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Sick of being undermined!

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by LoopyFluff, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    I actually agree with you, quatar. School policy should be followed, and sanctions consistently applied. That's one of the basic principles of positive assertive discipline. However, the OP asked what to do in a situation where he/she perceived that the policy hadn't been followed, for whatever reason, and I gave some advice that actually dealt with the situation rather than simply take positions on a barricade.
    I think the "debate" - if you can call it that - which has gone on is more focussed on the balance between rewards and sanctions.
     
  2. If you really think that school policy should be followed why did you not condemn the mentor or the senior manager for not following it?
    Perceived? The OP was very clear that the school policy had not been followed and even described the mentor and the managers excuses for not following it.
    I don't understand why you think you are helping the OP by insulting their intelligence. I can't see why advising someone to ask for help from people who have already proved unhelpful is going to deal with any situation. Finally I don't see the point in 'having a word' with these naughty children and 'setting them behaviour targets' is going to make a jot of difference when the sanctions for failing to meet those targets are unlikely to be applied.
     
  3. moscowbore

    moscowbore Senior commenter

    I have all to often been in a situation where senior managers, who dont actually teach , give advice of the touchy-feely type. For example, when I reported that a student had walked over to me during a lesson and nose-to-nose told me he wasnt doing anything I asked him to do, I was advised to "build a relationship". On another occasion a different student completely refused to do anything and sat laughing at me during a lesson. When I asked for a manager to come to take the student away I was rebuked for not trying three strategies first before calling for management help. I was also advised that I had not respected the emotional intelligence of the student and that my lesson planning was the real cause of the student's behaviour. I have many other examples.
    ===================================New paragraph================================

    In schools where students are tough going teachers have to be realistic about what can be achieved in a class where students will walk across desks, swear repeatedly, roll about the floor in mock fights etc... Teachers try bloody hard to help those who want to be helped and go home exhausted from trying. It is a truly thankless task. The effort is never recognised by management, in my experience. All I ever wanted was a class where there was more teaching than crowd control. Those of us bloodied by the battle get a little peeved when we hear yet more airy-fairy nonsense about building relationships when what is needed is a set of rules consistently applied. I often asked who was actually in charge in the class.
    ===============================================New paragraph=====================

    I do not reward students for behaving normally. I do praise students who meet the requirements of their behaviour contract but I also point out that this is what normal behaviour is. The disruptive behaviour is not normal. I went to great lengths to celebrate success in my classroom. The first ever level 7 for a year 9 student in the history of my school involved me handing out chocolate, arranging special presentation at next assembly and it worked. Students could see the true practical benefits of coming to school and actually achieving something. But this was hard won ground. I created my own definition of acceptable behaviour, I took lessons to discuss the rights and responsibilities of students and printed off a list of rights and responsibilities agreed by each class. Then behaviour management began by pointing to the list and asking students if they were meeting their responsibilities. All planned, executed and consistently applied by me without management help. It exhausted me to the point where I had to leave the school. Eventually I left the UK as I did not want to shorten my life.
    ==============================================New paragraph============================

    My belief is that there is too much touchy-feely advice handed out by management. Management will give this advice because it sounds good to an inspector and has the huge advantage that management dont have to actually get off their **** and do anything. Hence the "ibad behaviour only happens in bad lessons" mantra of the clueless, lazy manager.
    =========================================New paragraph===========================

    Praise is a powerful motivator. I have seen the biggest, toughest, most scarred students raise their eybrows when they hear me praise the socks off a student who has done a good piece of work. I can then move in with the "all you need to do is ........." speech and hey presto, five minutes later they have proof in their hand that they can actually achieve something and it is infectious and habit forming and takes a lot of effort on the part of the teacher.
    ======================================New paragraph==========================

    None of this is possible without basic order in the class. The class must be a place where rules are applied, students modify their behaviour to meet those rules. Students must have at least the understanding that they cannot disrupt a class. With that in place, a teacher can then get on and teach and give the attention to those who need it most. Without the basic order nothing is possible. It would be nice if just sometimes management would spend some effort to allow us to get on with what we were employed to do and not just spout pointless rhetoric.
     
