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Student teacher needing behaviour help!!

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by jaderoberts91, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. Hello
    I'm currently a 2nd year university student studying Primary Education and I am currently on placement in a year 1 class.
    Basically the class are really badly behaved and I struggle when it comes to managing them. It has taken the class teacher months to get them to behave for her but they dont for me at all and I'm not getting much help from the teacher.
    Does anyone have any advice/tips/strategies that would help me deal with the whole class? They are disruptive, chatty and do not listen. In particular there is one girl who does not respond to me at all, and there is a boy with aspergers who I cannot get through to.
    Any help that you could give me would be much appreciated, this is really making me want to give up!!

    Thank you!
  2. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    I've said something very similar in a similar thread, but here goes.
    I have a lot of experience of behaviour management and student teachers, and, in the long run, advice and tips aren't enough. Its about you thinking deeply about the whole philosophy of your classroom.
    Decide in detail
    (a) what kind of classroom you want
    (b) what sort of relationships you want with your pupils
    (c) what techniques, strategies and resources you need to commit to and apply consistently to achieve that.
    Hints and tips are fine, but they are reactive to a situation: as a new teacher, you need to be much more proactive, so that you shape the nature of the classroom from the very first moment you walk in the door. All pupils - well and badly behaved, low and high ability - should know exactly what to expect from you all the time.
    Go back to the basics of Positive assertive discipline - it's been around for ages, but really does work when you have to establish yourself. Spend time on creating those resources and practising those routines, and embed them until they become second nature to you: only then will they become second nature to the pupils. It's hard work and takes time.
    And don't get frustrated with the Asperger's kid: the fact you cannot "get through to them" is obviously going to happen, since that's the very nature of Asperger's in the first place. And if you get frustrated, believe me, that will communicate to them and only make matters worse. getting upset by such a situation is like getting upset at a brick because you can't teach it to swim. Simply follow the ASN advice you get, and celebrate every little step forward.
    Good luck
  3. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Some good advice above; I would add:
    1. Try to detach yourself from the misbehaviour, and don't see it as an attack on you- it's entirely impersonal. Instead, watch it as if from outside, remarking, 'How odd.' If you can depersonalise any misbehaviour, you lower your blood pressure, raise your chances of dealing with the situation rationally, and enjoy a better quality of life.
    2. Accept with grace the things you cannot change instantly, Grasshopper. This won't happen in a heartbeat; turning a class around makes turning the Titanic on a dime seem speedy.
    3. What you are experiencing is a normal part of the training process; teaching, despite what our pals in the real world tell us, is extremely difficult, and takes time to get in shape. The question for you to ponder is this: do you want to be a teacher or not? If you do (and I hope you do) then it's going to be tough for a while, no question. But the harder you work at it, the more rewarding it becomes. It's the best job in the world, and that comes at a price, paid in determination and grit.
    Good luck
  4. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Excellent advice - do it just like that!
  5. I did a google UK advanced search for 'Positive assertive discipline' and it returned only 130 hits. A fair few of them were letters and posts from you Raymond and a few more linked me to the website of a consultancy that you appear to work for.
    I also looked up Assertive discipline on Wikipedia where a lack of supporting evidence is listed as one of many criticisms - the link is here; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assertive_discipline
    Although I actually agree with some of the basic principles of the approach I do wonder why it is touted around as a solution to poor behaviour on this board. The problem in tough schools isn't that they don't have a list of rules, expectations and consequences it is that they are rarely followed through because of the culture of denial and blame that make these schools what they are.

  6. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Your google search would have / should have shown hits fro Lee Canter, Geoff Moss or John Bailey (of Teachers' TV). They are excellent sources of books, ideas and resources for implementing PAD.
    It's true I do work very occasionally for a consultancy. I don't really see any problem with that - I don't get a cut of any resources sold. And, after all, Tom advertises his excellent books and consultancy through this forum, so I don't really see what your point is. Perhaps you feel that because I have a track record in behaviour management training, I am not qualified to offer advice on here.
    It's also true that one of the criticisms levelled against PAD is the relative lack of research evidence to support it. Another is the suggestion that it is essentially an undemocratic system. However, anecdotal evidence suggests it works: in 7 years of PGDE students using it - and the OP is a student who asked for help - I've had extraordinarily positive evaluations from students and placement schools as to its usefulness and effectiveness, even after we have discussed it in detail and raised the very basic problem you cite from the Wikpedia page, and a whole lot more in much more depth.
    "Touted" is the wrong word. I don't tout any theory or resource. In many posts, I have often suggested that we should pick and choose what works. That is why I see many opportunities in schools to use restorative practices, neo-Adlerian approaches, humanist principles and solutions-focused techniques where appropriate. I merely suggested to the OP - who asked for advice - to check out PAD as a useful starting point to establish classroom presence. If you have any advice to offer, then offer it, and the OP can choose as they see fit.
    Thank you.
  7. Yes but you since you are employed by a company that advertises some of these products it is hardly surprising that you endorse them as well.
    I'm not aware of Tom advertising anything on here that isn't related to TES (which 'The Behaviour Guru' is) but this isn't my point. My point is that if you are going to recommend particular methods you ought to acknowledge at the time so it is clear to everyone that you are employed by people who make money from those methods.
    Again you would say this because you work for a company that sells products related to Assertive discipline. Here is the link http://www.behaviour-learning.com/shop.php/
    You've endorsed positive assertive discipline specifically on several occasions. This would be fine except that you are not impartial because of your connections.
    Amongst other things I am merely pointing this out to the OP or anyone else who is might be bothered and therein lies my advice.

  8. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Of course, no-one has the opportunity to assess the impartiality - or indeed the inherent worth - of any advice you offer, since you are anonymous.
    However, I am sure institutions are indeed falling over themselves for your input.
  9. Since I don't routinely endorse products or services and therefore have nothing to gain by posting here I see little reason to question my impartiality.
    Also I'm happy to debate with you about any advice I give or points that I try to make but I'm not of the opinion that one can reliably base the worthyness of advice on the amount of experience the giver has, their position or the demand for their services.

  10. Hey. I sympathise with your situation, I had the same as a student teacher and when the class teacher doesn't offer any good tips it makes it very hard. I would also make sure you are on good terms with your TA, TAs can be very helpful and know the class well and may be able to offer tips on how to manage them.

    I've worked in classes up to year 4 and I think with year 1 the good thing is that they are young but they are capable. I think first you have to treat this as your class and decide, what kind of classroom you want. When you are talking, they all need to be silent. They mustn't call out and they must respect you. It might be worth having a circle time with the children and set your boundaries. Tell them what behaviour you expect, don't give them a choice. I always tell my class, do what I say the first time. A simple sanction is if they misbehave their name goes on the board with a sad face. I always say, quite melodramatically, "I am so sad that so and so is not showing me they are listening."

    As for the Aspergers child it might be worth chatting to the teacher/Senco/parent about the child. Find out more about their condition as these children have short attention spans and sometimes they need a fiddle toy to help them with long teaching sessions. But find out what works for them first.

    Hope this helps.

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