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Is bad behaviour out of control in our schools?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    There are 1.4 billion people in China, so everyone knows that getting a good job does not happen automatically. There is a lot of competition! Therefore parents do indeed emphasize education to their children. The children do not expect education to be easy or entertaining.
  2. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    When the response from kids is: "what you going to do?" "You can't do anything" you know behaviour management has gone in a school and I'm seeing this more and more. Kids are basically doing what they want.
  3. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Is the Pope a Catholic? Does the sun rise in the morning?

    Does Rosaline really need to ask this question?
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Only to a certain extent.

    One contributing factor is the growing misunderstanding among some members of the profession that classroom behavior is the responsibility of the SLT, the HT or unspecified others but not that of the classroom teacher. The good teachers - as far as behaviour management is concerned - are those who tolerate no misbehaviour in their classrooms apart from those (very few) pupils who are basically beyond the control of any form of authority, (police included).

    I cannot recall any occasion when, as a classroom teacher, I have needed to call on SLT to control the behaviour of a class or an individual. If anything, I have tended towards the opposite spectrum and once, when a third year student, committed the professional sin of of going into a riotous and apparently empty classroom and bringing the class to order only to find that their teacher was still in the room.

    Yes, it helps being over 6', an ex-Rugby second row and con voce basso profundo. That said, I have been privileged to see and employ some wonderful behaviour-managing teachers who were diminutive, soft-spoken and looked like someone's favourite granny.

    SLT should certainly take control of badly behaved pupils but only as a last resort when all other strategies have failed.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
  5. maggie m

    maggie m Lead commenter

    All very well Nomad but pupils who are out of control are becoming more and more common. Some groups of students have no respect for female teachers and a lot of the men I work with agree this is the case.In the first 10 years of my career I would say I became good at behaviour management and it really was almost unheard of to call in SLT. Since Xmas I have had at least 10 incidents that have required use of on call SLT. That has included a boy laying on the floor screaming I had ruined his life and he was going to kill me ( he had his phone out and I followed policy) , a boy with a knife in his bag, and a couple of girls having a full scale fight complete with thrown chairs . Plenty of my colleagues could tell you similar stories. In most cases pupils are back in the lesson that day.
  6. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Established commenter

    You certainly have been extremely fortunate in 2 respects.
    1: You have a good presence which perhaps may deter students from challenging you in some cases
    2: The schools you have worked in seem to also be competent when it comes to behaviour.

    From my experience of working on one of the worst schools in the country (a nice ofsted badge we wore for a while) I have learned the following:
    1. If you are a long serving member of staff, students do not test your behaviour management strategies as often. If you know their siblings and parents they tend to automatically give you respect. I know this because I have recently started at a new place and the students are less challenging on paper but I am regularly using all the strategies I know to keep them on track. This didn’t happen in my last place after a few years of working there.
    2. SLT have the power to empower their teachers, but also the power to undermine them. I have seen the changes a new SLT can bring to ensure behaviour systems work and I have also seen all the power being taken away from teachers because they have no support.
    3. Other teachers need to be on board and follow the same rules in the same way. None of this ‘Mr So and So let’s me text in class’. Those people make everyone else’s job more difficult.
    4. Parents need to be on side. I worked in a school where students were not allowed to stay for detention because their parents wouldn’t let them. This is an impossible situation for all involved.
    5. Some boys and girls just don’t like either men or women... and some despise authority figures and school. This is because of their environment. No amount of classroom presence can sort this situation out.

    In my opinion, numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5 are initially the responsibility of SLT. They need to empower their teachers and support them in conflict, set a behaviour policy and ensure all teachers follow it, speak to parents and build bridges when they distrust teachers or are unsupportive and finally create a program to address predisposed issues with certain students. Even number 1 should be addressed by SLT with training or voluntary drop in sessions to support teachers with their behaviour management techniques.

    I have worked in very challenging schools. If SLT do not support teachers and create a framework for students and teachers to follow, you have no chance. If you have a fab SLT, they can make even the most challenging students fall in line (from my experience anyway).
  7. TonyAllen123456

    TonyAllen123456 New commenter

    God I hope you are/will be SLT. When/if you are can I come work for you?! (purely based on the above response not attributed to your rubbery attire)
  8. TonyAllen123456

    TonyAllen123456 New commenter

    Are you friggin kiddin me?! Being over 6 foot might wash with a year three bonny lad, not with a year 9. You need parents, departments, heads and SLT behind you, oh and maybe the weather as well as him upstairs. Even then your chances are 50:50.
    agathamorse and NotAPowerRanger like this.
  9. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Established commenter

    nomad likes this.
  10. palmtree100

    palmtree100 Lead commenter

    I am afraid I do believe that "zero tolerance" is working in many state schools that have turned from a nightmare place into a calm one where learning can take place. It takes calm, consistent insistence that children follow the expectations of the school. It has to be applied across the school in the same way by every member of staff.
    At first behaviour will get worse as children rebel. After a couple of years you will have a different school. If some need to be excluded, EXCLUDE THEM. They cannot be allowed to continue to disrupt the learning of the majority. Yes it is the parents' fault in many cases, but they won't learn anything if their children are simply allowed to continue misbehaving in lessons.
  11. palmtree100

    palmtree100 Lead commenter

    Good post and I agree that leadership and school -wide systems are crucial.
    Lalex123 likes this.
  12. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    You need parents, departments, heads and SLT behind you, oh and maybe the weather as well as him upstairs. the respect of the Year 9 pupil(s). If you have their respect (rather than their contempt) they will show that by behaving in your lessons.

