Classroom behaviour…it is easy to give a heavy sigh especially when I consider some of the issues I have had to deal with in the last year. However, the majority children I have help teach are great and their behaviour is also great.
Classroom behaviour starts formally with the school policy on behaviour, make sure you read this and understand it.
This will list the various steps up the ladder of discipline. For instance you may have: first warning, second warning, loss of play or lunchtime, sent to another class, sent to Deputy Head, letter home, parents called in, suspension or at worst exclusion.
Of course there are also praise and rewards than are used. These may include: special job, house points, up the reward ladder, raffle tickets and class rewards.
As the Teaching Assistant it may take you a while to understand how your teacher is with your class. You need to have exactly the same response. That must be fair and consistent and is one of the most important skills that you can display in the class.
Children need to know and understand that there are consequences to their actions. It would be nice to think that all children do but sadly that is not the case. There are many reasons why children misbehave but we must be consistent.
We need to work very hard to maintain consistency with all children not just in the class but in the school. We usually discuss and then write the class rules. This is typed, mounted and everyone including the Teacher and the Teaching Assistant signs it. It gives focus and food for thought about behaviour.
Your teacher will delegate jobs to your children such as book monitor, door monitor, there are many monitor jobs. These will help your children understand their rights and responsibilities and can only but assist with the culture of the class and the behaviour of the students.
Your teacher will also have a bag of skills that will help you and the teacher to engage your students. In my experience it is worth watching and understanding what is happening when she uses them. For instance my last teacher and I had a great relationship and we laughed a lot, this was good for several reasons. It puts the children at ease especially when it is a year move and the teacher and TA are unknown, it can be very funny and help with learning. My last teacher used to gesticulate wildly whilst explaining a point, it was a visual anchor which helped the children remember and made me laugh and was just fun. Learning and fun what more can you ask for. Good behaviour is just the best, it is wonderful to see children enjoying learning and having fun.
What about bad behaviour?
In my experience it is the low level disruption that you need to keep to a minimum. One thing you need to learn is ‘the look’ and the look just works. Essentially you are saying ‘stop, what are you doing and should you be doing that?’ be that wandering around the classroom, head on the table, not sitting up, talking when they shouldn’t be and other things.
If they do not spot you giving them the look then their name should be called out calmly and quietly as not to disturb the lesson.
As well as ‘the look’ you can use ‘the pause’, once one student notices it they all will and slowly one by one stop and pay attention.
Other strategies which a probably are small rhymes. You call out ‘one, two, three’ and they will reply ‘eyes on me’ or a personal favourite ‘hocus pocus’ and they respond ‘everybody focus’, if that doesn’t work the ‘freeze’ works well.
I will come back to this but children need to act appropriately in the classroom.
This Ofsted survey report follows concerns raised in the Ofsted Annual Report 2012/13 about low-level disruption in schools. As a consequence, guidance to inspectors was tightened to place greater emphasis on this issue in routine inspections. This survey was commissioned to ascertain the nature and extent of low-level disruptive behaviour in primary and secondary schools in England.
The findings from that survey show that teachers, parents and carers are rightly concerned about the frequent loss of learning time through low-level but persistent disruptive behaviour. This report demonstrates that, in too many schools, teachers are frustrated by this sort of behaviour and are critical of colleagues, particularly those in leadership positions, who are not doing enough to ensure high standards of pupil behaviour.