Skip to 0 minutes and 3 secondsCHRIS CARR: Right. Hello, folks. Welcome to our next session of question and answers for the Managing Behaviour online course. Myself, I'm Chris Carr. I'm the network education lead for STEM learning and I'm joined by Rachel Jackson, who is our primary specialist also for STEM learning. We're just going to read through some of your comments, and we've got plenty of these that have come in recently. We're going to make a few comments ourselves, and hopefully give some useful advice in response to some of your questions. Hopefully something you can move forward with and something that will be useful to you in the classroom. So our first set of comments come around the theme of contacting home and parents.

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 secondsWe've got a comment here from Saieed and also a follow up question from Tracey regarding engaging parents. So the question is, how can I motivate parents to become engaged in and supportive of their childrens' learning? Rachel, have you got any thoughts on that yourself?

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: Obviously, it's very dependent on the setting of your school and the relationship your school might already have with your parents. One idea that I did to engage parents was to run an actual session where we invited parents into school. It was with the year five class and we invited a significant adult to come in and have an adult and child session. And they worked together in parent child teams on a challenge. The one that I did was an egg drop challenge. So the children-- and the parents could actually see what the children were doing in school and the importance of it, and how the children engaged.

Skip to 1 minute and 39 secondsAnd then it kind of built up that relationship with the parents, so when homework was sent to school-- back to home, the parents had an understanding of what the child was doing. Other ideas, you can have a session where you actually invite your parents at the start of the year in. So you go through the actual maths, the English, the science, the kind of objectives that they might be doing. I know in other settings we've had opportunities for parents to come and learn the maths from how we're teaching it now, because it's very different to when a lot of the parents went to school.

Skip to 2 minutes and 17 secondsBecause often parents are reluctant to help, because they don't quite understand how we teach things these days, so it's sometimes a bit of a lack of confidence on their point. So all of these things really would aim to make parents feel confident to actually support their children.

Skip to 2 minutes and 31 secondsCHRIS CARR: Yeah, I think those are some really good suggestions. I think project based homeworks work quite well. I think anything that encourages the parents to actually participate alongside the students on particular tasks. Homeworks is a great idea for that, really would be beneficial. And then the natural follow up to that is perhaps to invite maybe the parents along periodically into the lesson to support a lesson, or possibly to support an extracurricular STEM Club, for example. I think those sorts of things work quite well. OK. Moving on through the different categories. We've got more questions on the theme of classroom management this time.

Skip to 3 minutes and 7 secondsSo we've got a question from Andrea regarding how to manage bad relationships between students themselves, so students not getting on with each other in the classroom and maybe sort of causing issues with each other. I think, from my point of view and my own personal background is secondary and further education, I think that the first question I would sort of ask myself though really is regarding the lesson structure that I've got. If my lesson is pretty tight and time managed, then I try to leave as little time as possible really for them to have the time on their hands, if you know what I mean, to start sort of maybe sparking off each other and start to cause issues.

Skip to 3 minutes and 50 secondsThere's other classroom management techniques that you can employ, things like seating plans, obviously, to keep the main protagonists well away from each other. But personally, I always found a well-paced lesson, which had lots of sort of changes in task and was very sort of tightly focused, would generally eliminate a lot of those sort of low level type issues. I don't know if you've got any other reflections?

Skip to 4 minutes and 11 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: I think that's pretty much a great starting point. Also, I think it's looking at your seating plans, how you seat particular children. Changes, they go along, because children's relationships change. Any kind of issues, you know, it's always good to keep, keep in with a lot of the people who are on playground duty, like the teaching assistants. They often see things that are missed in the classroom, because you're busy teaching and the children are on task. So in the playground, something might have happened that's overspilled into the classroom. So obviously, you can't do your teaching until that has been solved. So I think having that relationship with your support staff as well really helps overcome these kind of issues.

Skip to 4 minutes and 55 secondsI mean, obviously, there's other things you can do in terms of supporting children rather than your classroom management. So you can have circle time activities, role play different situations. You can even have circles of friends with particular children if there are issues with them.

