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HAS behaviour got worse?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by jubilee, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I agree. Behaviour was bad enough 10 years ago but it's far worse now.
    The last 10 yeras have seen the development of Pupil Voice, whereby pupils are even used to observe lessons and pass judgement on the teacher. Pupils are on job interview panels.
    In some school's a pupil's ersion of a classroom incident is given equal weight with a teacher's and sanctions imposed by the teacher may be cancelled if no-one else in the class will be a witness. The end result is that pupils know that they can misbehave with impunity and feel that's it's always worthwhile coming up with a story to counter the teacher's account.
  2. That might make it worse, but returning teachers are saying the same things here in Oz and we don't have anywhere near the same level of UK education nonsense.
    I have a horrible feeling it's *society*, with some issues affecting child-raising and the general lack of civility in social interaction. All come together in a multiplied (rather than additive) way in schools.
  3. I think it depends on the school. Battleground schools have existed since at least the early sixties. However, then they were a rarity, capable of getting national attention. Since then they have become more and more common and different schools caved into chaos at different times. By the late nineties they were common enough for people to be writing books that assumed them to be common but still a minority. So I wouldn't say that all schools faced worse behaviour in the last ten years, but it might well be in the last ten years that the battleground schools became the majority.
    I wrote about some of this here and here.
  4. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    In the past, even 'nice' schools had the odd problem pupil, but I think it's now that even the pupils who would have been teachable (coining that new word, we need it now) know that they can 'get away' with bad behaviour. Do SMT actively encourage it with these policies?
  5. mooncheek

    mooncheek New commenter

    I agree with what has been said about 'society'. Sorry, but I'm an old codger.When I was a kid(40 years ago) my mother would've backed the teachers to the hilt if one of us kids was in trouble at school -in fact, she would have been terribly embarrassed she was actually quite in awe of the teachers, possibly feeling inferior to them. We would have been punished at home (as well at school), not physically, but by doing extra chores/staying in/missing a treat. This isn't my experience of many parents nowadays as a teacher.It's more 'how could you tell my Chloe/Jack off?They can't have done anything wrong'.I'm not sure whether it's because we now live in more of a consumer society, where we expect to get what we want, or whether it's because professionals are now more accessible and approachable?
  6. jillinthebox

    jillinthebox New commenter

    When I was at school we had one "loose cannon" kid in our entire primary school. He stormed out of a lesson once and we all sat there dumbfounded with shock, jaws on the floor.
    These days every single class seems to have 2 or 3 of them, backed up with a group of trusty followers who wander in and out of lessons at will - and the kids just shrug their shoulders with a weary sigh and tell you, "He's always like that Miss." They all generally have an attached TA whose job is beg, coax and cajole them into writing a sentence and then reward them with 5 stickers and two hours on the computers... there are no consequences for these kids and others pick up on that and realize if they act the same way - they'll get these rewards, plus teaching staff are so busy managing these kids who will kick off - that other behaviour that would have been picked up on goes by the by under the radar.
    Even in the 8 years I've been teaching I've seen it plumet year on year - society doesn't value schools, sees us as profiteering scoundrels on the make, out to just upset their kid purposely - and needing to be repeatedly challenged because we dare ask for 75p trip money... the word "no" seems to have disappeared from the vocabulary of the nation's parents and we're the first place they come to where they're greeted with the unspeakable horror that they're not perfect, telling yer mum to "eff off you stupid b" is NOT in fact hilarious and delightful (it might be funny aged 3 - funnily mums don't find it as amusing aged 11 and taller than them), and that their behaviour has consequences. Behavioural support from the LEA can be useless as well - we had one who, to "relate to the child", joined him mid-lesson sat under the table yelling strings of obscenities... another who told us "the child has issues with being told no to something - try to avoid saying no to him." Fine yeah, buy us a quiet few years but sooner or later the child will be a man, and someone in society will say no to him - and then what will the consequences be?
    Society basically is going to hell in a handbasket.
  7. Indeed it is. I have had pupils this year (year 6) who have called me and other members of staff c**t and wh**e, smashed in doors, come in to school in nicked outfits (we have a school uniform), etc etc, (these are 11 year olds)... and the severest consequence they have got has been an "internal exclusion". I was browsing the web looking for stuff out there on behaviour management and I came across Craig Seganti. I've downloaded it, it's great. However, I'm not sure if my school's zealous pursuit of a Rights of the child Respecting charter mark will mean that I can adopt his methods. But they're the best I've ever heard.

