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Year 11 putting pen to paper

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by cb700, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. cb700

    cb700 New commenter

    I started a new secondary post at October half term. The students had a bit of a rocky start with the teacher leaving at having various teachers.
    I am an experienced teacher teaching for over 12 years but the main problem I am having is simply getting the students to put pen to paper and do some work. I have tried interesting hooks as starters coming up with engaging tasks. But they simply dont want to attempt the work. One year 11 class are getting so far behind and are not even attempting assessments so I can not judge their progress.

    They will also not listen to instructions when tasks are introduced.

    Any ideas?
    websites I can read up on?
    I feel like an NQT again!
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. mrmatt73

    mrmatt73 Occasional commenter

    Are the Year Team involved ? SLT Year-link ? Is there a problem within Year 11 that is impacting upon their behaviour ? It sounds as though you are doing the right things but they simply "cannot be bothered" and need other forms of motivation.
    pepper5 likes this.
  3. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Perhaps be honest with them. Tell them you understand their frustration at having different teachers, but that is life and now it is time to move on.

    Start with changing their attitude and behaviour about listening. Insist that they listen silently while you are giving the instructions. If they refuse, then follow the school's behaviour policy.

    I wouldn't worry too much about engaging hooks or stsrters - they won't be interested. Tell them in plain terms what they need tomdomto pass their exams and start giving them practice. Once yoiu see anything youncsn praise them for then do so.

    They can't do whatever they please until they are 18. Call the parents to get support.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  4. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    set a single mock paper next week, and ring home to inform parents of the grade, explaining to each one that their child will be bringing home a Christmas revision pack, and redoing a mock paper at he start of January
  5. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Agree in part at least with all the above. I think you need to know what the causes are - one at least is obvious, but it may be that the previous teachers weren't effective either. It may be that this is wider than just your subject. So I think you need conversations with SLT or year head or personal tutors or whatever exists in your school. I think that during this time, or afterwards, you need sensitive conversations with some of the pupils, perhaps with SLT/whatever or perhaps without - that'll be a question where some sensitivity will be needed.
    I also think that you need to share your concerns with the whole class. This might mean abandoning a lesson in the SoW in favour of a discussion/meeting kind of thing. This will be scary as you will be putting yourself on the line in front of them, but this does need to be a shared problem. They may say that the situation has gone too far to be recovered; they may be right in that; or it may be irrecoverable for a few. In the latter case the school has some tactical decisions to make. Can they withdraw these pupils from your GCSE and occupy them during your lessons? Would that allow the other pupils to flourish, and give you more space and time to look after them?
    The GCSEs are not far away and a mock exam may be a useful stimulus; but if the pupils are that far adrift, maybe the mock exam would finally destroy motivation for good. We can't tell from here, but you probably can.
    Parents may well be your allies. See if you can write a letter to all parents - and I'd suggest it was posted rather than emailed or sent home in school bags, as this needs to look important. You and management will need to be upfront about past problems; you and management will need to promise that you are there until the GCSE exams and beyond, that you know how to get the candidates through; and also that you therefore need all the support that the pupils and parents can give. You might consider - assuming school policy allows - sending a special report home in your subject, perhaps in the form of a letter, to give feedback on attitude, effort and progress.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  6. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    All this!

    Also, don't be afraid to sanction poor behaviour/lack of effort. Not listening is a basic behaviour issue not to do with writing.
    Spiritwalkerness and pepper5 like this.
  7. cb700

    cb700 New commenter

    Many thanks for your replies. I see the group for the first time this year Friday P5. SLT are involved but they simply came in and shouted at them and it really had no impact. Another came in and helped me plan a lesson to quote "give them no wiggle room and make it more active" I did this back in November and nothing has changed. I did an exam question with them the week before Christmas and the majority didn't even attempt it giving me no assessment. I plan to get them to re do this.

    Another main worry like Flere (above) said is not listening when I am talking, any ideas how I can address this? I sound like a PGCE student but they have me stumped! School policy is warning, second time move, then send to another room. You cant do this when it is such a large number. Or should I just do it one by one so I show I mean business.
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    That's what I would do. And if you send out 2/3s of the class every lesson for the first couple of weeks then so be it. They need to get the message you mean business.
  9. internationalschools

    internationalschools New commenter

    This isn't something that everyone would be willing to do (and not something you should have to do really either), but I took on a class like this in one of my jobs, and I put on a full day intensive saturday study session for them. Attendance was voluntary (to keep the trouble makers away), and about 20 kids turned up. If you can somehow offer the good kids the chance to learn away from the trouble makers, you'll be surprised how many of them would actually take the chance to learn.
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi internationalschools

    What a splendid idea.

