1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Incredibly chatty class and disastrous behaviour management

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by electro-web, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. electro-web

    electro-web New commenter

    I'm in my second placement at the moment. I didn't need much behaviour management in my first, the little things like standing quietly and looking stern/bored/disappointed, or standing behind individuals always did the trick when gaining control.

    But now I'm in a tougher school and there's one particular GCSE Yr 9 group that I just can't control. They kind-of settle outside, then start chatting as they come in and sit down. I can't get them quiet, despite them supposed to be writing the objective and doing a little starter task that is always up ready for them.

    Shushing doesn't work. Asking for quiet doesn't work. Demanding silence for the register worked today until the end of the register when it all started off again.

    If they're not chatting, they're shouting out answers when I'm insisting on hands up.

    Today I completely lost face as I (disastrously) put them all on a warning and said that if I had to ask anyone to stop talking, I'd time-out them to another class (the first stage before a detention). Once threatened, I know I had to go through with it so 8 were sent out, some complaining they were talking about the work. This was obviously way too many, made it a bit of a game for them and I looked faintly ridiculous.

    I threatened them with being kept behind for 10 minutes, but this also penalises the good ones. And for this reason I also don't really want to do the timer that I count up when I want quiet and hold them back for that length of time after school.

    This was all during the initial set-up of the lesson, talking about the starter where they'd had to come up with a few suggestions.

    I think part of it is that I'm on a losing battle against the prevailing culture of doing very little work at the school. But I really shouldn't be failing at the first hurdle of getting some quiet!

    How can I get this group to shut up? What sanction can I use that target the bad ones, leaves the good ones alone and doesn't make me look an idiot if half the class are on it?

    Because at the moment, for the first time, I want to jack it in and possibly go down for murder.
     
  2. electro-web

    electro-web New commenter

    I'm in my second placement at the moment. I didn't need much behaviour management in my first, the little things like standing quietly and looking stern/bored/disappointed, or standing behind individuals always did the trick when gaining control.

    But now I'm in a tougher school and there's one particular GCSE Yr 9 group that I just can't control. They kind-of settle outside, then start chatting as they come in and sit down. I can't get them quiet, despite them supposed to be writing the objective and doing a little starter task that is always up ready for them.

    Shushing doesn't work. Asking for quiet doesn't work. Demanding silence for the register worked today until the end of the register when it all started off again.

    If they're not chatting, they're shouting out answers when I'm insisting on hands up.

    Today I completely lost face as I (disastrously) put them all on a warning and said that if I had to ask anyone to stop talking, I'd time-out them to another class (the first stage before a detention). Once threatened, I know I had to go through with it so 8 were sent out, some complaining they were talking about the work. This was obviously way too many, made it a bit of a game for them and I looked faintly ridiculous.

    I threatened them with being kept behind for 10 minutes, but this also penalises the good ones. And for this reason I also don't really want to do the timer that I count up when I want quiet and hold them back for that length of time after school.

    This was all during the initial set-up of the lesson, talking about the starter where they'd had to come up with a few suggestions.

    I think part of it is that I'm on a losing battle against the prevailing culture of doing very little work at the school. But I really shouldn't be failing at the first hurdle of getting some quiet!

    How can I get this group to shut up? What sanction can I use that target the bad ones, leaves the good ones alone and doesn't make me look an idiot if half the class are on it?

    Because at the moment, for the first time, I want to jack it in and possibly go down for murder.
     
  3. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    I think the problem here is that you haven't got a consistent strategy and they know it.
    I'm a teacher with 8 years experience, I teach English. Here's what I do to establish basic classroom discipline.
    1) Set out your stall. Let them know in no uncertain terms what you expect and outline what will happen if you don't get it.
    2) Have a graduated saction system and employ it consistently. Hopefully your school has a behaviour policy which you will be supported in using, but if not come up with your own. I do the following:
    • Give them a warning, using their name: "James, stop doing ________, this is your first warning, if I have to ask you again you name will go on the board".
    • Second instance, name on the board. This means that they are on final chance, any more poor behaviour leads to the next stage.
    • 3rd warning means a 10 minute detention at lunchtime. Since you are a student teacher, arrange the detention for a time when you can collect the pupils from their lesson just before the bell and bring them for detention. Use the detention to reaffirm your expectations, get the pupil to explain what they did wrong, how that impacts on learning and how to improve.
    • If no improvement next lesson, repeat the first two steps, but this time and 3rd warning will lead to a letter/phone call home and an hour's detention after school. Set the detention, do not change your mind.
    • Do not allow children to 'earn' time back by being good towards the end of the lesson. Instead, separate out your rewards and sanctions. Only rewards those who are good for an entire lesson.
    • REWARD pupils. Kids love a positive phone call home (as do parents). This means they see you as fair and parents appreciate you taking the time to call. If you have cause to discipline their child in the future, they will be more supportive. Tell the pupils you intend to ring some parents to say good things, this gives them something to aim for.
    • Start positive. Everyone starts with 3 points (chances, but they don't need to know this) and they lose points for bad behaviour, gain them for good. If they gain over 5 points in a lesson, they get a treat/sweet/positive call etc. Make the emphasis on getting names on the board for good things.
    It sounds daft, but I actually used a 'naughty' and 'nice' list on my board just before Christmas. This was with year 10! We were obviously being a bit silly with it, but nonetheless the idea of moving to the 'nice' list a receiving some house points was motivating.

