Low-level bad behaviour is the worst type of negative behaviour.

I have been thinking about this for a while now and understand that low-level behaviour can be left unchallenged in many schools due to higher priority behaviour. There are usually ‘big hitters’ in schools who are classed as the ‘naughty’ students or there are classes whose behaviour is way worse than other classes and so these are often the focus for teachers on the ground and those above analysing the data.

The problem I have is that this often leaves the masses unnoticed and low-level behaviour has been rife in all of the schools I have worked in so far.

Examples of low-level behaviour are things like:

  • Talking underneath the teacher
  • Not following instructions the first time
  • Saying ‘no’ to staff
  • Not completing homework
  • Messy/incomplete classwork

You will always have students who dominate the class. This may be things like arguing with staff or refusing to complete classwork and they generally exhibit this behaviour in a number of lessons for a number of staff. They will sometimes be on report or be having their behaviour monitored by Heads of Year and tutors. They will probably have been involved in parental meetings between the school to try and ‘turn the student around’. Whilst these students should be a focus for a school, I think it means that often everybody else gets away with much more than they should. I also think these students mean we sometimes expect less of everybody else because we are just glad they are not doing the ‘bigger’ things.

My biggest pet-hate is failure to hand in homework but I also find that incomplete classwork is more common than I assume when I stand at the front and wander around monitoring classwork.

I know that systems within school don’t always support the teacher and if you are pedantic like me and want behaviour entirely under control it can be hard if you don’t have the correct channels to use.

I have been thinking then if I had to narrow down techniques and strategies with behaviour to five ones that should help with individual classroom management, what would they be? I have devised a little table with the things that I think help to minimise this low-level disruption even when the bigger system of the school doesn’t necessarily challenge it.

behaviour-1behaviour-2behaviour-3behaviour-4bheaviour-5

In many of these boxes, I have referred to consistency across all staff and whilst I appreciate this is the ideal, it is unlikely in most schools to be the case. I think that carrying out these actions yourself, in your own classroom also has a huge impact on your day to day dealings with low-level behaviour.

I am not saying that these will completely resolve all the problems when it comes to classroom behaviour, no man is an island after all, but I think it can help to make small changes in a school where you feel you are drowning in behaviour issues but don’t necessarily know how to tackle it for the best.

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New Spec RE GCSE

After having a large amount of time off to have my son, I have returned to the world of work in a new school a bit closer to home.

I have been helping a colleague to plan the new GCSE spec ready for teaching next half term. He has taught the Christianity unit so far and with his excellent knowledge of Christian Theology, this has been successful. He can see the knowledge of the students coming on leaps and bounds in comparison with the old wishy washy spec.

I have been helping to plan the Hinduism side of the GCSE and I must say I am so much happier with the new spec than the old. I have had to actually go away and research and read up in order to create lessons on Hinduism (it isn’t a topic I studied at University) and this fact alone has impressed me as it means that if I have to use my brain, then they have to use theirs.

I welcome knowledge in Religious Education. I think we have lacked knowledge in our curriculum for a long time and I know that the popularity of the subject sometimes falls down to the ‘exciting’ topics studied but it is often at the expense of depth in their learning. We had a hub meeting in the area recently and other heads of department do not welcome the changes in the same way.

I think when it comes to planning the new GCSE (which I’m sure many people have done by now) there has to be a positive approach or else the students will think negatively of it too.

I posted last year about the KS3 curriculum I developed and how it was all knowledge based and barely touched on the variety of religions in favour of studying 2-3 in more depth. I feel this feeds into the new GCSE spec and I think that more time given to studying the history, texts and tradition is only a good thing. I know students will struggle more but that’s because the old questions were not actually challenging and also I think most teachers would admit that they came up with formulas and cheats in order to get their students the grades. If I didn’t have FARM in my first few years of teaching, I think I would have cried. There is no doing that with the new spec, you have to teach knowledge and you have to challenge the students more than they have been before in RE.

I want to follow up this blog post with examples of how to attach teaching without the ‘cheats’. Stay tuned.