Psychologist Fredric Jones found that in a typical classroom, teachers spend approximately 50% of their instructional time managing students who are off task and disturbing other. (Konza.,Grainger, & Bradshaw. 2004. pp.81). So what can we do about this?
Image taken from: http://www.clipartoday.com/clipart/cartoons/cartoon/cartoon_264057.html
I am a great believer that prevention is better than a cure, especially in terms of behaviour management. We need to be looking at ways in which we can promote and encourage positive behaviour in our classrooms, to prevent us from desperately searching for that cure.
During my weekly visits I have been closely watching how my teacher manages her class; in particular the children who tend to challenge her authority and disrupt their peers. The first thing I took note of was her class rules; they were clearly displayed at the front of the classroom. At the beginning of the year, my colleague teacher established these rules with her class. The rules act as an agreement between her and the students, and reinforce her expectations. They outline to the students exactly what they need to be doing, rather than what they are not to do. By enabling the students to take part in the creation of the class rulesgives them a sense of responsibility for both their behaviour and learning.
‘Assertive teachers will not tolerate pupils stopping them from teaching or stopping others learning. Most importantly an assertive teacher will recognise and reinforce appropriate behaviour when it is displayed.’ (Konza, D., Grainger, J & Bradshaw, K. 2004.pp81)
In a recent lecture, Peter Hobbs from the DET behaviour management team spoke to us about how to create a positive learning environment in difficult situations. He reiterated the importance of establishing classroom rules and gave us some examples of what these might look like:
Images taken from: Hobbs. (2011)
The visual images are important as they support the text for students, especially visual learners.
He also demonstrated to us the C.A.L.M approach to behaviour management:
Click here C.A.L.M
Whilst is important to establish these classroom rules, it is also essential that we as teachers get to know our students! Too often or not, students misbehave as a means of communicating a problem. For example, something is happening at home, the physical environment (lighting, temperature) may be having an effect on them or they simply do not understand the work. We need to look at why our students might be behaving the way they are.
The NSW Institute of TEachers Professional Standards:
Element 5: Aspect: 5.1.6. Demonstrate knowledge of principles and practices for managing classroom discipline.
Here are some video clips from television show Summer Heights High:
Jonah is a year 8 students at the school who presents with learning difficulties. Jonah appears easily distracted in the first classroom (Yr 8 English), this could be due to work being set is too hard. The second is a specialist classroom named Gumnut Cottage. Watch how his behaviour differs in the two classrooms.
Warning: Coarse language.
Please leave your thoughts and comments.
Hobbs, P., (2011) Lecture 10: The Positive Classroom[Slides] Retrieved from:
Konza, D., Grainger, J & Bradshaw, K. (2004). Existing Models of Behaviour Management. In Classroom Management: A Survival Guide, (pp79-100). Social Science Press.