    I have seen that over and over again on supply - most want to learn and it is usually only a handful who are disrupting the lesson for everyone.

    Deep down, the majority do want to learn and do well.
  11. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    Yes praise for the quiet ones is the way to go. The hardliners never change. The people in the middle the ones who aren't actively disrupting but who do nothing often will change. I used a system of effort grades for every lesson. My school had a number system and I told some groups I would send a letter home for five top marks in a row. Drop a grade and the sequence restarts. I would just walk around at the end of the lesson and note the grade in my planner. Not a lot of time at all. Those with bottom grade stayed behind but the positive post card / letter worked well for the middle group.
    pepper5 likes this.
  12. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    Some really useful replies already given here, particularly Skeoch who highlights the importance of getting support from elsewhere in the school. Depending on what subject you teach, removing one or two key players, temporarily or otherwise, could be a good strategy.

    I absolutely agree that it is necessary to devote a lesson, or even a few lessons, away from the SoW to address the feelings and attitudes of the students. Ascertain how they feel about the disruption they have had and what went wrong with previous teachers (not an opportunity to be rude but constructively why didn't it work/what sort of activities did they not feel helped them make progress etc) and then emphasise that you are there now and will be there consistently and willing to help those who want the GCSE. Perhaps they had to repeat what they saw as pointless activities if they had a lot of cover so make sure they see that you have a plan. Show empathy (it sounds like you do) with the feelings but then focus on putting an end to moaning and excuses and working out a collaborative plan. If you haven't already done so, ask them what they want to achieve outside of school/after GCSEs and discuss the skills your subject can provide to help them along their paths. Try to demonstrate that you are on their side and want to help but that ultimately it is their GCSE and their only opportunity. Appeal to their blooming maturity and help them see this as an opportunity to show what sort of person they are in the face of difficulties: do they just quit and blame someone else or do they have resilience? Compare this to anyone achieving anything! Whoever they admire, resilience is necessary.

    I have previously used a phrase that worked well in a similar situation: I am accountable for your results, but you are responsible for them. We discussed what accountability meant and that I would sit with the headteacher and 'explain' their results (ie show what help I gave/offered) but that they had the ultimate responsibility for them and it was their actions that determined their success or otherwise. Many year 11s got on board with this idea and it helped us feel more like a team. Stress that it is not you against them and there is no point in blaming you for previous teachers leaving. You're there and willing to help so why not start afresh.

    Have you also tried planning the rest of the year with them? Perhaps they feel like it's too late for this GCSE so showing them how you plan to fit in everything they need to know, along with revision time, might give them some motivation. You could design a week by week plan with them and put it up in the classroom/give them copies so you're working together.

    Parents: absolutely get them involved. I think a letter, being candid about the previous disruption but demonstrating what the school is offering (ie a qualified, experienced teacher willing to support students) now. Be direct about the attitude of the students currently and explain how they are not making the most of the opportunity being presented. Give a clear sense that their child will have to be removed from the lesson if they prevent others from learning. Explain this to the class first. Then start removing students if you can.

    Seating arrangements: If you can identify any students who are keen, try moving them to the front and teaching to them. Discuss how you can help them achieve and progress, praise them and sit quietly with them guiding them through their work. Ignore the others for a lesson. This technique probably isn't for everyone but I have found it effective when it feels like the entire class can't be bothered and you don't know what to do next. They're wasting time anyway so a further lost lesson with the hope it might change is better than nothing in my opinion. I found that as those at the back noticed the teacher wasn't interested and that those at the front were actually gaining, a few more asked to join in. I went so far as to not even give those at the back any work so they couldn't be involved and it didn't take long before they actually asked for a sheet/activity because it feels a bit silly and childish to so fully disengage.

    Finally in terms of them actually writing. Have you tried photocopying their work (even a blank page/just a title) and sending it home in the post with a note explaining that was what they handed in after 45 minutes for an assessment? I have found this gets a reaction from the parents, even those who are not particularly proactive. Often parents haven't seen their child's actual work for a long time by year 11 and they can be shocked into being more supportive.

    Let us know how you get on.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  13. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    With Year 11, trying the 'be strict and just do as I say' routine might fail. With that age and situation they are in you might need to 'empathise' a bit and to some extent turn their progress into 'we're in it together' alongside sanctions for not getting on board.
    pepper5 likes this.
  14. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Some great tips sarah. Photocopying the blank sheets and sending them home is brilliant. I bet that gets a reaction and the video games banned.

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