Total Pageviews

One of the Top 100 Education Blogs

View All 100 Blogs

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Managing low level disruption

According to a recent Telegraph report:

'The country’s pupils are being held back by teachers tolerating “low-level disruption” in classrooms, the education watchdog will warn. Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted’s chief inspector, will say that a "casual acceptance" of “poor attitudes” among children is causing schools to fall behind those in “high-performing” countries in the Far East.'

Whilst teachers have different tolerance levels for this 'low level disruption' I think all teachers would agree that it is one of the things that drives them crazy on a day to day basis in the classroom. The disruption takes many forms from pencil tapping, rocking back on chairs, to constant talking. We all experience it to different levels but nevertheless it exists in all classrooms.

So how do we manage this behaviour? Again it varies from school to school and teacher to teacher and for me from week to week because I have not found one fixed method that works day in day out from the beginning of the year to the end. That is in part due to me getting bored with keeping it up because lets face it often the solution to the problem becomes as tiresome as the problem itself. I also think the children become bored with it especially if they never succeed at it.

This year I am teaching a class of 34 year 2s so as you can imagine the noise level is often rather high! Unfortunately my noise tolerance levels are really low which raises a bit of a problem. Along with this my class have a lot of low level disruption behaviours. I have used several methods in an attempt to control low level disruption so far:
  • Sunshine, rainbow, cloud
Pupils start on sunshine, poor behavior becomes rainbow and bad behaviour cloud. If they remain on sunshine all week a note goes home. This is a school KS1 behaviour policy.
  • Team points 
All pupils are placed into four different teams, Vikings, Greeks, Romans and Tudors. All team points are collated at the end of the week and the winning team get announced in assembly and get the privilege of going in first for lunch. This is a whole school policy. 
  • Table points
Similar to team points but winning table get class privileges such as going to break first. This is my class only. 
  • The Great behaviour game
A great web based behaviour management system which I would recommend. Check it out on Google. It works by you registering all of the children in your class. It accrues points continually but points can be added on individually or alternatively individuals paused. 
  • Postcard home 
Usually awarded to the daily winner of the Great Behaviour Game and given to the pupil to take home at the end of the day.

All of these methods work but some work better than others. My classes favourite at the moment is the Great Behaviour Game combined with the postcard home. 

However, the noise levels have been rising quite a bit and I knew therefore that I had to try something new. I was also beginning to feel that the behaviour really was having a negative effect on the learning. 

My new strategy involves a class list, the Great Behaviour Game (GBG) and a postcard home. The children are told at the beginning of each lesson exactly what I expect from them in terms of behaviour and amount and quality of work. If they do not stick to any of the expectations they get 'strikes' which means their name has a mark put against it. At the end of the lesson the children who have no 'strikes' get 3 points on the GBG, those with 3 strikes get no points at all, 2 strikes gets 2 points and 1 strike 1 point. Points are also awarded throughout the lesson for good listening, brave learners, answering questions and good work. The winner of the GBG then gets the postcard to take home. 

Today was day one of my new strategy and it was a huge success! The children were a lot quieter, they got on with their work, listened carefully and were keen to answer questions. Result!! 

Will it work tomorrow? Next week? Who knows. I certainly hope so but just watch this space. 

For the full article check out Telegraph article on low level disruption