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One step before putting cut-up kids out of class

 
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Drew345



Joined: 24 May 2005

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:21 am    Post subject: One step before putting cut-up kids out of class Reply with quote

I am currently in Thailand doing my student teaching for high school certification (US), but this is my main forum, so I will ask here.

Today's seventh grade math class didn't go so well. One group of boys just got noisier and noisier the whole day. Each time I would call them my name, tell them to quiet down, then shortly later they are noisier than before. Finally, near the end of class, I could be standing right over them and telling them to be quiet and it was like I wasn't there. Then the supervising teacher took those boys out to the hall and they came back little angels.

My question is: what should I have been doing all along so that it would not get to that point? My supervisor told me to stop the problem earlier (I guess in another way than calling them by name and telling them to be quiet). I also admit I need to work on my "presence" to show I am in charge of this class of seventh graders.

If "Josh, quiet please" doesn't work, how can you get them quiet before taking them out of the class. What do you say to noisy, active seventh graders to get them quiet?

Thanks, I might have more middle school teaching questions later.
Drew
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schwa



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: sokcho

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Middle school boys can be challenging.

Was there maybe a more engaging way you could present the lesson material? Some kind of group competition with easily understood rules?

A Thai student named "Josh"? Phony english names, imo, put a distance between the teacher & a student, & provide incentive to act up.
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Drew345



Joined: 24 May 2005

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You make a good point about making the lesson more engaging. My supervisor did tell me I had gone on too slow about an easy point. Your points are well taken about using group activities, games, etc to keep involvement high.
The final outburst (or inability to be silent) actually came at the tail end of a game (steering a boat using "bearings") and getting attention back to the front of the class.

Sorry, I changed the names to protect all involved. Only about 20 % of the kids are Thai anyway; Bangkok is very international. Noisy kids in this case weren't Thai.

So, kids have been doing an activity where chatter is OK. Now time to go back to the board. Kids are called by name and told to quiet down. Chatter only escalates until kids are taken out of class (case escalating whole class).

Maybe I should have just separated the group earlier? Calling by name usually works, but not today with these boys. How to nip it in the bud early so it doesn't escalate?
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Dodge7



Joined: 21 Oct 2011

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

schwa wrote:
Middle school boys can be challenging.

Was there maybe a more engaging way you could present the lesson material? Some kind of group competition with easily understood rules?

A Thai student named "Josh"? Phony english names, imo, put a distance between the teacher & a student, & provide incentive to act up.

I always hear this advice for trouble makers and it's simply not practical. You just can't make every day's lesson special and entertaining for the bad kids. You'll run out of ideas eventually and you have 20 other kids you have to engage, also--because what might be good for the bad kids may bore the good ones, and the good kids may not show their boredom through bad behavior, but they may day dream and tune you out. Believe it or not some kids actually LIKE solid instruction from the book and hate activities (maybe they're shy?) and so it's best to read up on Gardner's Multiple Intelligences.

OP, the real answer is that some kids are just bad, and you may not be able to reach them this year. It's hormones. Unless you make each lesson about sex I don't know if you can get the bad kids to behave solely through your "creative" lessons. They'll do what they wanna do. But give it a try and exhaust every idea until there's nothing left for you to do. Then afterwards, if he is still acting up, that's when you ignore him and teach the ones that want to learn or kick him out of your class and involve the principal and parents.

And finally, you are a foreigner teacher to them, they don't respect you. Did you respect your 7th grade French teacher? Many if not half of the students in my class sure didn't. Take that for what it's worth.
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Drew345



Joined: 24 May 2005

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually all of the teacher's here in this school (in the math department anyway) are foreigner.

I guess I am looking for a progression of admonishments / punishments between these extremes:
1. "Please be quiet and look at the board."
2. Stern eye contact.
3.
...
9. Come out into the hall with me now.

Any advice for what might come in between there?
Thanks,
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Dodge7



Joined: 21 Oct 2011

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drew345 wrote:
Actually all of the teacher's here in this school (in the math department anyway) are foreigner.

I guess I am looking for a progression of admonishments / punishments between these extremes:
1. "Please be quiet and look at the board."
2. Stern eye contact.
3.
...
9. Come out into the hall with me now.

Any advice for what might come in between there?
Thanks,


Try standing next to him as you are teaching (this intimidates or makes him think twice about acting up if you are right there) or move him to the front of the room and don't let him sit with his friends or turn around.
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newinseoul



Joined: 22 Sep 2005
Location: Busan

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some good ones there, dodge.

I'd also give them a few warnings as in two X's on the board each time they misbehave. The third warning or X can have consequences such as to stay after class, lose free time, stand up (which embarrasses them), or write lines. Obviously start with standing up and if this doesn't work then progress to writing lines and losing free time.

Good luck!
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silkhighway



Joined: 24 Oct 2010
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I imagine teaching at an international school in Thailand has some significant differences than a school in Korea, but some advice will still apply. There is some advice given you just can't do in Canadian (and I assume American) schools anymore like tell students to stand up or assign them writing lines.

