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Teaching Tips 4: Classroom Management


You know I’ve seen things like anti-bullying
policies saying you will do this and you won’t do that. I don’t really think that works because
I’ve worked with a guy before who used to talk about white noise, so if you’re talking
to a kid and he doesn’t…you know, you’re laying out a list of rules or you’re talking
too much, after about ten seconds they just hear (white noise) like that going on. And..
So the easiest way is to get them to talk to you and say what they think, and then you
can board what they think and then go on from there. But if you’re just laying it down then
they’ll listen, or they’ll pretend to listen but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s
going in or that they’re going to do it either. Can we run?
Why can’t we run? Uh uh answer…why can’t we run? Yes?
(student) It’s dangerous. Why is it dangerous Richard?
(student) Because you can fall down Yeah we might fall down, yeah, okay.
And no pushing please, no fighting, no kissing, no killing!
And normally actually, I’ve forgotten that one but I normally will do things as well
like say, you know, don’t take a pencil, because why not? And then do the whole thing about,
you know, you might stab someone in the eye, I get my shirt covered in blood, and I’ve
got to phone 999 and then, you know, my boss gets angry because I’ve got to clean the carpet,
maybe your mother will be angry because she’s got to clean, and these kind of things as
well. So when we…you know, they know the rules
and they’ll start…they start telling you but they, they’re common rules, you know?
They’ll be things that they have in their own school, but because it’s a little bit
different here you just need to remind them about them.
Okay Kieran…Richie, what does Kieran need to do now?
Yeah but can you write them down? Okay. At the start you have to be quite…well you
have to be very consistent with how they’re applied. (Students working together) This one – real or not real? Uh uh, hands
up if you think he is real. What do you think this robot can do? Hands
up please, hands up! Daisy! (Student)…and they can shoot rays…
Can they? Okay, maybe some can. Okay. Yes? Ah ah! Sh! Hands up please if you’re going
to speak. What movie is this one from?
(Students) Star Wars! Star Wars. Hands up next time please. Yeah,
so this one’s from Star Wars. Hands up again if you know his name. I try and be as consistent as I can but sometimes,
in some situations you might get a bit…you know, if the kids are for example communicating
or if you’re feeding back or something and they’re not, they’re not putting up their
hands for example, but it’s working without them, it’s working with them not putting up
their hands. It’s okay because everyone is getting… they all feel very comfortable
and it’s got a lot less formal, then I think that’s fine as long as you’re consistent with
it. So I couldn’t just say, oh yeah this table, yeah that’s fine. No, you put up your hand.
If I say you’ve got to put up your hand then everyone has to put up their hand. In the first class we set up rules. What I
tend to do is I give them scenarios, like there’s a student who’s not very confident
and he tries to talk in class but nobody listens to him, or nobody can hear him because other
people are always talking at the same time and then there was another one who was always
talking when the teacher was talking. So one of the rules they come up with is ‘always
listen to the teacher’. And I was like, well what does that mean? And like ‘ah well, don’t
talk when the teacher’s talking.’ And then I was like but what about this other one?
You know, why shouldn’t we listen when other people are talking as well? So that’s kind
of established, that…they’ve written that down and they know that they shouldn’t do
it. So that one I always pick up because I always want them to speak and I don’t want
just one child to speak, I want them all to be confident speaking. So yeah, it’s one of the things that we’re
quite big on is not just listen to me but listen to each other ’cause quite often…
I mean you saw with those robots, like one of them, I wasn’t sure what it did, so they
came, they had much better ideas about what it might do than me. It has wheels and legs. How tall is it?
(Students talking) Natalie. Natalie. There are different schools of thought. I
know there’s one teacher here, a senior teacher I think, who says that you shouldn’t say please
to kids but I think the first time, yeah I’d say please.
Kieran! Kieran. Away please. But second time, if you hadn’t, then put it
away now. I get more stern. But there’s a thing where you, I think, say if you shout
or if you’re very harsh in tone all the time then it loses its impact. If you spill Coke all over the table, well
why does he have Coke? I think ’cause if you don’t manage the little things then it’ll
be a problem later. You know, mechanical pencils have got to be one of the most annoying things
ever and like, because they’ll spend, I mean adults will do this, they’ll spend ages fiddling
with a mechanical pencil. So if you don’t tell them to put everything
away, like you know, get a pencil, get out a mechanical pencil, fair play. But then if
you don’t tell them to put everything else away then they’ll get out their little bit
of lead and they’ll start stuffing it in and they’ll start doing like this.
You know, even if you’re talking, or you’ve set it up, you’ve put the instructions on
the board quite clearly what you want them to do, but they’ll still start looking in
the book. You know, well why are you looking in the book? So you take the book away and
then it’s not a problem. And it does look like maybe at times like
you’re obsessing about little things but then I never have an issue with two kids getting
in a fight because one of them took a pencil from the other one or somebody, you know,
pushed someone’s pencil case off the table, or somebody wrote something on somebody else’s
book, or someone was writing notes. Well you can’t write notes because there’s no small
bits of paper and there’s no pencil unless you need a pencil.
Books away and put that paper in your folder for the moment please. Your tables clear and
you’ll need a pencil and a rubber, okay? Tables clear in thirty seconds, I’ll give you your
cards. 29, 28, 27, 26 Get a pencil but I don’t want any pencil cases
on your table. You can get a rubber and get your book as well please. It’s little breaks as well so it helps with
transitions. So you know, right so now we’re going to be doing something involving the
book so you get your book out, you put it on the table, you’re using the book, now we’ve
finished that, so you put the book away because we’ve moved on. We’re not using the book any
more. When I was doing the PGCE, a lot of the stuff
I was reading, when I was being observed it became quite apparent that a lot of management
issues that I might have or that might come up were a result of a lack of planning, How
do I go from this stage into this stage, into this stage? And what will they be doing when
I’m doing this? So you know, if I want to go and talk to one table, what are the other
tables doing? Because that’s a potential for them not to be doing what they should be doing.
If I’m writing on the board, how do I know that they’re going to be engaged. I’m not saying by any means that it should
be like a slick performance because, if your students bring up something else you have
to be able to divert to go on to that. But if you’re making up a lesson as you go along
then you’re naturally going to have to have thinking time and you’re naturally going to
have to pause and look at things. Or for example setting up visual material or the audio, if
you’re messing around with the CD, that’s dead time to them and they’re going to get
bored. Do you think this one’s real? Okay hands up
if you think it’s not real. Okay so, these two tables…you’re correct! Very good, okay
so one. Well done, yes you are correct, okay?. So yes…
If they’re sitting properly or they put their things away, that kind of thing, they get
a card. We then use the cards, we count up at the
end and the winning team gets two stamps. And then over the semester if you get 25 stamps
you get a prize. 40, 51, 61, 70, 72, 76, 81, 87 for this table.
Because it’s cards it’s entirely random so you could have a team that’s always answering
all the questions correctly and they just keep picking twos and threes and one kid just
answers one question correctly and if he picks a king, then his team get more points.
The tables that do very well academically are always the tables that, you know, will
win in these kind of games but you know there’s other things at play as well. There’s like
you know, trying hard, following rules, listening to instructions and these things matter as
well. The kids that are struggling, you’ve got to
give them loads of opportunities to catch up or to be good. You can have little words
with them like you know, that’s five minutes you’ve still been really good, well done,
reward them. Little one to one conversations like that during classes, I think if you’ve
got a child who’s trying to make amends, I think make a big, big difference to them.

Reynold King

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