  8. <font size="3">I'm going to put the cat among the pigeons here, and suggest that the Education system has some responsibility for the current attitudes of the children in class.</font><font size="3"> </font><font size="3">Now before you all turn 'Gripper Stebson' on me for suggesting such a thing (those Grange Hill fans from the 80's will know who that is). For those of you in Secondary school at the start of Eighties try and remember what it was like, as a pupil or teacher.</font><font size="3"> </font><font size="3">The education system was rebelling against the Tory Government and was pretty much on strike every other month (or so it seemed). On the days school was running normally the general attitude was one of a Socialist and Liberal mantra towards the students. It was here that the introduction of 'let them express themselves' first came about. Physical punishment was removed and the height of the Comprehensive experiment tried to paint a picture of an all-inclusive Utopia. All the strict teachers left to work in Grammar and Private schools where they could still thrash pupils with sticks with nails driven through them.</font><font size="3"> </font><font size="3">The point I&rsquo;m getting at is that schools started the freedom of expression and liberal attitudes towards children and their behaviour; &lsquo;they need love and attention not punishment&rsquo;. I remember writing a rude word on a desk, and as punishment was given a block of chalk and told to 'express myself on the playground' so I ended up drawing large boobies and c**ks on the playground instead, much to the amusement of my peers!</font><font size="3"> </font>Those kids are now the parents who&rsquo;s darlings do no wrong, so we have an Education system stuck with the aftermath of its own making. (On a side note, if my kids behaved in the manner some of my students do, I would drive some large nails through a stick and go all Gripper Stebson on their ass! Thankfully they don&rsquo;t they behave a lot better than I did at school) [​IMG]
  9. This is just nonsense. Hard left teachers had been around since the 1920s, however teachers generally tended to vote Tory until the 1987 general election after the Tories had declared war on the profession. The great teaching strike of the eighties was 1984-1986. The abolition of corporal punishment was in 1987 at the instigation of the Tory government after a ruling in the European Court of Human Rights. The move towards more comprehensives had stopped in 1980.
  10. You shouldn't be sorry. I believe you.
    I am currently researching behaviour for my Masters thesis. Nearly all recent evidence, from academic research or Government/Union surveys, point to behaviour improving in schools. I can't comment on wider society though. That said is very difficult to compare like with like and trying to compare a class from 1920, 1950, 1980 and 2010 is practically impossible because there are so many other extraneous variables that can not be controlled.
    What does worry me is that we seem to be replacing evidence based comment with anecdote. Just turn into any radio or TV discussion show to see. And furthermore research referenced by Ben Goldacre has shown that even when people are given the solid evidence to refute their belief system (eg behaviour is not getting worse, immigrants are not killing swans and eating them etc) they simply ignore this and become more sure of their belief (or should that be prejudice?).
    Anyway if you are getting good results by being confident, fair and following advice and policy then well done. As teachers we all have a tendency to dwell on negatives and not celebrate our success. It is something we could all change with our own behaviour.
  11. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    At a time when concern is growing about abuse of alcohol and drugs and their use by ever younger children, it beggars belief that anyone can accept the survey evidence of improved behaviour in schools generally.
    The Police are struggling to cope with out of control teens on the street. Does the public really accept that those same teens are suddely able to control themselves when they arrive in school hung-over, coming down from their weekend drugs binge and lacking in sleep and proper nutrition?
    What is actually happening , in my opinion, is that we have young teachers for whom the behaviours displayed are unremarkable, as they experienced similar in their recent schooldays. They are more likely to accept the behaviours as normal for adolescents. "They're only children! You've got to expect them to challenge everything; that's what children do." they say. They are less likely to impose sanctions, I believe, and more likely to allow children to 'earn back' sanctions so that no penalty is incurred. They will then claim that they haven't needed to impose DTs because they have good classroom management skills.
    You don't get anywhere in teaching nowadays by making use of a school's behaviour policy and out of lesson provision for belligerent pupils. The paperwork could easily be used as evidence for the teacher not managing behaviour. I've talked to too many teachers in my time on supply who admit that they shut their door and hope that SMT are not patrolling outside when they have their really challenging groups. They don't request support or send the pupils out as it will be interpreted as their failing, even when the pupils are notorious around school.
  12. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    Please quote 3 recent non-NUT surveys of this nature in the UK.

