Lessons disrupted – again!

Yet again disruptive behaviour seems to have reared its ugly head! An experienced speaker, positive, upbeat person and ex deputy head Sue Atkins was really distressed that even her normal ‘I can get them to listen’ approach failed today when she was speaking to a group of youngsters about how to beat bullying.
She came away questioning whether society is allowing some children to dictate what they will and won’t do; who they will and won’t listen to.
For schools, this presents a real problem. Having visitors into classrooms can be a valuable resource. They bring their expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm about a particular subject that teacher cannot hope to match. They provide a link with the outside world and often, a different face can really make a difference to children’s learning.
However, what happens if the behaviour in the classroom is not appropriate at these times. Does it signal a problem within the school that doesn’t show itself during the normal run of the mill days? Does it indicate low expectations of behaviour which in itself shows low morale of staff?
A conversation thread on twitter explored this further and the suggestion was made that it is all about respect and that this should be taught at home. It is only by parents and the school working together that these situations can be turned around. However a further point was made that parents have little influence when schools ‘do not address’ the really bad behaviour of the minority.
So what is the answer? Are children findingit more difficult to listen? Is the respect agenda missing?The irony of this incident is that Sue was there to do a session on self esteem and confidence building! (see also ‘Behaviour’ )

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  • Totally agree. Have 10 years teaching English behind me and so fed up with lessons constantly being interrupted by badly behaved kids. Respect for authority in society has gone, thatis the problem.

  • Alan

    I think it is getting increasingly difficult for teachers to “impress” children, and in younger and younger classes too. Despite the new government’s promises that there will be fewer targets to achieve, schools still feel under great pressure to deliver all-singing, all-dancing experiences, when sometimes we need to just plan straightforward, “safe” lessons where we know it will work. I suppose the bottom line is knowing your children.
    On the other hand, I am finding it increasingly relevant when observing what’s going on in classrooms, to consider what we are actually asking children to do. How much time are they expected to sit and listen, how much time is passive rather than active?
    I’m just finding out about co-operative learning using things like Kagan structures, and I think they have a lot to recommend them, in terms of requiring an active response from every child throughout the lesson.
    I think we live in a new world where teaching respect in the home is a worthy but unlikely aspiration, and where we need to keep looking at our practice to help children succeed and keep ourselves sane!

  • Anonymous

    How disappointing for poor Sue. I’m really interested to explore further the ways that schools can work with parents to tackle behaviour. We run a course on it so I think it’s ripe for a blog post of my own shortly!
    I highlighted your post in my Daily Digest of Education related blogs today as I thought other teachers would find it of interest. You can see it here: http://bit.ly/bkRT6V

  • Pingback: The Daily Digest(ive) November 12th 2010 | Creative Education Blog

  • Dmchugh675

    In my time I have seen many outside speakers come into school to speak to children. Within 5 minutes you can tell if the students will listen or not. A good spaeaker with an interesting message can reach even the most challenging student and it is apleasure to behold. The reason students sometimes don’t listen is that the presentation is either a. poor (speakers fault) b. pitched at the wrong level (organisers fault) or c. the subject matter is not considered important enough for their attention. (I would question how this was ‘sold’ to students by whomever)
    Also, I have been present at many presentations given to teachers where the teachers have been inattentive and sometimes downright rude. Should we expect students to be any different?

    • jfb57

      I agree with you that staff can set the very worst of examples! I thought c) was an interesting one. I would hope that it had relevance to the pupils but would also be interested in the ‘sales’ pitch. Does it indicate something a little strange if pupils have to be ‘sold’ an activity. Umm – very interesting comments. Many thanks for taking the time to visit. It is much appreciated!

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