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The advice on behaviour - How do I make it work?

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by doctorinthetardis, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. doctorinthetardis

    doctorinthetardis New commenter

    Just a thought regarding your final paragraph about the good lessons ... what struck me as different is your confidence. If you are having these behaviour problems, then when you do have those good lessons, your confidence must soar and this is evident in the way your lesson works out. You feel good, confident and successful and students respond to that. Focus on what is working well in those lessons, are they the ones you feel really prepared for, are they the ones you really know your stuff about, are they lessons which you feel excited about the content or the approaches you have planned to teach something?

    I think as a student teacher, often it is evident you are new/ you don't know it/ you are learning and ultimately it's a scary time, a time when you may not come across as confident to your class and they will pick up on this. Heck, I'm an Early Years teacher and even my kids would pick up on that when I was training and on placement. So be confident, know and tell yourself, 'I am the teacher' and 'they are the students'. No matter how they behave, they are students, kids. And you have power. Believe it and you'll be amazed at how differently they react. Fake it till you make it. Assume confidence. Assert your power as the teacher, especially with such difficult behaviour in class. You have already been given some great advice about being firm and consistent, I particularly like the term 'brutal'. I have fairly good behaviour in my class, but when they do step over the line, they KNOW it. I make it very clear. But if you are trying to follow this advice, behaviour management strategies and sanctions, without really sounding confident about imposing these sanctions, it will be obvious. Next time, make it clear in a firm and confident voice the sanctions that you will be imposing should X happen. When it does, immediately stop and follow through with confidence. Ignore others. Don't go back outside to get them. Leave them. Get on with the lesson as if nothing had happened. In fact I would go as far as to say tell them exactly how disappointed you are with them with regard to their behaviour and that this is a new start for sanctions. You will not tolerate it anymore. It is not acceptable. And follow through. Love the idea of positive strategies such as 'Students who have impressed me' rather than names of those who have not. There are most definitely kids in your classes who do want to learn and will help you once you gain a little more control.

    Enjoy the positives, learn from the negatives, think critically, know it will get easier, and fake confidence and authority if you don't feel it yet. Good luck. Let us know how you get on.
  2. And what is the consequence of this? Presumably you've counted down with no success, and then started counting up? Have you then made the class stay behind for the relevant number of minutes? If not, then that's your problem. You need to follow through on anything you threaten/promise/offer to do ... and this is in terms of positive and negative things. I've promised to phone home before to praise a child and then forgotten about it ... they were on my back the next day asking me why I didn't do it.
    Similarly, I'd forgotten to arrange a detention for a few pupils and when they messed around in a later lesson I couldn't understand why they weren't bothered by what I said .. then I realised and I now make sure that I try my absolute best to follow through on everything. And, also, do so quickly. Like training a dog ... you need to praise them immediately after they've done somethign good, and punish them while they're doing something bad ... without that immediacy they can't connect the action and reaction.
  3. I've been having behaviour problems all throughout my course, right up until the past couple of weeks when I've been tired, hormonal, stressed, and angry. It felt like the kids could sense it and the change in response was noticeable. I found it was all down to my tone. Previously I had just been 'asking' and now I was 'telling'.
    Example - my year 9 class were acting like animals the other morning (apparently after another lesson where they were out of control, according to the TA). When they insisted on talking over me, I just demanded working in silence (angry voice), and laid out the sanctions I would give them right there and then if they talked: move them, behaviour slip, detention. Two got moved and one of those got a behaviour slip. After that they got the picture and worked in silence for five minutes. After that I gave them a clear reason why they'd had to work in silence - and the rest of the lesson the 'climate for learning' was set.
    I think it largely depends on the school, or even the class. My previous placement, most kids did not seem to care what sanctions they received. I'm going back to that school in a few weeks and looking forward to exercising my new techniques - hopefully they will make a difference.
    See if your mentor can get a couple of nice students (or even naughty but well-meaning students) to come in at lunch time and let you practice your teacher voice on them. Actually hearing direct from a student what they thought works and doesn't work helped me.
  4. Have you considered asking your supervising teacher to video you while you are teaching? It can be a powerful tool to self reflect and learn from. You will see yourself as your students do and might be able to pick up body language signals you are sending and voice subtleties that you are unaware of. Make sure when videoing that you can see yourself AND the students reactions to your instructions/teaching in the footage. You'll need to consider permission issues too - ie a note to parents seeking their consent to film a lesson.
  5. I use the same technique with my Year 5s. What do you do when you have to count up? Do you keep them in for that time? Do you feel confident using the signal and following through with the sanction? If they get the idea that you might not feel happy with this yourself, they will push the boundaries.
    It works for my class, because they have been trained to respond to it and they know that I'm utterly ruthless in taking minutes off their breaktimes (it's something I had made clear to them right from the start and is generally the first rule I introduce). The longest my class have ever lost was 15 minutes. They sat in silence during that time, watching the timer on the IWB count down, while I dismissed the "good kids" one by one. (My quiet ones tend to stay only a few seconds and are then allowed to go. It's only the first time it happens, that the whole class have to stay for the whole time.)
    If they are able to behave when their teacher is in the room, but suddenly act up when he leaves, they are taking the mick. Have you spoken to the teacher about it? Has their teacher ever spoken to the class about it? Mine know that I expect exemplary behaviour when someone else is taking them (and I get very cross when they let themselves down). It's ok to mess about a bit when I'm taking them, but it's much harder for someone, who doesn't know them well.
    I had a similar problem when training, though. It was a top set Year 8 and their "real" teacher was quite strict, but had a brilliant relationship with the class. They really liked her and didn't appreciate me taking over from her - even for a little while. It didn't help that it took me ages to learn their names. They were a nightmare, and I honestly looked forward to my bottom set Year 7 (who were much happier to have me teaching them). All my behaviour issues suddenly disappeared on my next placement. I do believe it was a problem with the school, as much as it was a problem of me being inexperienced.

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