    The most important thing you can do is BE CONSISTENT!!!!
     
  4. All of the above is excellent advice! I would add that you should observe other teachers who are particularly good at behaviour management, try for one a week until you feel you are more confident. Look at everything they do, how they speak, the words they use, how they stand, how they dress, everything! Also keep telling yourself YOU ARE LEARNING, this will take a while to perfect so don't beat yourself up about it, celebrate small victories! Good Luck.
     
  5. electro-web

    electro-web New commenter

    The behaviour management system is two warnings then Time Out. This means they go to another class in the dept for 10 mins. A second offence in the lesson leads to removal from the rest of the lesson and detention the following day.

    (Of course, hardly anyone gets time to commit a second offence once you've been through that and they've come back,. Plus lots of kids don't give a damn about being removed for 10 mins, and it doesn't work in the last 15 minutes as they know you've no time to actually send them out!)

    I thought that I was trying to use the system - it just spectacularly back-fired as there were simply too many of them for it to work. I'm also slightly hindered by not knowing everyone's names yet, but I simply can't go sending half a dozen kids out every lesson.

    I need a system that actually means something to the kids and I can use alongside the school system. My mentor suggests two warnings, then perhaps a 10 minute after school detention that can be done same-day (there are no buses for anyone to miss), leaving Time Outs for more serious infractions than talking.

    I'm going to give it a go on Wednesday, with the first 10 minutes establishing a new seating plan that I'm hoping my mentor (It's his class) and I can work out tomorrow. At least this will re-establish an element of me being in control, with them sitting where I tell them to.

    Any other thoughts?
     
  6. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    I'm so glad I spent my time writing a really long post of advice for you to just ignore.

    From your posts, you really don't sound sure of what you are actually going to do with these kids. Make you mind up and stick to it. Communicate it to the kids; if you can't get them to shut up, use a powerpoint slide to illustrate what your rules are....they can read.
    Make a seating plan, put the kids where you want them and write their names on a diagram of the seating arrangements - presto, you can use their names.
     
  7. electro-web

    electro-web New commenter

    i haven't ignored it! I said my strategy is likely to be two warnings and a 10 minute after-school detention, which is exactly what you suggested.

    The rest of my post was simply explaining that the school DO have a behaviour policy, which I followed and which was a disaster. I'm sorry if you took it as a dismissal of what you wrote, which isn't at all what I intended.

    But yes, you're right. I'm not sure about how to handle them.
     
  8. I'd definitely put them in a seating plan. Move identified groups apart, unless they are already behaving. How is the furniture arranged? Is it in rows or in little clusters?
    Recently my department has changed from small clusters of desks to being in rows - so far it seems to have quietened EVERY class down. Don't be scared to move the furniture!
     
  9. electro-web

    electro-web New commenter

    They were in long rows, but this wasn't working as there was no way to get to the middle of the room. We've taken some desks out to but an aisle in. I think me being able to stand in the middle of them will make a big difference.

    Heading in later with a seating plan and two sections on the board for warnings and merit points.

    I'll let you know how it goes!

    (Incidentally, how the hell do I get my post to respect my formatting?!)
     
  10. electro-web

    electro-web New commenter

    Well, that went pretty well.

    Thanks for your advice, the simple stuff does work and having a parallel system of both rewards and consequences seemed to work out.

    There was some moaning about who got rewards so I need to make sure I'm being consistent and not alienating anyone. And I also have the carrot of one or two sitting next to friends further down the line. So we'll see how it goes...
     
  11. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Well done you (and your mentor).

    You clearly have what it takes as you only have the one class causing you a headache, so don't fret too much. Being fair does matter, but don't ever give in to their demands, arguments or mutterings. If they complain just grin and say 'Yes, but I didn't think so and I'm the teacher so I get to decide!' they can't really argue with that. If you were unfair on the odd occasion, don't worry about it at all, it is a good lesson for them that 'life isn't always fair, get over it'.

    Oh and they have to moan, however perfect a teach you are. They are year 9, it is a developmental stage.
     
  12. electro-web

    electro-web New commenter

    Next lesson I'm going to dangle a carrot that the seating plan might be revise, but only when I say and not if I keep being asked about it.

    The hate me. But they hate me a little more quietly, which is fine.
     
  13. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    Too soon. Do NOT change the seating plan for at least a month. Only move children if they are failing to work well in the position you've assigned. By all means tell them that the privilege of sitting close to friends only comes when they've earned your trust and proved they can work hard and produce good work. This has to be done over a long period of time. Do not compromise too early, even if they've been much better.
     
  14. electro-web

    electro-web New commenter

    No, indeed. In fact my carrot will be well-hidden by a stick - the fact that the more they go on about the seating plan, the less inclined I'll be to change it...
     
  15. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I'm with Eva in that I'd not even mention the possibility of change.

    'You are that seat because I said so and if I choose to move you I will' is probably better for now. With year 9 I'd probably
    You might, in a few weeks but not before, say you have notices Sarah and James working really well and so are going to let them choose a partner to sit with for the next lesson and will rearrange the seating to accommodate this. Make it a lovely surprise and reward for those who have been fab without the carrot dangling.
     
  16. electro-web

    electro-web New commenter

    OK, good advice. Got them again tomorrow so we'll see how it works.
     

Share This Page