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How to tackle awkward pupil behaviour

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by lainyp69, May 6, 2019.

  1. lainyp69

    lainyp69 New commenter

    I would appreciate any suggestions... There is a year 5 pupil (in y5/6 class) with several educational and behavioural issues. I have worked with the policies put in place, no shouting, calm environment, own area to relax, fiddle toys, ect; I have respected the parents' wishes of not expecting to push the child beyond their capabilities (working at y2 ) as discussed by the SENCO. However, the child is still being disruptive and argumentative. There is constant low level disruption (talking, breaking/ hiding equipment, banging, ect) and when challenged they deny that they are doing it or argue that no one is being distracted. There is also a lot of physical contact (pushing /shoving/ barging through ). I ignore a lot of the less significant distractions/ behaviour and I try not to just speak to this child, as this agrevates the situation, and try to encourage all the children to be respectful to everyone. There are times when I do only speak to the child, which I usually do privately.
    Whatever I try just does not work, or will for a while. I have spoken to SLT who encourage me to continue as I am but I feel that it is becoming more detrimental to the other pupils, both academic and social, and to me. I am beginning to dread having to deal with it each day, breathing a sigh of relief when the child is not in class.
    I am usually able to deal with this type of behaviour, however, I am at a total loss. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can deal with this? Or is there something I have missed to do? Thanks.
  2. BehaviourQueen

    BehaviourQueen New commenter

    Have you tried visuals?
    Or a TEACCH based programme of short tasks and rewards?
    pepper5, lainyp69 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  3. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You're certainly doing almost all the right things. You don't mention rewards though. Or a personal praise plan. There's an awful lot of frustration that accompanies working at YR2 when you're YR5. The reasons for that I shall leave unexplored. Just saying that the child's behaviour is not exactly unexpected.

    The main extra I can think of is praise. Attention. Catch her/him being good for 5 seconds. Put kid at the front of the line. Ask kid to help with switching off lights or the whiteboard or whatever. Make him feel special.
  4. lainyp69

    lainyp69 New commenter

    Thanks for that, it is something I do as I aim to reinforce positive. I will make more of an effort to do this though. They do have computer/ iPad time for doing 10 mins of work (unfortunately, they have deleted programs/ work and can only use them if supervised and very often I am the only adult in the room). They also have a yoga ball to implement movement breaks. There is a visual timetable to show what is coming up next.
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I think he has to have a personalised reward programme. Distinct from the others.

    I know teachers then cry, "But how can that be fair!!"

    Based on his (or her but I'm sticking with he/his for the sake of ease) development it IS fair because he doesn't have the social/emotional/cognitive toolkit to stick at something he doesn't enjoy for 10 minutes. So it's unfair to him as he'll hardly ever manage to succeed.

    The other kids have to be told how it is. Send him on an errand and explain to them that it'll be good for everyone if Josh learns to behave better and Josh needs lots of positives as he's still working on delayed gratification.

    YR5 and 6? I absolutely WOULD write that on the board. DELAYED GRATIFICATION. DEFERRED GRATIFICATION.

    Delay - we put something off, we do it later, it happens later, the UPS parcel is delayed, your birthday card was delayed in the post
    Defer - something gets put off, your holiday got deferred this year because mum had to wait for her pay rise, gran's operation was deferred from the due date because someone else turned up at hospital with an emergency
    Gratification - getting a reward or praise or enjoyment

    Then remind them how much of this they are doing every day. Spelling, number bonds, tables tests. Using a computer. Running a mile.

    You don't enjoy it that much NOW but you'll be pleased you did it when you go to uni, get a job, end up NOT fat etc etc etc.

    But Josh isn't come quite as far and he needs more help and encouragement. Yes, it'll look unfair at first but they have to understand that he will learn to wait longer and work and behave a bit better until he catches up. And don't they want him to do that? It'll be good for everyone.
  6. lainyp69

    lainyp69 New commenter

    Thanks for that. I totally agree. I have had that discussion (especially when I got "why is Bobby (not real name) getting computer time?") but perhaps a reminder may be needed.
    I do find that the current class are not as mature as previous years, which is adding to the mix.
    pepper5 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Well, there's also managing the kid away from the problem. Finding him a table on his own. If he'll stay put. Giving him completely different things to do. That can work. It can also go horribly wrong. It won't necessarily inculcate good habits in him but it might make it easier for the others. Isolate him a bit.

    It's all about relationships and, if this class is a bit immature as a whole, it's not going to be perfect. Just get by as best you can.

    Use a wider range of rewards. Football stickers. Ask his mum. In my day you could give them sweets! I cannot tell you how well sweets work! On the whole. So you have to find something high-value to him. Often the novelty wears off, of course, and you end up in endless pursuit of something that motivates.

    Good luck with him. You're doing a good job. It's wearing, I know. But you're doing well!
    pepper5 and lainyp69 like this.
  8. lainyp69

    lainyp69 New commenter

    Thank you, you've been really helpful. Just talking to someone away from the situation helps to refocus. X
    pepper5 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  9. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    Sometimes, it’s the small things that can make a positive difference, such as noticing that brief moment when he is on task or behaving and commenting positively on it.

    It’s easy to give up when things stop working, or seem to. That might be the time when you have to just keep on with the strategy, to reinforce that you are insisting on the behaviour you want.

    If he is working at a much lower level, he will be aware that he can’t do what his peers can and he will do what he’s good at, which is being disruptive. It gets attention and any attention is better than none.