Skip to 5 minutes and 12 secondsCHRIS CARR: Yeah. I think those are useful points. And I think it's also important to remember that you're not just in isolation here, you know. Other staff members may well have similar issues with those students, be it with them in assemblies or in different lessons. It depends really on the situation that you're in. But I think it's worth talking to other members of staff that also interact with those students, because they may well have some useful advice themselves. OK. So we'll carry on moving through the questions. We've got one from Aaron next, asking how much time should a teacher expect for behaviour change to happen from students? So it's a tricky one to answer this.

Skip to 5 minutes and 52 secondsI think that probably depends on individual circumstances. What I would say is that if you've got the basics of really solid lesson planning in place, really tight lessons that are well focused and you've employed some of the behaviour management tactics, that you should start to see improvements probably pretty much straight away. However, there will always be some issues that are more tricky to unpick. I think it will be that there may well be some more difficult protagonists in the classroom and it's difficult to really predict how long it's going to take to turn them around. You may never succeed entirely. It may be a case of trying to modify their behaviour slightly rather than change it full scale.

Skip to 6 minutes and 36 secondsThere's so many other factors that have an influence there. But I think, in the short term, I think you could probably put some of the practices that you've learned into place and I think you could probably expect to see a pretty substantial improvement fairly quickly. Have you got anything else that you'd like to add there?

Skip to 6 minutes and 54 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: Yeah. I think your point earlier about not being in isolation and just, you know, any changes that you make, make sure that's known throughout the school. So any other adults who are interacting with the particular students in question are using the same behaviour strategy technique, so it's really consistence. So it's kind of an approach from many different angles. So in that case, you would expect to see your behaviour change quite soon. If you're not, then I think you really need to kind of, as Chris says, unpick it and maybe talk a lot more to the student or the child involved and find out why they're doing that.

Skip to 7 minutes and 33 secondsIs there some reason that is not apparent at school behind it? Because it could be that it becomes almost a safeguarding issue or a point that you might need to escalate further to other members of staff.

Skip to 7 minutes and 46 secondsCHRIS CARR: OK, that's great. And just one question that we've got in from Joanne here regarding having a quiet voice. So struggle with maintaining silence throughout the whole class when I need it. Any suggestions? So what do you do, Rachel, if you've got a quiet voice?

Skip to 8 minutes and 2 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: Well, I don't have a quiet voice, but actually, as a primary teacher, having a quiet voice is an asset, because if you have a quiet voice, it often instils calm throughout your class. And I've known some teachers who have a louder voice, it's been much harder for them to actually keep that low level noise down, because the children kind of react to the way that you are. Ways I had of actually getting children's attention without talking, quite often we had a signal that we set up at the start of the year. Just a hand up, everyone put their hand up. When they saw your hand up, they all had to do it. Or there was a clapping.

Skip to 8 minutes and 40 secondsLike you'd clap a rhythm, the children would clap it back. I know in early years, we had little bells sometimes that they all had to just-- or sometimes I'd just say freeze, and they had to just freeze. And make into a kind of game so they enjoy that experience and they get so used to that signal, then they respond very much to that. So then you've gained their attention. You don't need to use a loud voice. You can use your calm, quiet voice still.

Skip to 9 minutes and 5 secondsCHRIS CARR: Yeah. I'd agree with all of that. I think there's certain behaviours that you can instil into your students. Sometimes you can achieve more by not saying anything. You know, just sort of stopping mid-sentence in what you're trying to say and just wait for silence, with a firm glare on your face perhaps? OK, directed judiciously in the right circumstances. Or by your standing position, your stance, your body language, you know, what's that say? That can communicate quite powerfully. I think one of the best lessons I ever saw in terms of classroom management behaviour was when one of my old heads of department would take his coat off or take his jacket off, put it on the seat.

Skip to 9 minutes and 46 secondsAnd that was the cue for the students there and then to stop talking. Obviously, that takes some time to instil into students, but that's the sort point where you can get to with the appropriate behaviour routines. I think it's about those sorts of routines.

Skip to 10 minutes and 0 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: Setting up expectations, isn't it, right at the start and being really consistent.

