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Never shout in class - Use 'presence'

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by valerie yule, May 24, 2011.

  1. I've already told you that I think most challenging children are the way they are because they have learnt that there is no consequence for behaving otherwise. I don't see why you think this relates to innate qualities or child development.
    If its a choice between vague anecdotal evidence and my personal experience I'll stick with me thanks. Perhaps if you provided some clarification of your own instead of continually dodging the issue then I'd be more inclined to believe in what you are saying.
    Did the student teacher punish badly behaved students or use the threat of punishment at any stage?
    You can't have a relationship with children who refuse to have one Raymond.
    You stated in post 25 that presence has "nothing to do with fear" (surely we can agree that this means fear of punishment for behaving badly). If your student teacher punished or even threatened to punish that class then it undermines your argument - how do you know it wasn't the fear of punishment that caused the students to have a productive relationship with the teacher?

  2. Out of interest in what ways do teachers disrespect children?
    What qualities should one have in order to be considered decent by a naughty child?
    This implies that it is the threat of punishment that stops children trying to take the biscuit rather than any decent qualities you may have.
  3. I think I have pretty good presence in a class, although it works better in the 9 to 11 age group (it tails off a bit in grade 7). I get it from naturally having a loud voice and being funny in an Eddie Izzard kind of way. By that I mean, in the way he delivers the material, but also in the way he controls the audience. They laugh when he wants them to laugh. I think studying how comedians control audiences is excellent training for teachers.
    Where I teach, I also have a funny accent, which also helps to rope the kids in.
  4. Agreed.
  5. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    Since I arrived in my new school a few years ago i had to establish myself (I had been at my previous school for 8 years and had forgotten what that was like). I have put a lot of effort and hours into making sure most pupils know that misbehaving for me is a bad move. Most pupils go as close as they can to my boundaries without crossing them. a few still repeatedly cross the line and the tedious rigmarole of referrals and sanctions is required.
    I can get some pupils quiet by entering a room, standing in the doorway, glaring at them and other forms of non-verbal communication now but there is no way in the world I could have when I first arrived,
    So does that mean that I now have presence where I didn't when i first arrived?
    If so then "presence" is essentially familiarity, reputation, your relationship with the pupils and a bunch of other things that take work rather than some innate, nebulous characteristic that some people have and some do not.

  6. Absolutely agree. I'm an actor. It's also something like being in the retail sector. The customer should always see the positive, unflinching side of the business, regardless of whether the back end is falling apart or not.
  7. Agreed.
    Er surely if they are intrigued they'll want to find out what you'll do when you get to five?
    Raymond seems to be saying that 'presence' has nothing to do with fearing any consequences - this seems at odds with your earlier comments about chastisement.
    Is anyone suggesting otherwise?
    Are you suggesting that the problem with teachers in tough schools is that they don't issue instructions?
  8. Thank you guru,

    I am a PGCE student near the end of my course. I was recently handed lesson observation notes from the AST saying that I needed to work on my presence. How demoralising.

    Its nice to hear some positive advice instead of the constant critisism that experienced teachers mete out. Can you imagine how their pupils would feel if they treated them in this way.

    raspberrysouffle likes this.
  9. It's a shame the AST used the term 'presence' as it is one of those concepts that can have different meanings depending on who you talk to.
    I've got to ask - what did the AST suggest you do in order to improve your presence?
    Best of luck with passing the PGCE.
  10. The trouble I have in my PE lessons (as a trainee) is that I'm only 5'3" and I have issues with my voice projection so then when I teach year 10 or 11 girls or boys, or mixed GCSE lessons (theory and practical) I have major problems with gaining respect and getting the kids to listen to me. It really frustrated me on my previous placement and I'm really worried it'll happen again on my next one which is longer. No matter how hard I try I can't seem to improve my voice projection so it's a lower pitch or louder to gain their attention (other than screaming).
    So I would love to learn how to do this 'presence' skill!! I honestly dont know what to do about it. Especially as some of the Year 7s are taller than me!!
  11. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Check out post 10, jo: small, quiet women can be just as effective at getting a class to do what they want - but you perhaps have to do it a bit differently from the six foot tall shouters!

  12. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    I agree.
    I would suggest that if they are not listening to you then you don't let them do anything practical.
    In a practical subject there are real health and safety issues around letting any pupil that will not follow instructions or listen participate (at least that has always been my line when picking up behaviour issues from practical subjects. It's also sort of true).
    until they listen to you don't actually do any PE. Find a classroom and make them write. After a couple of lessons of that pupils who want to do PE may start exerting a bit of peer pressure for you.
  13. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    apasaid, welcome to the forum and I am really glad that behaviour is not getting in the way of teaching and learning.
    I have to agree with Mr Leonard, you do not teach in a tough school.
    I would also add that presence is earned and depending on the school depends on how hard and how long you have to work at it. Presence is all about reputation as has been said before. Lots of stick (although I tend to think of lots of brick walls ie firm boundaries with consequences for transgression) and lots of carrots ie specific praise and feedback on how to do better. So where I work it means being firm and ruthlessly following the behaviour policy plus lots of encouragement to do well. In my school it also involves teaching children how to behave because many of them really don't know how to speak politely to someone, or what being organised actually is, or what paying attention really is, and those that do know don't seem to have practised very much and would happily follow the others because its more fun.
    It is also about being confident. That means knowing what you are doing every nano second and ensuring that the children do not drift for a nano second. Transition between activities is crucial. It means being organised. It means having a response which is reasonable but firm to every 'I'm trying to get out of doing something I should be doing' utterance from I haven't got a pen, I haven't done my homework, I haven't got my book to it wasn't me, Mr so and so says we can wear X (a lie), it's not my fault I got .... (usually a lie too), red bull has water in it (no only water on the table), you didn't give him a warning (when you did but quietly), you pick on me, he's talking too, I didn't do nuffink. It means having routines which you believe in and insist on. It means insisting that you are referred to as Miss, Madam or Sir whichever is the correct term for your school. It means picking up on every surly tone, but in a reasonable manner. All that in the first 5 mins of a lesson in my school for a chatty class not one of the disruptive ones!
  14. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    I'm 4 ft 10" (and 21 years old) and the minute I come to the door of the classroom, there is "an end to all chaos".

