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Behaviour Scenarios

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  1. Behaviour Scenarios A specially commissioned set of resources for tutors, school mentors and trainee teachers Scenario 2: Gaining attention in a noisy class

  2. Scenario 2 Gaining attention in a noisy class The class are working on an exercise and becoming increasingly noisy. You want them to move on the next task. How do you make the transition?

  3. Key learning outcomes • Gaining knowledge and understanding of some of the principles for changing activities in a class. • Planning, practising and giving feedback on timing and task-focussed language during periods of transition in order to progress learning efficiently.

  4. What do you do? • Gain attention using an established signal and ask, “Who has completed the task?” • Write the next task up on the board. • Pick on the noisiest individual to stand up and tell the class what he/she has done. • Go round to each group in turn to give them the next task. • Clap your hands and say firmly, “Right, pens down, stop and look this way, please.” • Raise your voice over the noise and shout, “Who is ready for the next task?”

  5. What might be the best choice? 1.Gain attention using an established signal and ask, “Who has completed the task?” In establishing standards with the class you should have agreed a ground rule about gaining attention (e.g. hands up). Reinforcing it with praise helps to speed up the process and establish it more firmly. However it is not enough to have quiet. You need to quickly and calmly seize the moment, and identify progress before rounding off the task and moving on. 5. Clap your hands and say firmly, “Right, pens down, stop and look this way, please.” Alternatively, a noise (other than shouting) can also be used to attract attention before you seize the moment to speak.

  6. How might you prevent a recurrence? • Plan for transitions as part of your lesson plan, anticipating possible problems and working out how to avoid them. • Practise routines with the class, making this fun if you can. Perhaps use tools (such as a musical instrument) to help you. • Remind the class of the routine for changing tasks and say that it will be their behaviour for learning objective next time. • Do not forget to do this – make a note in your planner if this helps or, better still, use reward charts or points for each time they change task quickly.

  7. Underlying principles • Changing the task, although difficult to accomplish, may well help to improve behaviour and engagement as each new start can provide more interest. • Teachers need to find ways to establish quiet without shouting or nagging the class, both of which are likely to be ineffective. • Skill and practise are needed to judge, then seize, the moment to achieve a change in work activity. • Setting up and reinforcing procedures and routines is time well spent, but is not an end in itself: the measure of success is the learning which takes place. 7

  8. Rights and responsibilities • QTS standards include the need to establish a clear framework for classroom discipline to manage learners’ behaviour constructively and promote their self-control and independence. • Pupils have the right to be in a situation where they can learn without interruption from others, they also have the responsibility to behave in an acceptable way. • It is, however, the teacher’s responsibility to create the conditions in which learning can take place.

  9. Activities to try • Watch the Improving Behaviour for Learning resource - ‘managing transitions within lessons’ with your tutor and play the scene analysis. What are the common messages from the three observers? • Between you, you will have already tried (and observed) a number of approaches to resolve this type of situation. Using a board or flipchart, list them and evaluate the effectiveness of each from your experience so far. • Choose two you have not tried before which appeal to you and try them out in the classroom, preferably with a colleague to observe their effectiveness. Arrange to discuss the outcomes: “What went well?” and “Even better if…” Report back at the next seminar.

  10. Want to find out more? • Improving Behaviour for Learning (Secondary Schools) – Managing transitions within lessons • Group trainee teacher discussions – Gaining attention in a noisy class • Primary Behaviour & Attendance - Promoting positive behaviour (classroom) • Teachers TV - Primary NQTs: From one thing to another • Teachers TV - Primary NQTs - Managing Behaviour • Teachers TV - Teaching with Lanvoy-Taylor: Getting their attention (Secondary) • Teachers TV - Teaching with Cowley: Starting Over (Primary and Secondary) • Teachers TV - Teaching with Bailey: Showing them who’s boss (Secondary) • B4L Glossary item - Anticipating and managing pupils’ behaviour • B4L Glossary item - Leadership Styles

  11. Conclusions What is the key message have you gained from this scenario material? How might you apply this approach in your own practice in school. Further insights and notes for tutors and mentors are available on the website Updated August 2009