Skip to 10 minutes and 4 secondsCHRIS CARR: Yeah. OK. Great. Right. Well, we'll carry on moving down. So we've got a series of questions now regarding further education and post 16. So we've got a question here from Sue. What are the main techniques needed when transferring all of these behaviour management ideas and theories from school level onto post 16 education? I've got to say really that I think one of the biggest fallacies really is that there's a big change or their needs to be a big change when you go to post 16 and that you have to abandon all of these ideas and all of these techniques.

Skip to 10 minutes and 41 secondsI will say, you know, from experience of being in post 16 settings that you adopt pretty much the same tactics as you do lower down the school. The exact sort of tone that you use or the language that you may be using in your interactions with the students maybe changes slightly. But these same principles, you know, having them in a seating plan for example, or I suppose really setting your expectations at the start is what it boils down to.

Skip to 11 minutes and 5 secondsSo on your first meetings with them, being very, very clear as to what you expect and being very, very, I suppose, quick and proactive and communicating with students when they are not doing what you expect and just making that very, very clear to them. You've got your standards in the classroom, and you expect those standards to be adhered to. I think that's really what it boils down to. The same techniques are equally applicable in post 16 as they are further down the school.

Skip to 11 minutes and 38 secondsMoving onto Joyce here. Joyce has got a particular query regarding mobile phones. So this sort of perennial problem of do you allow mobile phones or don't you allow mobile phones, what do you do? And it's an FE post 16 situation, maybe there's a little bit more freedom allowed. Again, it depends on, perhaps, on your institution. I know of plenty of colleges, for example, that have got policies on mobile phones, i.e. there is no mobile phones allowed out in lessons. Again, this comes down to your own particular rules and routines and how you enforce them. You need to be clear on your expectations at the start.

Skip to 12 minutes and 18 secondsPersonally, I would insist on no mobile phones out in the lesson, unless I have specifically requested it. As a scientist, there's all sorts of data logging apps that you can get which are really useful for experiments and they're useful in the right sorts of situations. But unless I've actually asked for it, I don't have them out. Some techniques that we use to use in colleges, we used to have a big sort of glass jar or a box where you can see into it, and anybody found texting or out on the mobile phones, OK, you just walk around and you ask them politely to put their mobile phone in that box. They seem to be happy enough doing that.

Skip to 12 minutes and 57 secondsYou know, you can leave the box on display. They can still see where their mobile phone is. They seem to be more comfortable with that than just handing it to you and then you putting it in your secret drawer in the desk or something. They can still see where it is, and they'll collect it at the end of the lesson. And that's a simple rule that we have, and we agree that rule at the start. Just make sure that we stick to it. OK.

Skip to 13 minutes and 20 secondsGot some secondary comments now. This one's from Georgia. Struggling with the start of lessons, because she moves around the school a lot with lots of equipment teaching music. Any tips for managing behaviour whilst she's busy setting up the lesson. My personal tip for this is to probably have some sort of defined lesson starter activity. This could be as simple as maybe sort of five questions on a sheet of A5 paper that you can quickly distribute around the class at the start, and that gives you some breathing space. You want the students to do that task while your then busy setting up the PowerPoint or setting up whatever piece of equipment is needed.

Skip to 14 minutes and 4 secondsIf you're really struggling, OK, and even that is going to be onerous, and then communicate perhaps with a teacher who is in that room before you. Say, look, there's a self-starter tasks here. Can you hand those out at the end of your lesson just while I'm coming up the stairs. You know, it just might give me a bit of time to actually get things settled. So there are strategies that you can use there that maybe makes the start of the lesson a bit more smooth and gives you the breathing space that you need to set things up for the lesson properly.

Skip to 14 minutes and 36 secondsAnother question here it's kind of related. It's to do with the start of the lesson, and it's, how do you do the register quickly and efficiently with minimal interruptions? Personally, from my experience, like I said previously, I would always try and get the class on task first. So get them engaged with some sort of activity. Get them sat, get them quiet, get their heads down, working, and then I can do the register fairly quickly and efficiently. That's how I used to manage it Rachel, you got any thoughts on that?

