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Hi, I'm looking for some advice on discipline in the classroom. I teach Grade 2 Public Middle Schoolers and the vast majority of my classes are fine in terms of behaviour. Unfortunately I'm getting problems with 1 or 2.

It tends to be from boys in one or two classes and they are usually lower level students. Fighting, banging things, doing drills out of sync and the usual kind of stuff. I'm not really a disciplinarian and think that because I started at the school with that image these kids are taking advantage.

I have wondered if maybe my lessons need to be easier and maybe I need to look at that, however I feel the majority of the students are doing fine. I have been disappointed my co teacher in these classes (who speaks little English) hasn't really been able to help. (She gave Candy out at the START of class and when I moved two students she let them move back if they "promised" to work hard - they broke the "promise!!!".) There are 50 students in my classes so it's difficult to control a misbehaving, tired class) Today I stopped games and candy but don't think it's fair to punish the hardworking students because of others.

Tags: behavior, classroom_management, discipline, dynamics, large, management, rules, skills

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I like to have worksheets on hand, so when students aren't paying attention, I give them something to do alone. Now, I like to let them finish the worksheet and come back to the group, but if they misbehave again, I give them a worksheet, or activity that's going to take a long time... )

Also, I use an activity card that says they need to complete an activity that I choose. So the whole punishment aspect really isn't there.

For the drilling out of sync, etc. I have a couple of laminated cards that say: You're being rude/This is impolite. letting the students know does actually change their behavior: some don't know. The ones that do know will be isolated sooner or later by their own actions anyways, so might as well make sure they understand what they are doing.

I've included the files for the cards. Hope it helps!
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I forgot, there's a Code of Behavior file on the GEPIK website, so I'll post that for you too. Having clear rules and codes of conduct will help the class, especially after you teach them to the students! The code, the rules, and the punishments should be clear.
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Wow, that's a handful.......yeah, it is never easier and an issue all use teachers struggle with. Some more and some less....

Here is a thread about this we previously had. Also scroll through the teaching category and there are several other discussions which have useful info.

I second Nelson's idea of having extra work handy. I helped develop and have used them a lot for this -- Themed ESL Activity booklets. In our media fire account. I'd photocopy these to help with students who are off task. Remember to remove students who are acting out to a "time out " area as well as doing all the other basics offered in the above mentioned discussion.

Just do whatever works!

David
Here's another thread about teaching classes with 40 + kids:

Classroom full of 40 kids

Here's a reference to an article on www.teachers.net about procedures and classroom management:

Classroom Management Is Not Discipline

it talks about some interesting things; things that I def. need to consider. The cards might not be a great way to go all the time. Also, DD's postive rule idea was something I had done before, but didn't realize it: def. a good idea!!!

Also, the procedure part in the teachers.net article is key, at least for me.
Thanks for the help. My classes have been cool the last couple of days but one of the naughty ones is coming up tomorrow so I will keep some of these in mind!
A great site to answer all your questions and give you all the information you need: http://www.behavioradvisor.com/ EVERYONE should check it out if you haven’t already.
I compiled & edited a resource book for a course I developed for teachers entitled: Managing Motivation. Write to me and I’ll be glad to send you a copy (free of course).
www.howtomakeadifference.com is another good resource with a regular newsletter (also free) The owner (Marjan Glavic – a fellow Canadian) keeps on top of the latest in classroom management issues.
At that age I'm a big fan of the "class contract." Your students help you decide what a good code of conduct should be. It might be rather specific (e.g. We will only touch the class pet when we have permission) but it should be really positive. So when the kids say "No talking" you should ask them how we can make that a positive statement. They should come up with "We will only speak when it's we have been given permission." With the contract the kids feel they have something invested-especially your kids who tend to be more than a handful. It's a great way to teach accountability early on.
Cairogal,

You make a great point about the "rules' needing to be formed by concensus of the whole class. Much more effective that way, if the students see and have some real input.

I remember a grade 4 class I once taught. First, I just put down the rules. Didn't work. So we had a pow wow infront of a big piece of chart paper. It was a real, rockem sockem , negotiating session! We made both Teacher and Student rules (do this, it is a must! for forming class community). It was decided that if students finished their lessons or were well behaved, I'd have to tell one story in the morning and one in the afternoon (these kids loved my stories - really just a long list of jokes I've picked up over the years). Also, Friday was "movie' day....they were hard negotiators.

