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Observations in classes/schools with behaviour problems?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by alexanderosman, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. alexanderosman

    alexanderosman Occasional commenter

    This is something I've been struggling to understand for a while. I've been in several ofsted satisfactory schools, where the general behaviour in my opinion was less than satisfactory - lots of calling out, cheeky comments, having to repeat instructions and do countdowns before children comply, having a struggle to keep children on task, poor attitudes to learning from a significant minority of the children (or a majority in some classes!)
    At the moment I'm doing supply and tbh this doesn't faze me - I get on with the lesson and have the children working as hard as possible - provided the behaviour isn't extreme and work is done to an acceptable level I leave fairly happy.
    However, what's bothering me is the idea that if I was being observed teaching lessons like this I'm convinced they would be inadequate. I know this isn't anything to worry about personally at the moment - but I know from comments from other staff that actually the children usually behave like this, and I've seen behaviour around the schools while permanent teachers were teaching which isn't any different.
    How on earth do teachers with classes like this achieve even satisfactory observations, let alone good? I'm sure if I had these classes full time their behaviour and work for me would improve, but not sure it would be enough to achieve an acceptable lesson. Or am I being too picky with expectations of behaviour to achieve a good lesson?
    I would expect all children to be on task the majority of the time, no calling out, no comments not about the subject of the lesson and all children complying quickly with requests from the teacher. What do teachers with classes full of low level disruption do to achieve satisfactory observation lessons?
  2. I simply don't accept low level disruption in my classroom.
    The sort of calling out/talking over the teacher/minor rudeness etc is (in my opinion) fairly easy to knock on the head. Ideally, you will have a robust, whole-school behaviour policy which i consistently reinforced. SMT and the Head should be heavily involved. Parents should be involved. But even without all that, it's still possible to achieve good behaviour in most classrooms where behaviour is only 'low level' disruptive.
    It really isn't rocket science. Read 'The Behaviour Guru' for more info (I think that's the title) but it basically boils down to lots of praise when things are done right, incentivising good behaviour, making the lives of those that do misbehave 'extremely uncomfortable' and doing this EVERY TIME it occurs. Never let anything go, never 'forget', always follow through. It takes time and investment in the early days, but without good behaviour, you can forget about learning anything.
  3. When I was on my PGCE I had to do a TA placement for a fortnight. The school I went into had been classed as 'good' by Ofsted. Let's just say I no longer believe a word Ofsted says. The school was literally like the Wild West - children used to pour down the corridors en masse, no lining up, shouting at the tops of their voices; they talked all the way through the Head's assemblies and the Head never batted an eyelid; wrestling matches kept breaking out in one of the classes (I had to separate 2 children - which I felt a bit awkward about doing as the teacher was turning a blind eye to them rolling around on the floor... in an upper KS2 class). It wasn't limited to one class, either - I went into a few identical classrooms and others from my course went into different year groups and came to the same conclusions.
    This was a big school, virtually all EAL in a very disadvantaged area. I'm inclined to think Ofsted graded it as 'good' because if they hadn't it would have meant having to pour a hell of a lot of money into it to try to sort it out.
    I once spoke to a Head in a school judged 'outstanding' who quite candidly told me that one inspector had visited the school, didn't watch a single class, sat in his office and listened to him wax lyrical about how good the school was over tea and biscuits. So... graded outstanding - without seeing a single class!
    Ofsted is irrelevant. Observations are also largely irrelevant and completely artificial - the children can be persuaded to behave out of character because even they appreciate the novelty value of having an 'important observer.'
  4. I am a behaviour support teacher and I go into lots of classrooms. Some children need very specific interventions but in general when a class is being difficult often the class teacher just isn't consistent, lessons are either unplanned or are not differentiated well, Teachers talk too much and demotivate eager learners. Consistent and persistent management is needed as stated above and it does work...............as long as you like children and want to be teaching !!!
  5. alexanderosman

    alexanderosman Occasional commenter

    Having reread my post, I can't see anything insulting in it at all.
    Both you and milliebear missed the point and did not actually answer the question. What I was asking was how the teachers whose classes I have had, and the other classes in the schools I have been to where behaviour like this was clearly the norm (and I do know this for certain as I have been asked back so know the behaviour was good with me, and was told by several different support staff that their behaviour with me was quite normal), achieved satisfactory/good observations. I didn't ask how to achieve good standards of behaviour - having had good and outstanding observations myself I'm well aware of that. The answer that I was clearly not doing things right and the comment "it's not rocket science" not only didn't answer my question but was quite scathing and judgmental.
    I'm describing schools such as those mentioned by the other posters above, where it is clear from the way adults respond to bad behaviour that it is not unusual. It is impossible that these teachers get inadequate in their observations, as otherwise they would all be on capabilities and sacked, so they must somehow get at least satisfactory. I'm honestly perplexed as to how people in such schools manage it - that's what I was asking. Not for replies that tell me how fantastic you are at behaviour management.