Is this your regular class or where you thrown in just to do some training lessons?

Anyways, classroom management is more about prevention than reaction. Here are some suggestions:

- Have a seating plan. One where the students can switch from rows into groups quickly is best.
- Have class rules posted in front of the class and review them.
- Get a non-disruptive procedure in place for dealing with washroom and locker breaks, no pens or pencils, etc.
- Circulate around the room. Know what's happening and if your students are on task.
- Less of you talking, more of the students doing. This is the meat and potatoes of engagement that your supervisor and schwa are talking about.
- Let the students know your line, the one they can't cross. Every teacher has one, not all have the same.
- Don't let the class turn into chaos before you try to deal with it, nip it in the bud right away as soon as students turn off-task.
- It's ok to give the class a verbal warning or even individual students if it's still controllable, but if the misbehavior continues or they cross that line, deal with them in the hall.
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waynehead



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Location: Jongno

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my experience with boys, you need to develop the "I'm not mad I'm disappointed and I'm waiting for you to shutup" face. Don't be afraid of being silent for uncomfortable stretches of time. After they finally settle down a sarcastically-toned "are you ready now?" works wonders, too. This works best in classes where there may be peer pressure from more motivated students to stay on task.

Of course, that may not always be the case.

One piece of advice I took to heart from an experienced teacher was to develop patterns of behavior for when the class gets out of hand, for example always stand in the same spot of the room with your arms crossed until quiet returns. A kind of behaviorist approach, if you will, train them like rats to know that when you're in that position you're not happy and they should refocus.

Of course, it's important to know your students' patterns and put them where they'll function best, seating charts work wonders for boys.

Also, establish clear rules and always follow through on them, for example, if they waste 3 minutes of class time, then the whole class stays after the bell for 3 minutes, that sort of thing.

I've taught boys only classes for over four years, and the main thing I've changed (aside from some of the stuff I mentioned above) is that I never try to overtly overpower them, by which I mean I don't shout or yell or get upset at any time. I try to stay as dispassionate as I can, and follow patterns they come to expect and eventually internalize and abide.

All that said, middle-school aged boys may be the toughest demographic of all, so I can sympathize with your plight (I teach at a boys' high school now, I did one year at a boys' middle school and would be none too eager to return, truth be told). Good luck!
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Drew345



Joined: 24 May 2005

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello SilkHighway,
Thanks for the great and well thought out ideas (thanks all)
This will be my regular class for the next 3 months.

Can you give some ideas for what might count for "nip it in the bud". And what might come between that and the next line (take em to the hall).

I try to nip it in the bud with calling their name and telling them to get quiet. But that method didn't work (over and over and over). Then it got to take em to the hall (supervisor did that).

Any ideas for what might be "between" your last two lines? i.e. more strong ways to nip it in the bud than calling name and telling to be quiet.

I totally agree that prevention here is the best way. I don't mean to disagree with you on that.

This International school is really relaxed. Supervisor already told me that having them stand in class is not allowed (quiet word outside is "better"). "Punitive" types of discipline would not be allowed here.

Thanks,
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silkhighway



Joined: 24 Oct 2010
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drew345 wrote:
Hello SilkHighway,
Thanks for the great and well thought out ideas (thanks all)
This will be my regular class for the next 3 months.

Can you give some ideas for what might count for "nip it in the bud". And what might come between that and the next line (take em to the hall).

I try to nip it in the bud with calling their name and telling them to get quiet. But that method didn't work (over and over and over). Then it got to take em to the hall (supervisor did that).



Don't do the (over and over and over) part. Seriously, if you have to say their name, they've been warned and they still chose to continue. Take them in the hall and deal with them. Don't hold a grudge against them, but keep track. A visit to a VP or principal, or a phone call home would be the next escalation.

Quote:

Any ideas for what might be "between" your last two lines? i.e. more strong ways to nip it in the bud than calling name and telling to be quiet.


You can ask them to move seats Other than that, you don't want it to be a game so deal with it rather than hope it goes away. Again, prevention is key so have time limits on tasks, and have extra work for the keeners who finish too quickly so they don't have an excuse to start chatting.

Being consistent is very important as well. Of course being new, you'll struggle with that until you have the confidence to know what works for you, but keep it in mind.
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Babzies



Joined: 07 Nov 2010

PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Middle school are the toughest grades to teach, imo.

BUT, if you develop a relationship with those kids it makes your life so much easier. If they think you care about them and they like you, they will die for you.

Hard to do when you're student teaching for a short period but that's what it takes to solve behaviour problems.
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PREEST



Joined: 20 Jan 2013

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's important to assert your authority early. You don't need to be mean or overly strict, but at the first signs of disruptive behaviour, you need to stamp your foot on it and be firm. If you just say 'Josh, quiet please' the students know you are a push over. It's so important to establish early that you won't put up with any BS. Otherwise, it becomes really difficult to reassert yourself as the authority and to have them respect you.

Good luck, try different approaches, but don't let them boss you.

I have lost it at kids before for complete and utter lack of respect and intolerable rudeness (swearinrtg at me in Korean).
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