  4. Ive been watching, with some interest, the way in which this debate has evolved and it is a little concerning that there is still a level of misunderstanding of the need,value and possibly even the ethical considerations around the rewarding of appropriate behaviour. Come on! Surely these debates were done and dusted years ago... Yet here we are again, with the old chestnuts of 'why shoud I reward pupils for behaving well?' and 'Im rewarding bad behaviour...what will the children who behave well and dont get rewarded think'. They bubble up to the surface with monotonous regularity...
    Good behasviour is arguably a function of, amongst other things, effective self regulatuion. Self regulation originates from many places; parents/carers, peers, self expectations, the expectations of others, previous experiences of outcomes of behaviour and so forth. In the early years, rewards have tocome from an external source and are a means of the child sorting out what is and what isnt appropiate and how their behaviour will be received by those around them. As the child develops, the scaffolding of external rewards becomes less necessary as rewards for appropriate behaviour become more intrinsic...as the child receives the consistent rewards of appropriate behaviour. The majority of pupils will quickly reach the stage in their development where the act of behaving appropriately is, in and of itself, rewarding with only minor,' maintaining' rewards being required from the teacher. (the word parent could be substituted here because good teaching and good parenting share many characteristics). When the child has not reached the stage of rewarding him or her self intrinsically, it is the responsibility of the adults around that child to provide the temporary scaffolding of external rewards that is necessary before the intrinsic stuff kicks in.
    Dont worry about losing face; you are not rewarding bad behaviour, you are rewarding good behaviour and reinforcing the development of self-awareness and self-maintaining appropriate behaviour. Other kids will be aware of who are the challenging kids and in my experience will usually be alert enough to realise why someone is being rewarded and praised over and above others. You can squash down the difficult behaviour as often as you like and might even feel pleased that this is working, but unless the pupil knows what is expected of them and has an intrinsic motivation to work towards this, you are just buying time at the expense of long termn, sustainable positive change.
    Im not getting into a debate about this; Raymond seems to have it in hand.
    Come away the behaviour wallahs; some times, like it nor not, those who sound like they know what they are talking about might just be right...
     
  5. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    Would you consider the absence of a lengthy and tedious lecture about their behaviour to be a reward? If so then I reward pupils that behave well all the time.

     
  6. The problem isn't with rewarding good behaviour it is rewarding normal behaviour and thus lowering expectations.
    Now this really annoys me. Why should a well behaved child have to lump it when a badly behaved one is showered with praise for the simple act of choosing not to be disruptive? It makes my blood boil when the children who are awarded prizes for getting the most housepoints in a week are the same ones that get the most detentions for poor behaviour.
    This is immoral and grossly unfair - again it will also lower expectations.
    Are you seriously trying to suggest that singling out naughty children for lavish prasie when they behave themselves is going to lead to a long term positive change?
    If you don't want to debate why post on a message board?
     
  7. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    So you've posted three lengthy paragraphs and then said "I'm not getting in to a debate about this". Contradiction?
     
  8. It depends on how lengthy and tedious your lectures are really
     
  9. Yup. Contradictions are part and parcel of life and this kind of inconsistency would be dreadful were it replicated in a L and T setting, but I havent the time or energy to debate well established facts about motivation,child development and effective learning and teaching strats.
    Here's another inconsistency because I am going to reply to another bit; the bit that really
    annoyed someone.
    "Now this really annoys me. Why should a well behaved child have to lump it when a badly behaved one is showered with praise for the simple act of choosing not to be disruptive? It makes my blood boil when the children who are awarded prizes for getting the most housepoints in a week are the same ones that get the most detentions for poor behaviour.
    This is immoral and grossly unfair - again it will also lower expectations."
    Read what I wrote about motivation and the perceptions held by other children. The wellbehaved child already gets the rewards for behaving appropriately. The act of choosing not to be disruptive is not an act in and of itself; it requires the child to understand what is required in order to behave appropriately, to be able to carry out such appropriate behaviour consistently and to have had such behaviour promoted, acknowledged and reinforced. Who is best placed within the L and T environment to bring about this positive change and what are the implications of not operating in such a manner? Discuss...or not.
    I would argue, if I was going to argue,which Im not, although I might... if the muse takes me to do so, (if only to add further contradiction to my contribution), that it actually raises expectations and that to emphasise punitive rather than positive approaches is where the immorality can be found.
    Enough stirring for now...Im off to the flat world website where its just 'boulders all the way down'. You can get a cracking debate there too.
    (apologies for the typos - new netbook thing. The errors in grammar and syntax are all mine.)
     
  10. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    graniteplanet you really don't have to keep pointing out that you're inconsistent, your advice on teaching makes that abundantly clear.
    Why then do you suggest that others do display these contradictions in the classroom?
    So you've already resorted to the "it's a well known fact" argument - genius.
    You will need to significantly improve your debating skills if you want to take them on.
     
