The behaviour question

7th March 2014 at 00:00

I am a newly qualified teacher who has just taken over a class of seven- and eight-year-olds from a teacher who went on maternity leave. There are 26 children, more boys than girls, and four or five of the boys are quite a handful behaviour-wise. They think nothing of talking over you, getting up out of their seats, answering back and generally messing about and wasting time. Once one of them starts playing up, this usually sets the rest off. I've tried a traffic light system; putting their names on the board; taking one, two and three minutes of playtime off them; giving them a stern few words or a pointed look. I have also implemented five golden rules to refer to and bring children back to these when they do not follow them. Although I have seen slight improvements since starting last week (the mornings are always better than the afternoons), I am still having problems with this group of boys, so should I persevere with my strategies or try something different? I know that getting the behaviour under control will not happen overnight but I am conscious that, unless I show these boys that I can manage them, they will think they can do whatever they like.

What you said


The key thing is to follow through and be consistent. So, if you say they will miss some of lunchtime, make sure they do.


Try not to use your voice too much: body language and demonstrative actions often work wonders. For example, don't tell them that you are going to put their names on the board, just walk to the board in a very purposeful manner and write them on it. Also, write on the board "X, Y, Z owe Miss B xxx minutes of their playtime".

The expert view

Keep doing what you're doing; it takes ages with some classes and kids before the behaviour settles down. What they need is consistency, routine and the dependability of having a teacher who won't back down. They'll get the message. Stay on target.

Tom Bennett is author of The Behaviour Guru. Read more from Tom on his TES Connect blog or follow him on Twitter at @tesBehaviour. Watch his behaviour videos at www.tesconnect.combehaviourvideos

Post your questions at www.tesconnect.combehaviour


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