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"nobody's paying attention"

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by purpleflamingo, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. In class the other day, we were reading and some people in the class were not cooperating by not reading, not giving attention to questions asked, in other words the work and the discussion of the text was poor. Then there was a distraction outside the classroom and while I continued trying to work (whole-class), a student who has terrible marks and doesn't do much at all, called out loudly while I tried to direct the class back to the work "well, nobody's paying attention" in a desperate tone.
    What would you respond to that comment? considering it was partly true, yet it came from a student who doesn't pay attention no matter what. It was also the kind of comment that just finished off any motivation some students still had.
    What would you do faced with these attitudes (also considering there was an unavoidable (small) distraction outside - a sports event - don't ask!!)

     
  2. In class the other day, we were reading and some people in the class were not cooperating by not reading, not giving attention to questions asked, in other words the work and the discussion of the text was poor. Then there was a distraction outside the classroom and while I continued trying to work (whole-class), a student who has terrible marks and doesn't do much at all, called out loudly while I tried to direct the class back to the work "well, nobody's paying attention" in a desperate tone.
    What would you respond to that comment? considering it was partly true, yet it came from a student who doesn't pay attention no matter what. It was also the kind of comment that just finished off any motivation some students still had.
    What would you do faced with these attitudes (also considering there was an unavoidable (small) distraction outside - a sports event - don't ask!!)

     
  3. MisterW

    MisterW New commenter

    Very annoying. When I pull someone up for talking and they say "but other people are talking" then my response to this is "I never said they weren't, but you are talking and right now I'm dealing with you"
    The best solution though is never to get into this situation in the first place by acting earlier to root out disruption. Stop teaching when even one or two in the class are not paying attention and address this, then continue once all your students are giving you the courtesy you deserve. Otherwise, you start to slide down that very slippery slope...
     
  4. MisterW, thanks for the feedback.
    How do you act to "root out disruption" and address the students not paying attention? It seems to me there are always at least some...

     
  5. Good question. I have a top set Y9 class that I'm afraid I have gone down the slippery slope with this year, and now I am trying to get their attention back. I do stop and wait for their attention, but am finding just waiting is not quite enough, and telling them I am waiting for them to listen is simply me talking over their chatter, and I might as well try carrying on teaching! How do other people get the class to actually STOP chatting away and listen again?
     
  6. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    Keep the worst offenders behind at break or lunch. Put students on subject report; if they don't get a certain score out of 10, say, at the end of the lesson, they have a detention. Don't bargain with them; they have to be perfect all lesson. Enlist the help of your department.
    Time to get tough and show them who's boss!
     
  7. Have you tried walking around the classroom while you are teaching? This changes the dynamics of the lesson a bit - the sound comes from a different place, the pupils watch you, you get to see thieir books & are more 'present' for those who are (temporarily) close to as you move around.
    You can do this either as you are talking or as they are meant to be working. In both cases, it is a great way to help keep them focussed on the topic. It also gives you an opportutnity to praise / encourage pupils if yo see they are working well as you move past them. Others see this & it may help them reconsider their productivity!
    I use it when a class starts to get fidgety or sleepy - on a Friday afternoon sometimes!
     
  8. rainbow_gold

    rainbow_gold New commenter

    i agree simply walking around as you are talking works wonders - spending several minutes standing behind the chair of your worst offender is also very effective!
     
  9. MisterW

    MisterW New commenter

    It sounds like you may need to impose sanctions on the class. Have it clear in your mind what your rules are, communicate these to the class and then punish consistently to try and nip poor behaviour in the bud.
    Going back to your original post - what the kid did was completely rude and whether it was "partly true" is irrelevent. I think what I would have done would be to ask the kid to stand outside, then when the chance arises go and give him a stern telling off in the corridor and make sure the other kids can hear that this is happening. This youngster has disrespected you in front of the rest of the class and if he is seen to get away with it then the amount of respect that the other kids have for you drops and you're more likely to face disruption again in the future.
     
  10. Thanks for the comments. I will try walking around more often.
    Regarding the telling-off of the rude girl who said that - I find using a stern voice or taking the worst offenders aside doesn't work. The other day (in another class) a student laughed in my face when I took him aside and shouted at him. He is out of the class for two weeks but these incidents undermine me despite his being removed...and him being removed only works for about a week when he comes back... or what do you think?
     
  11. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

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