Skip to 15 minutes and 8 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: I think it's a similar answer. Often, you know, it might be in the morning, it might be you set your expectation right at the start of term, when you come in, you get your reading book out, you do quiet reading while we're doing register before the lesson starts. So it's a real defined time, that register time. Sometimes you could put, if you're going straight into a lesson, I might put kind of an activity that's linked to the lesson. So often a maths kind of puzzle or problem or a question from what we've been working on the previous day so that we're kind of actually linking into their maths.

Skip to 15 minutes and 41 secondsIn terms of actually doing the register, sometimes I'd get them to answer the name and then say their favourite Simpsons character or their favourite fruit or apple or something so they were really listening for their names. Or even just favourite football team. Depending on what mood I was in. But the kids seemed to really respond to that so that always made the register go very quickly.

Skip to 16 minutes and 5 secondsCHRIS CARR: OK. And moving on, we've got Uma's question about attention span among students, and a follow up question from Melvin regarding do we see a need to take a few tangents or include some incidental learning to help the engagement of students? Rachel?

Skip to 16 minutes and 27 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: Whenever children come up with tangents, I think it depends. Often there is some sort of link to what you're talking about, because the child has thought about that because of what you're doing. So you can momentarily go off on that tangent, because I think it's wrong to dismiss it. Other-- and then come back to your lesson. Other techniques I've used I've said, oh, that's a really interesting point. Let's talk about this later. And maybe even write it up on the board to remind you to go back to it later so you're not totally dismissing what they're saying, because you don't want to make them feel belittled.

Skip to 17 minutes and 3 secondsBut I think, obviously, you have your pace of your lesson and you want to keep that up, but it's using what they're saying. If there's a link, pull it in. If not then, you know, come back to it later.

Skip to 17 minutes and 14 secondsCHRIS CARR: Yeah. I'd agree. And I think-- I mean, sometimes you can actually do this in a planned way as well. You know, if there's something happening in the media or the news that relates to the topic that you're on, then it would be silly not to try and include that in some way or form. So you could, for example-- I mean, one example that springs to mind of my own record was when I was doing a topic on radioactivity and it was at the time that Richard III had just been discovered in Leicestershire car park.

Skip to 17 minutes and 42 secondsSo a lesson starter activity was kind of looking at that news story as it was breaking and then linking radioactivity into carbon-14 dating of his bones. So it was quite an engaging starter lesson, and it was something that's not in the syllabus, particularly, but we were able to sort of pull in from the outside world and make the lesson much more enjoyable and more engaging. So I would definitely say don't be afraid to do that, by all means. However, I would just sort of say be aware that there are some children that will delight in keeping you talking off topic so they don't potentially have to learn anything in the lesson. Just be aware of that trap.

Skip to 18 minutes and 21 secondsI've seen a few teachers fall into that, whether they're drawn all over the place by the students and they're never really quite achieve what the lesson outcomes were. So you do need to have the lesson outcomes in your mind, as well. OK. Moving on then. We've got another question here from Svetlana. This one's regarding teaching seven to ten year old children. So some children of my class have difficulty concentrating. I'm a teacher of science. My lessons are 40 minutes long. Can I improve the concentration of these children? That's one for you, Rachel.

Skip to 18 minutes and 58 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: I'm not sure how-- I mean, a 40 minute lesson in itself is a long time for children to concentrate. I tend to break up lessons into little mini sections. So they might have a 10 minute section where you're giving input or you're eliciting ideas from them. Then they might have a time when their pair sharing. Then they might want to do some practical work once they fully understood what they're doing, just so you're kind of breaking it up in little stages. You know, get them moving around. It is hard for anybody to sit and concentrate for a prolonged period of time, including adults.

Skip to 19 minutes and 33 secondsSo it's really important to ensure that there's kind of transitions within your lesson and they're broken up in that way. If it's individual children, there might be a reason why they can't concentrate, and obviously, it would-- I would involve the SENCO, your specialist there who might be able to help with particular needs. I know there was often children that found themselves drifting along and we'd perhaps sometimes give them a little list of a key word that they needed to write down how many times they heard the teacher saying it in the first 10 minute session and so that child would then be concentrating, because they'd be listening out for that word.