    Try it.

    Works every time! ;)
    border_walker and peakster like this.
  13. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I was teaching in a prep school, just outside Salisbury. The head called a father into school. "Your daughter is a sweet little girl and she is doing well at this school", the head said to the father. "The problem is you, her father. You have been told repeatedly not to use foul language in front of the teachers and the students. You have ignored that instruction. Therefore your daughter cannot stay at this school."
  14. Catgirl1964

    Catgirl1964 Established commenter

    I completely agree with you. Both of my parents were teachers, my Dad the equivalent of Assistant Head and he was also in charge of Fourth and Fifth Years ( Yr 10 and 11). They would both be horrified to see the deterioration in behaviour now but, more importantly, how it is or isn't dealt with. I think part of the gradual and insidious decline in behaviour is because we have let if happen. Pushing boundaries further and further. Zero tolerance is the only way to go before the lunatics take over the asylum.
  15. lantan

    lantan New commenter

    Please do elaborate how to get to that stage. :)
    Lalex123 and tonymars like this.
  16. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    Agree with you completely but one more thing needs to be added.

    The behaviour policy MUST be easy and quick to implement or given the pressures on teachers time it will not be followed consistently.

    We have such a bureaucratic system it actively works against implementation (a cynic might think that this was deliberate) low-level actions onto SIMS but given the network, it is very difficult to implement in the time available.

    Anything higher ie a detention

    1) goes onto SIMS with a description AND a paper detention slip completed by hand one copy given to the pupil, the Teacher has to find the pupil(s), and one to records (non for the teacher),

    2) if the pupil does not turn up then another copy of the document has to be raised this time on behalf of the HoF and the pupil found to be given their copy. The Teacher has to find the pupil(s) I have seen HoF's/teachers spending hours a week just writing out the slips. (Not a good use of an expensive resource there, or would not be if a teachers time was chargeable.)

    3) There is no way for the teacher to check whether the pupil turned up to the HoF detention other than physically attending. But even then you would not know if they were attending the detention you set as a HoF detention or someone elses.

    4) If they do not attend HoF detention then a Whole School Detention (WSD) set. Pupil found and given notice.

    Now many will say give them the detention slip next lesson but if you only see them once a week this process can escalate into a process that takes the best part of half a term...

    I have asked pupils why they have not turned up until or beyond a WSD, they tell me to the effect ie not in these words but theirs that the system does not work, if a teacher issues a detention and you do not turn up then there is only a small chance the system will work all the way through to a WSD where you will only get the same sanction anyway but at a MUCH later date.

    Cannot blame them myself.
    jusch, bessiesmith2 and agathamorse like this.
  17. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Certainly not by 'getting down wid da kids' or treating them as equals which they are not (and they know it).

    How to get to that stage? I wish I knew. I am certainly not in the position (or the frame of mind) to write a treatise on the matter or to suppose that I am in any way an authority on how to achieve this.

    What I do know is that if you want them to show you respect as a teacher then you must show them respect as a learner. Appreciate that there will be things which they find hard, things that they may find of no value in life (area of a circle, date of the Battle of Bosworth, anything to do with the Mayan civilisation, identifying a fronted adverbial), that the things they appreciate and value may be widely different from yours (TOWIE, Zoe Sugg, etc.,) but at least try to know something about them.

    Appreciate also that they may not like you but respecting you is something completely different. Think back to your own schooldays. There certainly must have been teachers who you didn't like but respected and didn't mess around in their lessons. What attributes did they have that you could emulate? What about those teachers that you did like and didn't mess around in their lessons. What attributes did they have that you could emulate?

    Years back a pupil in my class set me up by removing my desk drawer, sellotaping a couple of stink bombs to the back of it and then replacing the drawer. Of course, muggins entered the classroom, slammed the drawer shut and set off the stink bombs. Once the cause had been identified I then went outside and continued teaching through an open window for five minutes (it was on the ground floor) before letting them all out and congratulating the culprit on a great practical joke, but one not to be repeated (at least, not with me). He got some kudos and so did I. To deal with it any other way would have been to my detriment.

    Although it may seem somewhat passé, I did find some good pointers and even inspiration in dealing with pupils from reading such books as Delderfield's "To Serve Them All My Days" and Braithwaite's "To Sir With Love".

    I certainly don't think there are some strategies which work for every situation which is why I do not intend to be presumptious and offer any guarantees. Teachers should be prepared to see what works for them in their own situation.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
  18. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Examples of "those (very few) pupils who are basically beyond the control of any form of authority, (police included)."
  19. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I'm not sure whether it's really out of control or whether it's just that noone seems to want to take control of it. Except the poor classroom teachers of course, who have to deal with it on a daily basis but who have no authority to take any meaningful action against it.

    Higher up the chain it seems to be something that, from SMT to the government, our leaders seem to prefer either to pretend doesn't exist or to blame the poor classroom teachers. Largely, because their own children aren't affected by it and the cynic in me wonders if it's tolerated precisely because it's a way of widening the attainment gap.
    Hijo, tenpast7 and eljefeb90 like this.
  20. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    Or they pretend it doesn't exist because if they did know it exists they would have to do something about it and that something would likely lead to exclusions etc going up and OFSTED would want to know why.

    Especially bothersome if you have an SLT that has been in place for a while because if they did anything now and it was flagged up then the question asked would be why had they not addressed the problem before?
    agathamorse and tenpast7 like this.

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