Here at Key Stage Teacher Supply, we are aware of the impact of low-level disruption (chattering, fidgeting with equipment) on an otherwise brilliantly planned and executed lesson. With that in mind, we would like to share a few tactics to deploy when minor disruptions add up to a major problem.
Want to avoid a full-blown tantrum, and make it easier and less embarassing for the child to back down? Just walk towards them, making sure they can see you, and address them quietly – projecting an air of quiet authority (try your best). Language helps too – offering choices allows the child to retain a sense of control.
Don’t be too funny
Sometimes learning is hard and, frankly, a bit boring. Just real life. Don’t give in to the temptation to constantly ‘entertain’ and avoid difficult/unpopular work.
This is crucial – get your seating plan right and stick to it. Best friends can chat at play-time, not in class.
With rules, rewards, consequences, everything. We know you are only human, but the better you manage this sort of thing, the better your class will understand what is expected of them.
Don’t be afraid of reasonable punishments
In adult life, some behaviours attract negative consequences – the same needs to apply in early life. Simple. Sometimes students will be upset and you will feel bad, but it doesn’t mean you are wrong to set and apply reasonable punishments for unacceptable behaviour.
Make use of whole-school systems
The class moves through the school knowing basically what to expect in terms of rules, rewards and consequences. It isn’t helpful if you change things too much when they get to your class.
Keep a record
Perhaps keep an annotated class list to keep track of the number of incidents related to any one student – this makes it easier to apply rewards and consequences fairly. This is a bit tricky to keep on top of, but it’s well worth it – as it gives you a clear overview of the situation at a glance.
There is no magic spell to keep all children attentive, all of the time, but the above will certainly help you keep the focus where it should be – on learning. Good luck!