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Non-Verbal/TL Behaviour Management techniques in the classroom

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by morkee, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. morkee

    morkee New commenter

    Hi there everyone,

    I'm currently a Modern Languages student at university, and as part of my Year Abroad I have been working in a collège and a lycée in France.

    It's going really well, I am fortunate enough to be running classes by myself, which is particularly useful as I want to train to be an MFL teacher after my degree.

    There is one problem I am having in class, and wondered if you could all help me with it. Whenever pupils gets noisy/off-task/distracted, I'm finding it difficult to get them to continue doing their work. If I try to do this in English, they generally don't understand. I've done this in French several times, but they just laugh at my accent and continue what they are doing.

    I've asked teachers here about it, but they've only ever been able to help re: disciplining particularly problematic children after the lesson etc. So, do any of you have any strategies to manage behaviour using non-verbal and TL prompts? Whilst I know I could just let them misbehave, I am really keen on being able to do this well as a 'practice' for when I may one day become a 'real teacher'.

    Thanks for your thoughts!
  2. morkee

    morkee New commenter

    Apologies for the lack of paragraphing, it seems that pressing enter doesn't work with Safari!
  3. Well.... I have a totally silent but very effective method for whole class control and focus. If you need ALL to be quiet, I rap the desk with a ruler or similar, and put my finger to my lips and my hand straight up in the air. All pupils know that as soon as they see me do that they stop whatever they're doing and do exactly the same - finger to lips and hand up. It's totally silent, stops shouting (by you - save that technique for when you need it!) and is very effective. It needs training training training but even my year 11s will do it cos I've insisted on it all the way through.
    I'm a Germanist, can't help so much on French TL instructions, but I utterly insist on discipline. You can do it nicely - or just get in their face. I always go for that until I have a relationship with the pupils, at which point behaviour will naturally improve. DO use humour and kindess when you can!
    Um.... quick attention for just a few, make a kind of 'psssst' noise close to them that is loud enough to hear and also I click my fingers (I do that a LOT in lessons, quickly and loudly) and point DIRECTLY to a child's face and give them a glare! A simple loud quesion 'Eh, pourquoi parles-tu?' in a vaguely stroppy voice whilst holding eye contact is often all it will take.
    I find invading what they would find as their personal space is very effective. YOu need to hold eye contact and not talk over them - STOP teaching instantly if a pupil is chatting. Make them know you mean business and get as close to them as you need to. If you are explaining to the whole class, use your body to 'own' the classroom. Lots of gesturing, moving around outside of the typical 'teacher box' at the front of the classroom is very useful. YOU are the teacher, you need to let all in the class know it. It pays to develop an amazing volume control on your voice - and don't underestimate talking quietly to bring them all 'in' with you whilst talking. Watch out for shouting/yelling - it becomes a game of yell louder ping-pong if you're not quick to establish yourself! Equally, learn how to bark when you need to!
    I suspect I may come across as vaguely aggressive in this - trust me, I'm not. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, bear that in mind, but you MUST be relentless with them.
    I have to say - classroom management is something that comes naturally to some more than others. I do not mean that patronisingly. You WILL need to learn techniques and nothing is better than watching people in your school who are known for having excellent relationships with pupils. that is often more use to you than having good behaviour techniques. If kids like you, find you fair AND LEARN IN YOUR LESSONS they will like as not bend over backwards to please you and you will get a lot further with simple requests. They're only human!
    Good luck. Try posting on more related boards for general behaviour management. You will crack it!

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