4th June 2010 at 01:00
The problem: My class is boy heavy and some pupils do what they want, settle down when they are ready and chat during lessons. I set detentions and follow through with everything but I think they see me as a bit of a joke and enjoy making me discipline them

What you said

"Pick them off one at a time. Name the pupil and state the consequence clearly so the others can hear. When they complain, 'Well, he was doing it, too', just reply, 'That may be true, but you are the one I saw.' This is more effective than trying to control the whole class at once by shouting at them all at the same time."


"If these children are behaving in this manner, your line managers should be involved. Have the senior management team remove the children if they are stopping you from teaching. If they are not allowing you to get on with the lesson, they need to be removed."


"They have to know that you mean business in terms of sanctioning them and following up on sanctions."


The expert view

No inappropriate behaviour should be left without a response. Even if the response is to isolate and ignore the behaviour, it must be made clear to pupils that this is your chosen strategy.

You can take pride in the fact that you have responded to the behaviour appropriately, which may not have solved the issue but has prevented it from becoming worse. If you have followed your school's behaviour management policy but the sanctions have not resolved the situation, you should move to the next level.

In most cases this will not mean an immediate jump to a member of the management team, but will probably involve a subject or pastoral leader. Some teachers are hesitant to do this, feeling that it undermines their authority by suggesting they cannot cope. This is an understandable but unnecessary worry if you are seen to be in control of a joint response.

An effective approach is one in which the subject or pastoral leader joins you in your classroom, with you taking the lead, to impose a strategy that the two of you have agreed in advance.

If you want to resolve this issue independently, your next step is to see the boys individually. Explain what is inappropriate and how you expect them to behave; inform them of the sanctions you will impose if they misbehave; reward changed behaviour, and contact each boy's parents to explain your strategy.

Finally, evaluate how pupils are grouped in your class, how engaging your teaching strategies are and the rewards you use.

Stephen Calladine-Evans is assistant principal at St Richard's Catholic College, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex. For more behaviour advice, go to



- Escalate your response to bad behaviour, involving subject or pastoral leaders if necessary.

- Explain to the boys individually what will happen if they continue to misbehave.

- Re-assess your rewards for good behaviour.


- Worry that involving a more senior teacher will be seen as undermining your authority.

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