  11. My my, it does get tetchy around here doesnt it! Its interesting that Mr B's comments dont deal with any of the substantive issues, but if thats the way its going....
     
  12. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    I only really ever praise or reward work and effort. I can't remember praising a pupils behaviour in the last 5 years or so. I will occasionally praise the behaviour of a class (usually by pointing out that I have not needed to mention behaviour much/at all during the lesson).
    Pupils that annoy me get a boring, tedious lecture at the end of the lesson (the length of which depends on how many times they have misbehaved). I have a very supportive department and we park pupils with each other if they cross certain lines (resulting in the pupil having to repeat the missed work in detention). Our heads of year and most of our form tutors are wonderful so pupils rarely get away with bunking detentions. Pupils know when I think they have behaved well because they get to leave on time. They know when they have worked well because I tell them so and occasionally send letters home or write positive referrals or well done slips.
    I set out my minimum requirements for behaviour. If pupils don't meet them they are sanctioned. If they do then I raise the bar. I assume that if I set the standard and amount of work I require correctly then pupils must be behaving well if they meet my requirements. Therefore praising their work and effort carries implicit praise of their behaviour.
    I find this works very well.
    "Well done Jon. You must have finished already. I'll come over there in a minute and check through your work" is the kind of thing I say to a pupil who is off task or messing about. They have the option of apologising or making a judgement call about whether I will think they have done enough work knowing that if I'm not happy they will be kept behind. It takes a while for pupils to get used to my methods but we get there in the end.
     
  13. Right this is how I interpret your waffle, do correct me if I am wrong.
    • Well behaved children don't need to be rewarded because they reward themselves for behaving well.
    • Naughty children don't know how to behave well so need require training through the use of material rewards or social recognition.
    Firstly I think the self satisfaction gained from behaving ones self only goes so far. For example most adults expect to be paid or at least acknowledged for working hard.
    Secondly I think that the vast majority of badly behaved children know exactly how to behave well, they choose not to.
    You clearly disagree if you think it acceptable to give the largest proportion of material rewards and social recognition to children who spend the smallest proportion of time behaving well and working hard.
    I can't see what sort of positive change you are hoping to make from this.
    You are arguing. Please could you not insult everyones intelligence by pretending that you are not.
    Also who is suggesting emphasising punishment. If children behave badly they should be punished and if they behave in a manner that surpasses how one expects them to I would suggest rewarding them then.
     
  14. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    Certainly. Schools have policys which outline the minimum expectations of pupils' behaviour (put hand up rather than shouting out, don't disrupt other pupils' learning etc). You advocate rewarding pupils for following these minimum expectations. This implies to pupils that these expectations are not in fact the minimum, but rather they are something extra, something over and above what they ought to be doing anyway. Thus the teaching practice you encourage contradicts the written policy and therein lies the inconsistency of your advice.
    By the way, should you wish to use the quote function on this site again, you only need to select the text that you're quoting, and then press quote. This should make your posts a little clearer to read.


     
  15. You have previously implied that 'emphasising' discipline is a bad thing.
    With this in mind could you furnish us with one reference that describes a reliable method for dealing with poorly behaved students?

     
  16. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    In reply to the OP- I have worked in schools where the support from my HOD, heads of year and SLT were inconsistent, undermining and of limited use. Here are the strategies I used to help me:
    <ol>[*]Target a small number of pupils in each class at any one time (1-2 at a time). Really focus on making their lives difficult if they misbehave (constant phone calls and letters home, detentions etc). For anyone outside of the 1-2 you are focusing on make the sanctions short and easy to do (so that the class knows that you are aware of and doing something about the poor behaviour, no matter how many minimal)[*]Don't rely on conventional support structures for behaviour if they don't work. Make mutually supportive alliances with other teachers. I used to do at least one turn of the building when I was free removing pupils that were causing problems for people. My friends would do the same. We would do the same with picking up each others detentions making more difficult for pupils to abscond.You can also take behaviour issues to members of SLT that are more likely to be supportive. Pick and choose who you ask for support and you are more likely to get the support you want.[*]Don't challenge your manager or mentor about their unsupportive behaviour. In my experience it makes them less supportive not more.You will also be accused of being "negative" Instead ask them to help you come up with a plan for improving the behaviour in your lesson and ask them how they feel they are going to fit in with this plan in terms of support. Then follow it to the letter (whether it appears to be working or not).They then have a vested interest in making the plan work (thank them loudly and publicly for their help and support in planning how to improve the behaviour in places where their manager will hear you). [*]Reduce the content you are trying to get through until you have sorted out the behaviour issues. This will mean you are not worrying about whether you are going to get through everything you planned for the lesson enabling you to stop the lesson, deal with poor behaviour and move on. The temptation/danger in lessons where the behaviour is poor is to try to teach over or through the poor behaviour in order to cover the content. This is ultimately self-defeating.[*]When a pupil is not working take their book, folder and all their equipment away. They aren't using them so they don't really need them. I find pupils really don't like this and will generally, grudgingly agree to do a minimum of work in order to get their stuff back.[*]Don't take any of it personally.[*]Try to stick to sanctions you can do without support (boring lectures are my method of choice. They have now become notorious and other teachers threaten pupils with them) </ol>As a manager and as a form tutor I always ask the member of staff requesting support what they would like me to do. If it is reasonable it is done. If not then I explain to them why not and what I would like to do instead and try to make sure they are happy with what I'm doing. They aren't always happy but I find it generally works. Sadly far too often what people want is for me to do their classroom management for them. I always support my colleagues to the pupils in the first instance but it isn't always easy to do so.
     