    I&acute;m confused.

    You just told us that "everyone" agrees that behaviour is improving yet now you say it&acute;s too difficult to make a valid comparison. Which is it?
  13. I completely agree. I have one horrific now year 11 who was kicked out of another school and transferred to mine in year 8. He is rude, does no work, throws things at other studentsetc. Pretty much every lesson I send him out - only to be asked why I have to send him out so often when opthers don't. He is just as bad, if not worse, in other lessons I have seen him in but others aren't willing to tackle him and/or look bad to SMT!
  14. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    I am quite lucky in that I work in a reasonably strict state school but serving a 'challenging' pupil population. I went to a grammar in the 70s and have recently come into teaching. I have to say I do find that behaviour is improving for me as I become more established at the school, but it was dire when I was an NQT despite doing all the things I was told to do. Most classes I teach now are very near the standard of behaviour I saw in my grammar school, there are still some rogue ones but even they aren't as bad as the ones I saw in my NQT year. However I don't think I could have improved the behaviour of the children if it wasn't for the back drop of a sensible SLT who think that adults should always be in charge in a school, and who appear to be confident enough in their own ability to ensure teachers do their job rather than relying so much on hearsay from pupils.
    I have always assumed that behaviour is worse when there is a high turnover of staff, including leadership, and now my own experience bears this out. I am always suspicious of 'miracle' teachers who fly up the ladder - usually too quickly - who cannot possibly have gained the breadth of experience necessary for dealing with young people. I hate to say it but I really do think there are too many young 'high-fliers' in permanant interview mode in leadership positions whose skills are shallow as they lack a proper testing over time.
    Lastly Chris Woodhouse gave everyone a green light to rubbish teachers when it suited them, and I don't think we have recovered from it yet.
  15. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    It was pointed out to me at my last long-term school that the Head favoured the 'bright young things' on the staff for promotion. Long-standing teachers felt that the Head wanted 'Yes men and women' in senior positions and knew he was more likely to get acquiescence from fairly recently qualified teachers who were grateful for the promotion.
    The result was a HOY in his mid twenties who had rather inaccurate English grammar and spelling and who needed to get assembly powerpoints vetted by a colleague and end of year reports similarly checked for glaring errors.
    As for behaviour settling down after teacher has been in post for a year or two, I accept that our class management skills improve with experience but I think it is largely a result of pupils moving onto 'fresh meat'. They get more satisfaction from baiting new teachers, whether they be newly qualified or just new to the school.
    My last HOD admitted that he took up the post after being a 2nd in dept elsewhere. He said it took him a full school year to achieve the classroom behaviour that he had established in his last school. He hadn't suddenly lost his teaching and pupil management skills when he started at the new school; the pupils simply didn't know him and decided that he was fair game. He said that things turned around more quickly than for other new teachers because the pupils came to understand that he was the senior person in the department, who was more likely to ring home or write to parents. It would have taken longer had he been a simple teacher in the department.
    I have mentioned it before on thse threads but I hope it bears repetition. A deputy head from an inner city school took early retirment and did his first day of supply teaching when I was on teaching practice. It was a challenging school but he had taught at worse in his career. He was covering his specialist subject for the day. He arrived in the staffroom at morning break, ashe-faced, and in shock. He said that he'd always thought that his class management had been honed to perfection over the years and two hours as a supply teacher had made it abundantly clear that pupils' respect and compliant behaviour came not from his teaching stance but from their perceived notion of his importance in the school hierarchy. As a new supply teacher he was the lowest of the low in their eyes and he hadn't managed to teach a single thing to anyone.
  16. garyconyers

