For student teachers perhaps the biggest challenge of being in a classroom is finding ways to manage student behaviour. Teachers yelling ‘quiet’ every five minutes isn’t a particularly effective form of discipline. The kids don’t like being shouted at and you’ll end up with a sore throat by the end of the day.
So what are some techniques I’ve seen in action in the last 4 weeks?
1. You catch more bees with honey…
AKA as positive discipline. Instead of focusing attention on troublemakers, the teacher focus their attention on the children who are behaving in class. Eg. ‘I like the way Sarah puts her books away,’ ‘I like the way Matthew is sitting on the Matt.’ This technique is particularly effective with younger children who still seek a teacher’s approval for their behaviour however I’ve seen it used in year 7/8 classes as well.
2. ‘Eyes on me’
You sing, eyes on me, the students sing it back to you. Good for juniors, drowns out other conversations but does tend to add to the classroom noise.
3. “Clap clap, clap clap”
Like ‘Eyes on Me’ but the teacher claps a pattern and the students clap it back. Suitable for older kids as well as juniors again it drowns out other conversations but it does add to the noise.
4. Stand and glare
This is particularly effective at the end of the lesson and with kids from about year 3/4 upwards. Don’t do or say anything and wait for the class to bring itself to attention. Pro doesn’t add to classroom noise, con takes time there’s a risk the students will continue with their off-task behaviour ignoring you. Must have good ‘teacher glare’ to implement.
5. Hand up
You put up your hand and stand quietly. The students notice and then start to add their hands up until every is silently sitting/standing with their hand up. Pros, doesn’t add to classroom noise and is visible. Con, takes time to train and to implement.
Teacher counts down to 1. The technique is effective when you want to get students to complete a task, eg. putting away reading books, in a timely matter.
7. The silent pick-up
Students are given a list of tasks that need to be done at the end of the class, eg. putting away the paint, washing the brushes etc. The class is checked off against those criteria the students win points for extra jobs and lose points for talking. At the end of term the class with the winning points gets a certificate at end of term assembly.
Part 2 to come tomorrow…