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whole class reading impossible

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by tonymars, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    I am a medium term English supply teacher.

    With one Year 7 class I am finding it hard to complete any whole class reading. For the last few lesson I have tried, and failed, to even read a few paragraphs of short stories with the class due to continual (low level) disruption/ silliness. I have therefore told the class to read to themselves (silently) and complete the worksheet tasks I had supplied. Unsurprisingly, few did this and most simply chatted. I have made clear that students can actually learn by doing these activities and have in the past had several students removed. Some are starting to complain that I "am not teaching them," although when previously asked whether they preferred this opportunity to take the learning opportunities themselves, with little input from myself, the vast majority said yes.

    It is hard to identify ringleaders, but one girl who read a bit today in such quiet a voice that no one could hear, later, when I took over the reading, constantly interrupted me.

    This is a school where, generally, the kids are on the side of learning and respecting teachers, but , apart from having trouble makers removed, there seems to be little other support - there is never, for example, any SLT etc in the corridors.

    I am only in this school for until the Easter break, but I am experienced and have taught in much tougher schools, and I would like to know where I am going wrong. I asked the HOY to look in today but his didn't happen.

    Is there anything wrong with directing a class to read a text themselves? Any advice would be very welcome.
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    Hello, I'm also an English teacher and know that this can be a real issue. Class reading presents many issues:
    - if you read, your eyes are down which makes it tricky to eyeball trouble makers/identify problems
    - kids read at different paces
    - kids refuse to read/read too quietly/with no intonation
    - some skip ahead whilst others don't bother at all
    - frequent stops interrupts the text

    Then at the end of a battle, no-one seems to have understood the text!

    Keep tough on making the reading happen. It's harder with no support (follow up on the no show from the HOY) but not impossible. Where the timetable allows, keep them in at break and lunch until the task has been completed satisfactorily. Amazing how silent they will be once the bell has gone.

    In general, I think it is preferable to read together. A handful of students will be able and motivated enough to read and comprehend it themselves, but the majority will not.

    Although, I think most students enjoy the text better when the teacher reads it well, many kids will switch off. So, I have had success with getting the students to read one sentence each. Snake around the room in a clear pattern and begin by expecting every student to participate. Most will. It's just a single sentence. Be aware of any serious issues with stammering/dyslexia etc but I have found that almost all students are willing to tackle a single sentence at a time. It forces all students to follow along and others to keep them on track because it's annoying if they are the one that loses the flow. It also raises some good discussions punctuation and what constitutes a sentence.

    You could time them/make it a competition not to lose the place/offer some sort of reward (like choose a song to play at the end of the class) for successful rounds of reading.
    pepper5 likes this.
  3. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Thanks for all your many replies. Well, I guess I'm f***** then.
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    A more grateful response to Sarah might have encouraged others to chip in...
    bea35 and pepper5 like this.

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