William, I remember that site! Stumbled on it last year and its truly amazing! I've also used Fred Jone's very direct, practical book Tools for Teaching, for insight into management and motivation (so very very much linked).

I have made a series of quizzes for EFL teachers. Here is the one on classroom management for those that haven't taken it yet. Might be of interest. In the survey I initially did before starting this site - classroom management by far, ranked as the problem most teachers wanted help with......I've also attached a list of tips that I find helpful.

If a student is disruptive during class, I assign him/her to detention, without further discussion

David
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Nelson,

I also have a nice class teacher/student contract I'll upload when I get to the office.

I also ordered the FREE classroom management 101 materials. We will see what they are like. The site seems to just want to sell to desperate teachers! I'll report back my findings.

DD
I teach high school students in Korea. All teachers carry sticks here, and they use them on the students every day - light hits in the classroom and very painful hitting in the teachers office. I could write reams about this but that's not the subject of this reply. I'm not allowed to do that, so I have to use other means to control the class. At any time about two to five students in any class are reading newspapers, sending text messages on cell phones, trying to listen to thier mp3 players doing homework from other subjects, playing soduku, and doodling. About six to ten students are talking at any one time. This is clearly the biggest problem. Why does it happen? English education focusses on English reading and writing - those usually use arcane and overly formal material. Any conversation instruction is done with uninspiring materials using the grammar translation method. I'm also the first foreign teacher at this high school. To begin to answer your question, I think the biggest reason why is that with very little exposure to natural english and modern methods, students just don't understand what I'm saying. They also don't expect to understand what I'm saying because they're waiting for the translation. Many times it doesn't matter how slow or how simple, they have NEVER heard a native speaker talk before. So what to do? I rely on my korean co-teacher most often and I encourage them to speak english in class to break the translation dependency. When my students do understand me I always try to tell them what TO do and avoid what NOT to do. I frequently check comprehension by repeating the question to individual students. . Many times, they can't answer even with translation. It's then I say ' It's time to listen.' If a pair of students are talking, they become my helpers by handing out papers, demonstrating actions at the front of the class, following class directions ( matching words to pictures on Bb - the class decides which words to move and they direct helpers where to move them. ) Like you, I make students switch seats. For non-stop talkers and sleepers, having them stand at the back of the room for a few minutes can sometimes work. I"m also allowed to confiscate cell phones, mp3 players and any other distracting items until the end of the class, the end of the school day or the end of the week. Take a look at any websites for classroom management and they tell you that setting rules and being consistant is the most important way to get your work done in the class. It's a balance of rewards and penalties but it's not perfect if you are working with a co-teacher. It's important to ask your co=teacher about non-corporal punisment penalties they use and begin using them yourself. But most important - keep your sense of humor about our students and why they misbehave.
But most important - keep your sense of humor about our students and why they misbehave.

Def. agree Dogpile! That's such a big part of it.
Nelson et al., Here's the Course book/Compilation for my Managing Motivation Course.

Corporal punishment was outlawed while I was in Korea from '95 - '2000. There is NEVER any excuse to hit a student!
I have lots of stories. The best is when I lost my cool in front of the Principal when the music teacher (of all people) in my school was dangerously pounding some kids in the chest. I was outraged! The Principal banned such punishment in the school from that moment on, long before the law came into effect. An extremely courageous move. He stands out as one of the best school leaders I have ever known. (Kang, Ki-seom - Namju High School, Cheju)Common sense is universal. Violence only begets violence, if not immediately, at some point . It kills the spirit, crushes student self esteem, inhibits any growth, socially or academically. I stopped even the friendly 'pinching' I used once in a while to keep students on track. There are just better, much more effective ways. Given the bonds between Korean students and the fear of 'losing face' (which is not uniques to Asian cultures) I discovered that having a quiet chat with a disruptive student (fortunately I had very few) and an 'attentive' one together benefitted everyone. It takes practice! Two of the three years I was in that school I developed the co-teaching program that was adopted by the Ministry for subsequent native speaker programs. Mr. Hyun and I taught a full normal schedule of textbook English together for two grades with seven classes each. The lessons were structured, dynamic, engaging, and always respectful - of the goals we set out as a class to achieve.
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