    garyconyers New commenter

    Although Richard hasn't returned, probably won't, I'll ask the obvious basic questions that his post needs.
    From the safety of an office, far away from children exhibiting the 'behaviour' you are researching, I presume? Or maybe going into schools, asking the important people who know (SMT), with them showing you sanitised examples of what 'really' goes on in schools?
    If you look at the raw statistics, its easy to show behaviour is improving. There are less permanent exclusions (now that permanent exclusion is expensive, difficult, time-consuming and highlight 'weaknesses' in a school). Less detentions, as explained.
    So people don't believe the statistics when what they see before their very eyes suggests the statistics are wrong? (Statistics produced by people with an agenda)... The majority of teachers I've spoken to with 30+ years experience say behaviour is significantly worse now than when they started teaching - but this can be ignored as its anecdotal!
  17. Sorry I don't often come on the message boards, the reason I responded originally was because I thought it might add some balance to the argument, and offer a bit of support to the person who said they were managing ok. Incidentally I was actually in the process of looking for evidence for my project.
    As I said it is practically impossible to compare anything from years ago with today because lots of other things change in the meantime (nearly all out of the control of the teacher). The two major reviews I can reference are the Steer review and the Elton report (although I concede this is 20 years old now) as well as several Union reports, there is very little other research out there. You are completely right you can't ignore annecdote but as I said before it can't be relied on completely (the mass media love it), also it may not be completely reflective of the whole population.
    My personal <u>opinion</u> is that inequality in society and 'parental choice' have created a multi teared school system. As a result of this academic acheivement and behaviour problems become concentrated in certain schools. That would make for interesting research. Anyway the reason I am investigating behaviour is because it is a complex isssue and is nearly always something I get asked about by non-teachers. By the amount of responses to the original post it is obviously hugely contenscious.
    I shall leave it at that as last time I appeared to open a can of worms! Perhaps I should have posted 'Teachers get too much holiday....' instead... I am joking... !
    PS I don't have an office, I have a classroom (I teach KS2), last year I had 34 in my class with 16 IEPs (5 for behaviour), I'm studying PT for the Masters (and finding it quite hard). In my first few weeks of training (a few years ago) I had a chair thrown accross the room by a rather angry 10 year old. Before I trained I worked in a secondary school as an LSA and saw some very interesting behaviour especially in years 10 and 11. Before that I worked in a factory managing up to 50 people at a time, there was some strange behaviour there I can tell you!

  18. garyconyers

    garyconyers New commenter

    This being the case I apologise and take back my previous comment.
    Good luck with the project.

  19. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    Do please expand on the latter.

    (You can spare me the trouble of repeating the pious, optimistic, politically correct, heavily-blinkered tosh in the former two....As I was there. In the classroom, that is. For both of them. Each of which made Grimm&acute;s Fairy Tales sound like a rocket science manual.)
  20. chicabonita

    chicabonita New commenter

    What I find the hardest to deal with is the casual rudeness and lack of respect. Pupils think nothing of ignoring instructions, answering back, arguing, talking over me and avoiding all work if they can. They then accuse me of 'picking on' them when they find themselves sanctioned. I don't teach one of the most popular subjects and by all accounts that doesn't help, but the expectation that you don't have to have respect or good manners, and that "I don't find it interesting" is a good excuse for any behaviour, is extremely depressing.
    These kids also make general life around school less enjoyable as the attitude pervades throughout their day.

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