I recently received negative feedback from an observation. It was down to my poor management of the noise level and the off-task behaviour of some children when I was working with another group. This was totally justified and (embarrassingly) they were actually much better than normal with a stranger in the room. The school behaviour policy says that we must not punish the whole class for the behaviour of individuals. It's not the entire class misbehaving but it is a large number of them. I find it very difficult to single out individuals, particularly if I am not just going for the usual suspects. I look up when the noise level rises but I don't know where to start. I have had this class (of nine- to 10-year-olds) since October and I really should be on top of their behaviour by now. No one can learn when the noise is at its worst. Any advice?
What you said
I've had success telling a class that they will start every lesson with a reward of some sort that they lose if they misbehave. It's often a long and tedious job to bring difficult classes into line. This is particularly true if you are trying to do it without support. You have to be very persistent, assertive, consistent and patient.
Explain that when the children are talking in groups, their voices should only be heard by the person next to them. So if you can hear what they are saying, then they are making far too much noise. When you catch someone out, repeat what they were saying - especially if it was something a bit silly. They'll all be terrified of having their conversations repeated to the class.
The expert view
If you have to detain most of the class then do so. When you ask them to be quiet, you have every right to set a sanction for anyone who doesn't comply - and that could be quite a lot of them. Just keep a note of everyone who isn't behaving and have confidence in yourself. Also, name and praise those who are behaving, so that the others see what the expectations are.
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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