I have read that one way to get rowdy students under control is to formulate a seating plan that separates the naughty students, defusing their power by diffusing them among better-behaved peers. But what should one do when the students stay in the same class all day and it is the teachers who move around from class to class? In this situation, the teacher doesn't have the comfort of lining up the students outside the classroom and letting them in. What would you advise? Is there another way to control disruptive students?
What you said ...
My only concern with seating plans is how much time this could potentially waste at the start of every lesson. Teachers often have to "borrow" chairs and tables from other rooms in my school just to ensure that all their students can sit down. These are then usually not moved back to their original location, meaning that you have to borrow some from another classroom ... and so on. As a result, the configuration of a classroom is often never the same, and this (on top of frequent room changes) means that I am not sure how realistic it is to have a seating strategy at every school.
I had a similar situation to this. I asked the teacher who had them before me to dismiss them. I usually arrived a few minutes late as I had to walk over from another part of the school. The students were made to wait outside until I arrived and was ready to start the lesson. I had them in a strict seating plan. I would always advise this because it shows that you are in control. You can always change it if it isn't working.
The expert view
Personally, I'd still shake them up. It gets them out of their seats and establishes that you have arrived, and it's a change of pacetopicapproach. Also, children need to get a bit of oxygen in their muscles from time to time. I wouldn't allow students in a classroom without adult supervision, so normally I would expect them to wait outside until the next teacher arrived, which might well be you ...
Tom Bennett is author of The Behaviour Guru. Read more from Tom on his TES Connect blog (bit.lytombennett) or follow him on Twitter at @tesBehaviour. Watch his behaviour videos at www.tesconnect.combehaviourvideos
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