while I'm waiting to speak which I am sorting out (for sure!) this half term.

    In the mean time does anyone have any advice about getting students to learn and not just complete a series of 10quick questions (i'm maths) type exercises that requires as little teacher lead stuff as possible?

    I have fallen into really depressing lesson where I talk for a bit and try to encourage some discussion or just some questioning, this will often take 3 times as long as it should because I am stopping and waiting for quiet so often. Then I give out the work, end up explaining the task to small groups of students who weren't listening the first time and then hope I don't have to get them to stop and listen again so just do the teaching bit to individuas/groups as they are ready to move on.

    I have two barriers to setting the kind of work I am envisaging! 1- i am really restricted in the amount of printing I can do at school due to budget; 2- the students have not really had experience of learning independently (except the relatively unsuccessful attempts I have made since sept). So any kind of rich or investigational task requires a lot of checkpoints and structure I.e. Stopping and listening.

    From what I've read I guess lots of people have had/are having similar experience, if anyone has tried ANYTHING for this kind of problem I would love to hear it!

    Thank you :)
  2. Chazette

    Chazette New commenter

    You can't do any kind of groupwork/discussion work until you have control of the class. That needs to be your priority. Go in and explain your rules. Anyone going against those rules - use the school behaviour policy and sanction appropriately. Ask for help from a member of SLT - i was struggling witha Y9 class in Sept - SLT came and spoke, and we're bang on track now.
    I also use the line 'do it wrong' and walk away with pupils that don't listen during the discussions/explanations. Pupils soon get embarrased about not being able to do it, and will listen next time. It also means i can give my time to the students that genuinely need help.
    [For the record, I do go back after 5 mins and check what theyve done to see what if anything needs changing!]

  3. Chazette

    Chazette New commenter

    Yep. A blank piece of paper tells you nothing, while an attempted question done wrong helps you see where they need help. Sometimes they do it wrong and you help, other times they do it right and their confidence in their own ability is boosted.
    For the kids that are just being rude, saying do it wrong catches them offguard and theyre embarrased when they see others working away around them, they'll ask someone next to them, and they will listen at the next stage in the lesson.
    Pupil of the week always works well for me too!
  4. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    I've been exactly the same as you and was having minimal time when I spoke to the class as I knew it was difficult to get them to listen.
    Over the last month I have realised that this is not acceptable and that having to explain to different groups who did not listen was both time consuming and meant I did not have control of the class.
    So about a month ago I decided to change my way of doing things. Firstly, I refused to talk over students and at times this has meant me standing there waiting for their attention quietly (which in my experience never works). Counting down from 5 sometimes works but I have found that the only thing that really works is having zero tolerance.
    I immediately move the offenders to different seats or send them out of the room briefly, I also find that raising my voice works. I have never really been one to shout but with my classes, they are so used to me not shouting that when I do they all immediately shut up. I have also set examples of persistent offenders by parking them which seems to have sent a clear message. In addition, I also make a note of students who have talked when I have, recorded these minutes and made them stay behind at break/lunch for that amount of time.
    If I have given the class instructions, I pick students from around the room to repeat back to me what they need to do.
    I am still on a very steep learning curve and have a long way to go but when I think about how far I've come in five months, it is amazing! I have made so many mistakes over the last few months and am only really getting to grips with behaviour now. It sounds to be like you are doing really well.

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