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Never shout in class - Use 'presence'

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

  1. Once went into a lively school on supply and as I walked down the busy-ish corridor to g28 the usual suspects started asking if I had them now. I smiled, but then a couple of disorderly learners started to rush down the corridor yelling -we've got a supply!- I continued to smile and gestured to the groups now hovering like wasps to the honey-pot to line up. Then again someone asked me if I was the supply, so I quietly replied that I was a school inspector. The class(now taken in) formed a queue at the door and filed in.
  2. When you were training, did they also teach you to check what you had written to ensure there were no spelling or grammar mistakes?
    raspberrysouffle likes this.
  3. clear_air

    clear_air New commenter

    Yes. and they told me to always use a ruler, and to make sure that my handwriting was an example.

    Go on then, Vehar. Tell us what you think it is - other than not being fair to tell young prospective teachers that they need it. And I suppose it would be helpful to define which part of the school system we're talking about. For my part, I'm in KS2, and I think that it is relational. And being realistic, and, under the firm exterior, kind.

    Do you think that teachers would benefit from some of the training material out there, say, in 'leadership', sales and marketing? Personally, I do. What you don't find easy can be learned (we're teachers after all), or at least pretended. Is the ability to control a class innate? No. But perhaps you are right, getting people to pass on what they find easy is hard - PE teachers of my past spring to mind.

    And my comments on money and good looks are relevant, I believe. They are what commands the room at parites/pubs - not the classroom - which was the question.
  4. Well, they'd certainly help. But they shouldn't be the default programme in the classroom... which alas, is too often the case when there's an unsupportive management and an unco-operative environment.
    And I think you've got a point too about the age-range and the setting: most of the problems that are really serious arise with older age-groups, and I honestly do believe that the 'techniques' for managing these situations haven't yet been developed.
  5. I too, have built up an, undeserved, reputation of being really, really strict and my own class always knew the reality, and were sworn to secrecy, when I had my own classes./leadership One class were in fear and trembling one year when I was to take a home room instead of a support role. In the first week one child said with great surprise, "Miss Livsey, you're funny!" "Maybe I am, but don't tell anyone else." They all had great fun that year telling all the other kids how strict and mean I was!! Presence is not actually a myth but certainly needs to be supported by skills and strategies. I've never had behaviour management issues but have strengthened any 'presence' by learning additional skills. I've also observed many teachers implement strategies they've learned with little or no success.
  6. CORRECTION: The word '/leadership' should be be before the word 'support' not after 'classes' I don't know how it got where it is!
  7. The best guidance I have read on this is on Become a Status Master
  8. Just had a read of that - it's very very good!
  9. I'm not suggesting that acting like you are in charge is not an effective way to get some badly behaved children to believe that you are but should we really be describing this method with such zeal?
    Having to pretend you are an authority figure to trick children into thinking you are one doesn't really say a lot about the learning environment in some schools.
  10. 'Having to pretend you are an authority figure to trick children into thinking you are one doesn't really say a lot about the learning environment in some schools. '
    And I can't believe the effect would last long, anyway. They soon see through a 'pretence' of confidence. Actors may be trained in such techniques, but even Simon Callow lost his cool in the Jamie Show.
  11. Dobbinstar

    Dobbinstar New commenter

    That's a really interesting point Vehar.

    Old Callow did blow it didn't he? I was expecting so much from him as well!

    Partly it was his total text based approach to Shakespeare which bored them (they only livened up at the actual theatre when they got to do some practical work) and partly I think that the kids sussed him out as somehow fake and pretentious, something that may work for him in luvvie land but not in the classroom.

    My point about acting is that it can work for beginners who 'fake it until they make it', which happens in lots of jobs where people are developing their core competencies as beginners but need to appear competent to 'the public' until they actually become both competent and confident over time.

    Callow had very little of what I would call presence in class, he seemed jumpy, twitchy, lost his rag too early and easily; all the things you'd expect to see from a struggling PGCE student. Perhaps he only thought acting was for the stage?
  12. I thought we were talking about behaviour management here? Since most schools have a pretty straightforward system for dealing with behaviour I don't see why PGCE students should have to 'pretend' that they are able to manage behaviour...
    ....unless of course it is widely accepted that the system is a sham in which case saying that new teachers should be skilled at 'acting' because their schools are **** is absurd.
  13. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Good posts, dobbinstar.
    It's a process of habituation, isn't it? When new teachers "pretend" to be confident, much more than fooling the pupils, they are actually "fooling" themselves. Just because they don't feel as if they are an authority figure doesn't mean they aren't - they just need to feel what it's like to be an authority figure before they can fully inhabit the role.

  14. Dobbinstar

    Dobbinstar New commenter

    Thanks Raymond

    Its really not that hard to understand is it? :)
  15. Yes I agree; that 'presence' stuff is just another way of blaming-the-teacher for everything that's hard to manage about society. I've been in classrooms where Stalin could have stalked in, and ... if he didn't happen to have a bunch of goons around him.... his 'presence' would've been completely wasted on the rampaging wildlife.
  16. 77


    So, after all of this, we come back to the first question. How do we help students and NQT's develop "presence" in the classroom? This was certainly a point made by one of my student's college tutors during their school experience.
    I personally would answer it by being more specific and suggest that the word "presence" should be replaced by "confidence", "organisation", "clear delivery", "behaviour management" and "relationships".
    I have seen NQT's with more so-called presence than veteran teachers - it can be developed, but it comes from other personal qualities which help teachers to be self-assured in their own abilities.
    This, of course, would not necessarily work every time, in every class. An excellent school advisor, who had worked very successfully with one of my Y6 classes, went into a school in difficulty to deliver a demonstration lesson and the Y6 class were horrible for him. I worked twice with this same class - the first time very successfully and the second time they were horrible for me too.
    We can never sit back on our laurels and stop reaching out for this elusive "presence".
  17. So, after all of this, we come back to the first question. How do we help students and NQT's develop "presence" in the classroom? This was certainly a point made by one of my student's college tutors during their school experience.
    Well, no. 'After all of this', I'm even less convinced of the existence of such a nebulous concept as so-called 'presence'. You can't develop something that doesn't exist; we'd be far better off taking a real honest look at what constitutes a 'classroom' these days. It's not at all what most tutors in teacher-training colleges seem to think it is; it's not at all what it was when they... and we... were in one.
    It's become a far more complex concept, and I personally feel that very few of those who make policy in education, or those who implement it, have any idea of the reality of what goes on. Or if they do, they're in very active denial about it, probably because they don't have a clue what to do about such a reality.
  18. I have taught in several schools. I am an EY teacher (soft touch!), but have found over the years that 'presence' comes from being in a school over an extended period. Naturally, I can't speak for secondary ed, but in primary, when you have developed a relationship with the family, and they 'like' you, you are in a good place. That to me is 'presence'. I have done supply work too - not an easy task. And make no mistake, 'presence' has nothing to do with the role in this situation.
  19. I beg to differ on Vehar's post of 24/5/11.
    I'm a 5'3" black female teacher. I only have to step into a colleague's rowdy class and the kids fall silent. Yes, this is 2012 and I have no bling to swing to impress them - I want them to impress ME! This presence has not changed over my 13 years of teaching. No nebulousness, just pure reality.
  20. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

    Year 5 and 6 classes? Try 30 16 year olds sizing up their 4th supply teacher of the year!
    MarieAnn18 likes this.

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