Monday, 28 June 2010

Behaviour Problems: Quick strategies

1. Attention Seeking Behaviour

  • Tactical ignoring (balanced out with lots of proximity praise)
  • Get up close - move into their space and run the lesson from this position for a while
  • Remain very calm and avoid getting wound up and rewarding the behaviour with negative attention
  • Agree non-verbal cues in advance with known trouble-makers

2. Swearing/verbal abuse

  • Have rules and routines in place and remind them of the consequences for bad language
  • Consistent approach - ALL incidents of bad language need to be followed up so as not to allow excuses for 'accidental' swearing.
  • Tape record outbursts of foul language and explain that it can be played back to parents
  • Take out a note pad and say "I'm now recording what you're saying
  • Have a meeting with the pupil/s involved and ask them to suggest alternative ways of expressing/dealing with anger or alternative words to use when they are angry.

3. Noisy class (start of lessons)

  • Allow some cooling off time of a few minutes after transitions and breaks to allow them to settle.
  • Use the countdown technique with lots of proximity praise... "5; OK it's time to stop and look this way. Excellent, very quick on that table. 4; pens should be down, books and mouths should be closed, very good you two, you're listening to me. 3; still too much noise over here, that side of the room are perfect. 2; Just waiting for the last few people now, all conversations should be stopped, hands on the desk in front of you. Well done, you've got it. 1; thank you.
  • Have a visual reminder of noise levels such as coloured cards/traffic lights. When green is up the noise level in the room is fine. Orange - warning, level is too high and needs to drop immediately. If it doesn't drop after an agreed time, red card goes up. Red. Stop the activity, take a minute off break and insist on silent working for 5 minutes.
  • Take control at the door - don't let them in the room until they're quiet

4. Confrontation

  • Adopt non-threatening body language (body to side, open arms).
  • Avoid threatening hand gestures (pointing), facial expressions and verbal language (shouting, accusing).
  • Diffuse and de-escalate - use humour, change subject.
  • Calmly offer support... ("How can I help?" "I'm listening.")

5. Disruption

  • Remove the audience factor, try and talk to them quietly on a 1:1 basis where possible and remind them of past successes and capabilities - try to find something positive to say first.
  • Give them a responsibility
  • Language of Choice
      • "Do you want to move closer to the board or remain where you are?"
      • "Do you need me to help you or can you get on with things on your own?"
      • "What are you supposed to be doing? What happens if you don't do it? Is that what you want? What are you going to choose?"
  • Calmly warn them of consequences and follow up using the '3 requests'...
      • "Jordan sit back down on your chair and finish the work please"
      • "Jordan, I'm asking you for the second time to sit down and get on with your work."
      • "Jordan this is the third and final time I'm going to ask you."
      • "Jordan you've chosen to ignore me. Go to Time Out."

6. Ignoring you

  • Give very clear instructions so there is no room for confusion or argument.
  • Try using humor to change their state from being angry or sullen
  • Refuse to get drawn into confrontation - "I've told you what you need to do and you know what happens if you don't. It's your choice, I'll be available after school if you want to discuss it then."
  • On a 1:1 basis with a pupil you normally get on well with try to find what is bothering them by calmly repeating statements such as "Tell me what's wrong so I can help you." "You talk, I'll listen." "tell me what's bothering you, I'll listen."

7. Lack of Equipment

  • Offer to loan them some of your equipment in return for 'collateral' such as a shoe.
  • Give a brief period of time at the start of the lesson for pupils to borrow items from other members of the class
  • Reward those who bring required equipment
  • Focus on teaching right action and correcting behaviour of persistent offenders: Offer them support in the way of special reminders and inform parents that this key issue is causing concern; get them to follow up at home and issue reminders at home.

8. Lack of motivation

  • Set short term mini-targets. "By the end of the lesson you need to get down to here in your text book." "In the next ten minutes you need to complete numbers 1-4. I'll be back to check in ten minutes."
  • Make lesson activities more active
  • Include fun starters, video clips, educational games, energizers, magic tricks and brain teasers in your lessons from time to time to break up monotony.
  • Use loads and loads of effective praise and encouragement.

9. Late

  • Have clear rules on punctuality and consistently apply them
  • Always follow up lateness and ensure pupil makes up missed work
  • Have a reward system which acknowledges those who come on time
  • Keep records. Get pupil to fill in a form giving reason for late arrival and the time they arrived. Send copies home with notification of consequences if it continues.

10. Off-Task (low level disruption)

  • Use pre-agreed non-verbal signals
  • Get close up - sit or stand close to them and say nothing, carry on with the lesson
  • Use proximity and personal praise - Look for opportunities to catch them being good.
  • Look for opportunities to offer help... Offer choices, adjust the work, adjust seating

11. Defiance

  • Offer support - often pupils are defiant because they are afraid of failure - adjust the work, offer help, ask them what's bothering them.
  • Remind them of past successes and capabilities
  • Remind them that you are there to help them and ask them for help in how to bring that about. "I need your advice. I want to help you - what is going to make this easier for you?"
  • Go through stepped sanctions as per school behaviour policy e.g.
      • Give them a warning (verbal/name on board etc.) and remind them of consequences
      • Move them to an isolated seat
      • Take time off them at break/after school
      • Notify them of a letter/phone call home
      • "park' them in another class
      • Send them to senior staff

12. Shouting out

  • Ignore those who shout out and reward/praise those that don't
  • Play class team games/quizzes where answers will only be accepted by those who put their hands up. Penalize team-members who shout out by taking a point off the team.
  • Have a clear policy on how questions are to be answered in class
  • Keep those who shout in at break and explain that shouting won't be tolerated

13. Flatulence

  • Ignore it. By reacting you give them exactly what they were trying to elicit.
  • Explain that if they do it again they will have to stay in at break for a lesson on healthy diet and the effect certain foods have on digestion.
  • Show great concern for their health and tell them it might be a good idea if you were to talk to their parents about it immediately by telephone if they are having trouble controlling it.
  • Follow normal procedure for disruptive behaviour but be careful not to appear confrontational or you will get the classic response "That's not fair, I can't help it."

14. Failing to follow instructions

  • Explain very clearly the consequence of not following instructions. Tell them you expect immediate compliance and then give them a few moments to save face by walking away.
  • Record the details of the incident and follow up with senior staff.
  • Warn them that you will be contacting parents. (Make sure you do so if the defiance continues).
  • Have the pupil removed from the classroom

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