  6. alexanderosman

    alexanderosman Occasional commenter

    Just adding that the above comment was not aimed at milliebear, having read her second comment I completely agree.
    I have worked in an outstanding school in a tough inner city area, and behaviour was excellent as you would expect in an outstanding school. This was because the head was very clear about his high expectations of the children's behaviour and work, thus supporting the staff in achieving them. At that school I would have kept a child in for fiddling while I was talking or not stopping straightaway. At a subsequent satisfactory school I was only allowed to keep children in for punching or kicking. Note the difference in grading!
  7. But the point is that you should not be getting graded anything other than inadequate unless behaviour is conducive to learning. Poor behaviour simply isn't.
    A Head or SMT member may have thei own reasons for artifically grading their own staff as satisfactory or good etc (perhaps because they themselves are failing to implement a discipline policy that works) but ultimately, this won't matter a bit when Ofsted come calling.
    The days on shipping difficult kids out on trips and Ofsted having 'tea and biscuits' with the Head are long gone! They will HAVE YOU FOR BREAKFAST if you cannot control your class, and the Head will be asked some very uncomfortable questions if s/he can't display an adequate cross-school discipline policy that's demonstrably working.
  8. The reason I responded in terms of your own behaviour management (and probably why other people did) was because in your OP you said:
    <u>However, what's bothering me is the idea that if I was being observed teaching lessons like this I'm convinced they would be inadequate. I know this isn't anything to worry about personally at the moment</u>
    which implies you are concerned about how you would manage if you ever had to teach a class like this, in a school like that, on a regular basis. You were given advice on that basis, which is that you should implement strong discipline in order to ensure you were not graded inadequate!
  9. alexanderosman

    alexanderosman Occasional commenter

    Sorry, maybe I wasn't clear. The lessons I'm talking about were on supply. If I was teaching there on a regular basis I would not accept that kind of behaviour, and even on supply am obviously working on them as much as I can, and am seeing improvements in behaviour throughout the day I'm with the class.
    I'm now teaching two classes on a regular basis, and have been able to introduce new strategies and my own clear rules which I can follow up on the days I'm with those classes, and am certainly not planning to allow the behaviours I have observed to continue (I've observed these classes with their permanent teachers). I've had good feedback from the school, and have had the head pop in and out of lessons and be pleased with what she saw, so she has gradually increased the work I do there.
    However, this takes time, effort and persistence as you have said, which I can't do on random supply days.My concern was that behaviour I'm working with on supply days in order to avoid conflict with children I don't know, is apparently the usual behaviour of those classes with their regular teachers. That is what has bothered me, not me thinking that I wouldn't manage teaching the classes regularly. I completely agree with you that you shouldn't be getting anything other than inadequate and your comments about ofsted - but in practice that can't be the case. I'm obviously just not explaining myself well this evening - I'll blame my cold!
  10. alexanderosman

    alexanderosman Occasional commenter

    In fact I've just noticed in my OP that I did say that I was sure that if I had the classes on a regular basis their behaviour would improve.
  11. As I understand it, only a Head can instigate capability procedures on the basis of underperformance. Ofsted may or may not see those teachers teach. They would raise a red flag if they did, but I don't know whether they would actually insist on capability for individuals. More likely, if the problem was widespread, as you describe, they would instigate notice to improve procedures.
    The teachers you have seen may be on capability. They may have support in place for their poor behaviour management, or...they may not. Either way, it's up to the Head, but it's in his/her interests to get it sorted in time for the next Ofsted visit. I know of one school local to me that went into special measures on the basis (largely) of poor behaviour. And that was in the days when you got notice and could 'ship out' the really tough kids!
    I am now not sure what you're worried about. If you have no concerns about your own ability to maange these classes should you be required to long term, then why do you care how their Head is grading them?
  12. alexanderosman

    alexanderosman Occasional commenter

    I'm not worried as such, just confused as to how this can seem to be widespread in 'satisfactory' schools I have been in. It's impossible that all of these teachers can be on capabilities, or that all of these schools can be recognised to be failing to secure acceptable levels of behaviour. I just don't understand it. Just an observation really - I've been in schools like this and wondered what on earth they do about observations because I know I would not be happy being observed with a class behaving like that. It seems to me that poor standards of behaviour must be being ignored by some heads, and they can't be seeing perfect behaviour in all the lessons they observe, so why does it carry on?
  13. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Sometimes, as someone else pointed out, the reason for the poor behaviour is poorly planned lessons and a lack of care by the teacher. When ofsted is present (or a LA inspector, or even the HT) teachers generally plan to the nth degree, especially those who know things are not fully right in their class. So on that day, at that time, things work well. It is a novelty for the children and the inspector knows no different. Hence satisfactory.

    Yes a great many heads do turn a blind eye.
  14. Do you know if they behave when with their regular class teacher? I teach a lively class who I have managed to get under control but the second I'm out for any reason they erupt. And I don't know why they do it. So my observation would be graded fine for behaviour.
  15. alexanderosman

    alexanderosman Occasional commenter

    No, in the particular schools I'm thinking of I know for a fact that they don't behave for their class teacher either (apart from one class who responded extremely well to me letting them know I would be leaving a note for their class teacher - but they also behaved well for me on the day I had them). Support staff in all the classes have told me this is what they are normally like, I've been 'warned' about classes I was about to take by other members of staff, I've been told they were actually better behaved with me than they normally are, and I've observed some of the classes with their normal class teachers for various reasons.

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