    I agree with GDW that the class needs an explanation. They have to understand why Bobby has different treatment sometimes. If there was a child with a broken arm, adjustments would be made for that. Bobby has differences they can’t see, but needs different things to help him cope in the classroom.
  10. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    Should have also said- you’re doing a great job and developing strategies will be really useful to you with future classes too.
  11. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Same old, same old.
    OP outlines all the nice things they are doing for the child.
    Who is essentially badly behaved.
    Zero mention of sanctions.
    Not part of school policy.
    Zero disincentive for child to spoil things.
    Kid will never learn.
    Teacher will never teach.
    Kid may grow up horrid.
    Teacher may become disenfranchised with the whole profession.
    All because kids are allowed to get away with it
    "Awwww, you just told silly old professional adult me to eFF off, here, have a biscuit you must be so ankshuss to have said something like that".
    What happened to detention, isolation, phone call home?
    Call me old school.
    Although I prefer to call it basic common sense.
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  12. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I agree to a large extent with @sbkrobson
    When I read the OP's first post, there seems to be a lot of pandering to the child and policies to do so. He has toys, a yoga ball, a special place just for him, computer time, etc etc. He is certainly the king pin in that class.

    If he is disruptive, then he has to leave the room so others can learn.
    If he is violent, then he has to leave the room so others can be safe.
    If he breaks things, then his parents need to pay for the replacement.

    And it is perfectly reasonable not to be calm and to shout when he has just destroyed a piece of equipment for the umpteenth time that week. He needs to realise the world will be annoyed if he behaves badly and schools don't do children any favours by pretending no one will mind and everyone will understand.

    Yes it must be very difficult to sit in a year 5/6 classroom where everyone else understand the work and you don't have a blessed clue what's going on. However that doesn't justify destroying the lesson.
    Yes the child needs support to learn and, at three years behind his chronological age, urgently needs assessing and a plan in place for learning. However, that doesn't mean he gets to be rude to the teacher.

    A bit of both carrot and stick is clearly needed. Along with urgent learning support.
  13. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    Since the OP mentions the SENDCo and the boy is Year 5, I’m assuming that Learning Support has been involved over time. It depends how much has been put in place, how effective or otherwise it has been and whether the school is moving towards gathering evidence for an EHCP.

    In the meantime, the OP has to deal with the boy on a daily basis and I really don’t think it’s as straightforward as saying he has to leave the room if he’s violent or disruptive. A Year 5 child may be unwilling to leave the room and could create a bigger disruption if he feels like it. There is no mention of additional support in the classroom.
    grumpydogwoman and pepper5 like this.
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    The OP mentions that they are very often the only adult in the room...which suggests learning support isn't being deployed effectively.
    There should be an on call system, where the OP can send another child for the head or similar to come and remove the child. If he refuses to follow the instructions of the head and leave, then the sanctions escalate. It is that simple and works well in very good secondary schools, which in a year or so the boy in question will find out.
    agathamorse and Curae like this.
  15. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    If there isn’t an on call system, she still has to deal with the day to day.

    What should be and what is, are two different things. I was trying to offer some ideas, assuming the OP doesn’t have the support that we would hope she does have.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  16. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I offered ideas, very clearly written ones. For you to come along and be so negative about that advice is rather offensive and hurtful.

    I firmly believe that a child, of any age, who is stopping others from learning and/or being violent needs to leave the room. Whether they do so because the teacher instructs them to do so or because someone from SLT comes and removes them is neither here nor there. The OP is being ground down by keeping this child in the room, which does nothing for the wellbeing of anyone, nothing for classroom relations and nothing for learning. It cannot continue.
    No one should dread having to teach a child. Perhaps the OP needs to go back to SLT and let them know just how much this is affecting them. No SLT, worth that title, would ask a teacher to continue with a situation that is so obviously distressing for everyone. This is the kind of situation where, if nothing changes, teachers end up being off sick because they cannot face going in. SLT need to know this is a real possibility and provide support...be it in class behaviour support, an on call system, a reduced timetable, whatever.
    agathamorse and Curae like this.
  17. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    I absolutely agree that the child needs to be removed if they become so disruptive that it affects others. Often time out is needed even if it doesn't quite fit in with what the parents want. Yes you are doing a brilliant job but as you say it's not working so something else needs to be done and it's SLT that needs to do it now as you have done your fair share. .Let SLT know you ( the child) NEEDS help sooner than later. No teacher should have to put up with this.
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I have been in situations where I was told I could remove the CLASS! We could ALL move. Except for the kid who was in crisis.

    So we all know what's desirable. But SLT are aware and still insist the class teacher is coping. Let's be realistic. They're not going to act until one of them is attacked. Because, in my experience over 32 years, that's inevitably what made the difference. I'm not going to go on a bitter rant about SLT. Who knows - if I'd ever been a boss maybe I'd have looked at things from the outside and thought the teacher should be doing a better job and there was nothing to get het up about!

    So what do you do in the meantime? I can give you a long list of things that are badly done in schools. Tolerating aggression is but one of them. What can this teacher do?

    Adapt to the kid
    Walk out
    Go off sick
    Muddle through
    Complain more
    Make a log
    Film the behaviour

    None of these are mutually exclusive. But I think we all know that this is a long way from being an exclusion (even at an in-school level).
  19. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I'm wondering what the long-term plan is, given that this child only has four terms left in primary. Many of those adaptations are just not going to happen in main-stream secondary and as CTB says, he is likely to find himself removed from lessons very regularly. If it hasn't happened already, I do hope the SENCO will start some discussion with the parents about secondary school options.
  20. Bentley89

    Bentley89 Occasional commenter

    One hundred percent this. Behaviour is a choice (most of the time). Having worked with a whole range of children with special educational needs, I can vouch for the fact that being stern and ensuring they understand that their actions have consequences is the best way forward.

    Failing this, have you considered punching them in the head with a chair?

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