Behaviour

26th November 2010 at 00:00
The problem: I'm a PGCE student and the teachers at my school shout at pupils. I appreciate that at times it is necessary, but I refuse to do the same. Is it possible to teach without raising your voice?

What you said

"Find a way to make it clear that you are waiting for quiet, eg counting down. Give the pupils a bit of time out by sending them to wait outside. You can then have a quiet talk with them without an audience when they have calmed down."

Bombaysapphire

"I am on my PGCE and I have been told that by the end of my placement they must have seen me shouting at a pupil. I believe that if you get angry they know they have cracked you - I had minimal respect for the teachers at school who were always bawling."

Oliviadw

The expert view

A school full of shouting teachers will create a stressful environment for pupils where they feel the need to respond in angry, aggressive ways. When managing behaviour, develop a consistent, fair but firm style of your own and use strategies that will help you to avoid shouting.

For example, when you want a class to be quiet, make sure you adopt the same routine each time. Stand in the same place, say the same phrases and give them time to take up your instructions. If students do not respond immediately, stand still and wait for them to be quiet. You could praise those who are following your instruction and wait for the others to respond. This may take some time at first, but once they see that you mean business they will respond much more quickly in future.

Never lose your temper with the class and never threaten the whole class with detention, but do use your school sanctions systems with the more persistent offenders. If a pupil is presenting disruptive behaviour and you need to challenge them, try to get them away from an audience and discuss it quietly. If they walk away from you, do not shout after them, but follow up the incident later. If you need to address the whole class assertively, try lowering the tone of your voice. Shouting makes the pitch rise and this sounds less assertive than a quieter, more authoritative tone.

The only time you might need to shout is if a pupil is endangering themselves or others through their actions and you need to get their attention quickly. If you do have to raise your voice, it is important that you lower it as soon as possible when you continue your instructions. This will send a clear message that you are in control of your actions. Apologise for raising your voice, but calmly explain why you felt it was necessary. This shows that you will always try to avoid shouting and makes it clear why you felt it necessary to do so in a particular situation.

- Mark Lewis is deputy headteacher at Marshland High School in Norfolk. For more behaviour advice, go to www.tes.co.ukbehaviourforum

Checklist

Do

- Adopt the same routine whenever you want to get the attention of the whole class.

- Try lowering the pitch of your voice to sound more assertive.

- Apologise for raising your voice if you feel you need to shout.

Don't

- Lose your temper with the class or threaten them with whole-class punishment.

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