    Sorry but if you came to my school, there would not be an instand end to all chaos, like someone else said, yours is not a tough school
    " I've issued multiple "time-outs" though within the first few months of the year, and maybe that gave me a reputation."

    does this mean you send them out? I work in an open plan school i.e no where to send them out to and even if we did, the kids would walk off

    I hope you find that your next 20 years are as easy as your first.

    are you primary or secondary?
    raspberrysouffle likes this.
  15. Sorry to join this thread late, but I've been reading your points with interest and for my 10 pence worth, have to conclude that "presence" as a character trait is a myth. I have taught for 12 years in 3 urban secondary schools, in circumstances of "spec measures", "notice to improve" up to ofsted graded "outstandinding". In each of the schools, those successful in behaviour management set clear expectations, follow through with sanctions, build relationships ..... But more than anything care passionately and believe that the students can succeed - no excuses, accepting no barriers to learning. "Presense" is not transferable, when I visit other schools and observe practice, my presence means nothing to students who don't know me. However, each time I changed schools I was able to gain the respect of the students quicker - confidence, experience, tried and tested routines.
    Those who feel they have an innate "Presense" - beware as ego comes before fall :)
  16. 'Children have, generally speaking, a sense of fairness. I think this is true of people in general, which is why it is possible to try to appeal to a person's sense of fairness. '

    Some have, some haven't. These days, I think we're seeing an increase in the number of those who haven't, and who don't actually give a stuff, as long as they get what they want.
  17. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Impossible. It was too funny. The servers would crash and Blogger would sue me.
  18. Of course it does - children are about as amicable as they are ever going to be aged 9 - 11.
    What the same audience that actually have actually paid to see him and actually want to be there? Not everyone is amused by the same act which is yet another reason why we should be worrying about how good we are at educating not entertaining.
    And what do you propose to do when the children get bored of your accent?

    shelleylong27 likes this.
  19. Good looks? Money? Charisma? Confidence?
    Can we get back on topic please?

    a) Good looks? b) Money? c) Charisma? d) Confidence?
    Whatever about the first two, the topic IS C & D. . People who have C & D don't need advice about how to control a class. People who DON'T have C & D, and are self-aware and honest enough to know they haven't, can't be advised by those who have, because the latter simply don't get it.... they just can't take in what the problem is. People who have this kind of confidence just can't grasp what challenging behaviour can do to others... who I would dare to suggest are actually in the majority. Why can't they? ... because they haven't encountered the problem (yet!). So it's no use someone who has never been TRULY challenged (and I don't mean kids chewing gum in class) trying to tell those who have, how to handle it. The only person I'd listen to, would be someone who ABSOLUTELY CONVINCES ME that s/he has experienced the same kind of situation, (NOT chewing gum in class!!) and has ... I think the best word for that kind of situation is 'survived'. Anyone who's been through it will know what that means, and the tone of his/her response will indicate the depth of their understanding. Anyone who hasn't, will respond with anecdotes about what worked for him/her; how s/he built up his/her reputation as 'strict-but-fair' or however s/he sees him/herself as a teacher. There's nothing wrong with advice; some people just need the hope that it implies... that something might work. But those who go on about 'strategies' and 'skills' are really just scratching the surface of the situation: it's all far more complex than that. And it's not fair to young teachers to give them the impression that they can handle situations that are often really impossible and THAT SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN in a so-called 'educational' environment. This is NOT up to the teacher; there are far wider implications involved in what's going on in classrooms today. And this 'skills & strategies' approach alone, further lands the onus of dealing with problems on the TEACHER, when there often isn't much, if anything, the teacher can do alone. These skills may be useful sometimes; a loud voice may be useful sometimes; an awe-inspiring appearance may be useful sometimes; far more likely, a fearsome reputation can be VERY useful. Appearance is a matter of chance; skills and a reputation can be built up--- that's true. But most of the problems people write here about are outside the boundaries of what used to be regarded as normal classroom behaviour. Seems to me this 'behavioural science' approach just hasn't kept up with how people are these days; how children behave; how people expect to be treated in their ... after all 'professional' workplace. We need a bit more depth in the analysis of these sociological issues, a bit less denial of their reality and the effect they're having on both teachers and students --- and of course parents.
    shelleylong27 likes this.

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