Skip to 20 minutes and 14 secondsAnd that was the strategy that a SENCO told me to use. So that seemed to work pretty well. And obviously, if you have a teaching assistant or you have a support in your class, you know, they can also be there to support that child and to kind of ask them questions as they go along to ensure that they're actually listening and learning and concentrating. Don't know. Do you have anything to add, Chris? It's quite a primary question.

Skip to 20 minutes and 38 secondsCHRIS CARR: No, I tend to agree really. I think concentration span really sort of comes down to sort of short activities, you know, switching tasks. And I think one thought that just sort of occurred to me as we were talking through that is that I think when we're talking about managing behaviour, generally, I think a lot of this comes back to the actual mechanics of the lesson. How is the lesson constructed? How-- what does the teaching and learning look like in the lesson? So I think if that's tight, then things like concentration span, those sorts of issues, generally don't happen so much.

Skip to 21 minutes and 10 secondsSo I would say keep your tasks short, to the point, and don't be afraid to change tasks, quickly.

Skip to 21 minutes and 15 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: Yeah and ensure children know what they have to do.

Skip to 21 minutes and 17 secondsCHRIS CARR: Yeah. OK. Moving on. Next category that we'll look at is bullying and violence. So we've got a question from Alessia. In a restorative response to harm or conflict should the meeting involve just the student or the classroom or the small group of students involved? Again, that's quite a tricky one to sort of answer directly. It does depend on the actual circumstances in a situation. What I would say with anything regarding bullying is, first of all, there should probably be a policy in place at your school or your college regarding bullying, and I'd ask, do you understand what that policy is?

Skip to 22 minutes and 2 secondsDo you understand what support is there, from not just yourself, from your line managers and your leaders and your pastoral care and so on. I think, in the first instance, you know, it would normally be some sort of discussion with the perpetrator if it is just one. But I think as you start to sort of unpick that and look at the different situations, that may well involve you talking with groups of students, it may involve you pulling in parents. Maybe to talk with the parents and the students, first of all, individually, and then maybe come to some more sort of a wider reaching group discussion.

Skip to 22 minutes and 37 secondsDifficult to sort of really answer that directly, like I say, because it does depend on the circumstances. But what I will say is that there does need to be a clear policy in place and there should be one in your school that you can follow. Rachel, you got anything else that you want to add to that.

Skip to 22 minutes and 53 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: I think it is what you said, it depends on what's appropriate. It depends on the severity of the bullying or the violence. And I think you're right, it's looking at it from different angles. But in the first instance, it would be very much with the perpetrator, as you've called them, and parents. And I think it's-- and then you might have a more general response without naming the person, but you know, it could be that you're then showing what is appropriate behaviour, rather than what the sanction is. But you're showing-- you're modelling good behaviour rather than the behaviour that's happened.

Skip to 23 minutes and 30 secondsCHRIS CARR: I think that-- I think the important thing to remember again is that this situation could well be extending well beyond the reach of your lesson. So for example, in a secondary context, you could have this problem throughout all the subjects in the school. So you really do need to pull in, at an early point, the pastoral care. The people that have got the oversight for that student or for that group of students, get them involved. OK? OK. We've got another question on a similar theme. This one's from Harlie. It's how do I deal with students fighting and or bullying? Again, I think this is a sort of similar situation to what we've just had before.

Skip to 24 minutes and 11 secondsI don't know whether there's any sort further comments that you want to raise on this one. I think this one is particularly at primary school children.

Skip to 24 minutes and 18 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: I mean, one of the first things I'd say is, you know, you usually-- if you're giving them sanction, you're usually labelling the actual-- "the crime" rather than the child so the child doesn't feel like it's always directed at them and they're not made out to be this-- "the bully." So it's actually their behaviour, because their behaviour can be changed, so you're labelling the behaviour. So especially with the younger children, that's really important to remember. So you're not saying the name, you're saying that the hitting is bad, hitting is wrong, we don't hit, rather than saying it's them. So that's really important.

Skip to 24 minutes and 58 secondsI think as well, talking to the individual, which Harlie said they've already done that, to find out why they might have the anger and the outburst, how long it's been going on. Talking to other children in the class to find out why they're doing that. Also, perhaps having circle time where you're talking about good behaviour, you're modelling that good behaviour, you're constantly setting that up as something that you want to happen in your class, so the children can actually say that, but also then try and model it. I've also tried things like role playing situations, but giving general situations rather than ones that are specific.

