Behaviour: disruptive class

1st April 2011 at 01:00
I was observed teaching a KS4 class, who played up despite my efforts with planning and resources. I received an `inadequate' and will be observed again with the same group. I worry that I will teach a decent lesson but be marked down again because of behaviour. What can I do?

What you said

"Your main concern should be, `Are all children learning?' If they are, then it isn't an inadequate lesson. It might not be outstanding, if it is passive and dull, but it won't be inadequate."


"Focus on your sanctions - do they do detentions every time they mug you off, misbehave or fail to meet your expectations? If not, then make it happen. It'll be hard, laborious work at first, but in the end it is entirely worth it."


"Students saw no reason to behave when the school leaders were around, which says a lot. There is a culture of blame in your school."

Mr Leonard

The expert view

Good classroom observations can highlight problems and provide an opportunity to consider how to put relationships right in your class. Teaching is a game of bluff. We can't control a class without some degree of complicity from them - nurtured by our enthusiasm, their belief that we care, and a consistent, relentless application of behavioural boundaries.

Regain control and push children out of their comfort zones by rearranging the seating. Reinforce the school's discipline policy and get the class to agree that rules are essential if they are to learn. Use the secret student technique: reward or sanction the class for the behaviour of one student, whose name is revealed at the end.

Introduce choice and collaboration - they are powerful incentives for learning. Add the challenge of competition between groups and they will be too engaged to get distracted and play the game of winding you up. Give them responsibility for their learning by co-designing the tasks, building in choices, setting their own success criteria and writing their own tests or objectives. Set differentiated objectives and let them decide what they are aiming for and why. Jump on the first miscreant and use sanctions, but praise them when they have worked hard.

Have the highest expectations of what the children can do and how they will behave and combine this with determination to see them succeed. Mentally rehearse this, with you in control, speaking in a calm voice and pupils responding well. Convince yourself that you like them and can help them to learn. Act as if you do and you will convince them, yourself and your observer.

Jackie Beere is an advanced skills teacher and author of `The Perfect Ofsted Lesson'. For more behaviour advice, go to



- Get everyone to agree on class rules.

- Give pupils responsibility for their own learning by setting their own objectives.

- Be consistent in your use of sanctions and praise.


- Let up in using the school's behaviour policy - it may take some time to work.

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