  17. I am truly sick of this.
    There are a handful here, including "Mr Leonard", "oldandrew" and "YesMrBronson" (that more or less says it all, doesn't it?) and one or two others, who peddle their antiquated nostrums as if they were the font of knowledge. They do so repetitively on more or less every thread that comes up on this sort of topic, with blinkered unwavering rigidity, ad nauseam and beyond ... their 'solutions', such as they are, are decades out of tune with modern society, and they never really worked back then anyway. At best they bought temporary relief at the cost of long-term increased behavioural difficulties and a dysfunctional school with hopelessly bad staff/pupil relationships. The research showed that the most punitive regimes created the most disruptive environments... and these posters still cling to these ideas, I can only imagine because they lack the personalities or the skills to operate more effectively, and are probably (if indeed they are working in education in the UK, which at least some of them are not) simply in the wrong job.
    They are repeatedly offensive towards anyone who posts sensibly with modern positive ideas. Ideas that have been shown to work and are in tune with the world as it is, not with how these indiviuals might like it to be. They never say anything new, and their minds seem to be firmly closed to any alternative propositions. Their idea of debate is to endlessly copy and paste fragments of what people have said, then declare it to be "wrong" and then restate their own stuck-record opinions, already stated dozens of times before. That's not 'debate', it's tedium beyond endurance. I just wish they would shut up and allow this forum to be something worth reading. [​IMG]
    But bravo, graniteplanet, Raymond and others for trying, it's much appreciated.

     
  18. I really like some of these strategies but I would suggest caution with a few of them particularly if you work in a tough school with an incompetent yet awkward SMT.
    You could be heading for trouble here if your target students decide that you are picking on them. At one school I've worked in you would be reprimanded for using this method if the parents complained or the head of discipline (I'm not kidding) found out about it. It that school it would have to be an all or nothing approach where you'd be singled out anyway for issuing too many detentions.
    Sound advice although again you need to be diplomatic as some managers will percieve this as undermining them and the school discipline system - even though they undermine it continually themselves.
    Again sound advice although be careful - some managers are not to be trusted and will use the fact you have asked them for help against you if it suits them. If your manager can't do their job because they have too many other things to do then try and use them but if they clearly just can't be bothered steer well clear.
    I agree and would add that the type of tasks set should be simple enough for the children to get on with while you deal with any badly behaved students. Worksheets and even copying out are perfectly acceptable activities for classes that are off the chart when they arrive to your lesson.
    This wouldn't work in some schools I have worked in. Many badly behaved students would kick off if you tried to take their belongings, they would be happy about the book as your taking it would become the reason they didn't do any work - a reason that would be accepted hook, line and sinker by the SLT.
    I can't believe I just wrote all that - I truly have worked in some pitiful schools.
     
  19. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    Me too- I've been pulled up on numerous occasions for using some of these strategies. I generally apologise, stop using them for a while if necessary and then start up again when it has all blown over. They don't all work with all pupils but I think that some of them in combination might improve the situation.
     
  20. If I am wrong argue with me.
    If you can't then can you please stop wasting everyone's time with pointless ad hominems.
    What research?
    You're the one posting abuse, not me. If you find other people's opinions offensive then perhaps you might want to stop reading them, rather than constantly trying to make out that anybody who disagrees with you is a morally defective, incompetent dinosaur.
     

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