Skip to 25 minutes and 39 secondsAnd within that, you have a similar situation to that so the children can then practise these skills that they're talking about, because that's what children find hard to do, to actually-- they know how to say they're going to behave, but actually doing that in practise in the playground is a different thing. So they need to have opportunities to practise that. Also, if it's a particular child, then we've set up things like circles of friends where they have people who are kind of looking out for them and caring about them. Buddy benches?

Skip to 26 minutes and 11 secondsSo they might go and sit on a buddy bench in the playground so you know that they're feeling unhappy, and somebody else will go along and talk to them. But I think, ultimately, it's modelling really good behaviour and just really consistently setting those expectations in your classroom, and anything else, then that would not be appropriate. So you know, we don't talk-- we all talk in English if that's the language that you're talking in your class. And if they're not doing that, then you maybe bring in parents as well to support you.

Skip to 26 minutes and 44 secondsCHRIS CARR: OK. That's great. We've got another question here from Yvonne. Again, this is sort of primary focus, I think. It's, how do you deal with students who are just keen on talking loudly and trying to overpower each other? How do you discipline students who continuously belittle each other? And how do you constantly manage the behaviour of four to six-year-olds. So three for the price of one in that.

Skip to 27 minutes and 7 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: Yeah, there's quite a lot of things going on there. I mean, if there are children who are belittling each other, I would talk to those children and try and find out why they're doing it. Often, if there is that going on, there's a reason why, and often, it's to do with the self-esteem of the child who is actually doing the belittling. Or if it is a constant thing, then it could be bullying, but there's often a reason for that. I'd involve parents. I'd involve the SENCO. I wouldn't just make it the problem in your class, because it will have been seen across the school in other situations by other teachers that might come in to teach your class.

Skip to 27 minutes and 47 secondsAnd try and find out what's happening. Other than that, I would, again, you know, just constantly set expectations that we don't have this behaviour. Show good examples. Again, you can role play these things with your younger children. I know, in early years or even pre-early years, you use puppets to almost model this kind of good behaviour and bad behaviour so it's not the child that's doing it, it's the puppets or the toy or the teddy, you know, so and they can see that that's not appropriate in that way. And yeah, talking loudly, again, that's expectations.

Skip to 28 minutes and 28 secondsAlso, you might be able to find something that the child who is perhaps not doing the right thing, you might want to kind of turn it on its head and give them something that they feel really good about themselves doing. So give them some sort of responsibility almost that then they might not feel the need to do that. Don't know if you agree, Chris.

Skip to 28 minutes and 49 secondsCHRIS CARR: Yeah, no, no, I'd agree with all of what you said there. I think the point about expectations. I mean, this keeps coming back, doesn't it, in answers to several different questions. But really setting your stall out at the start of the year, you know, with your class making it clear what you expect and what you will and won't tolerate. OK? OK. We've got a question here from Janet regarding punishment. OK, so the question really focuses on, what is the best sanction to use when children overstep the mark? Now, it's an interesting question, what's the best sanction to use?

Skip to 29 minutes and 30 secondsI think, again, this is going to depend really on what the policy is of the school, because you know, you have certain limitations as to what you can and can't do for sanctions. I think what I will say is that there needs to be an escalating set of sanctions that are proportional to the actual problem so the students see that there is a consequence to what has happened. I think that's the key thing really. There needs to be a consequence so things don't go unchecked. Regarding the actual sort of best sanction, really, I don't think there is a single best sanction, it just depends on the actual circumstance, and it really depends on what your school policy is.

Skip to 30 minutes and 9 secondsBecause you need, as a teacher, to be following that school policy to ensure that it's consistent across all the school. If you've got some teachers doing one thing and another teacher doing something else, then that's where the problems start to happen. So it needs to be a consistent message all the way across the school. Rachel, you have any thoughts on that?

Skip to 30 minutes and 28 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: Yeah. I mean, I think Janet's actually said that they've already tried talking to parents and taking time off play time, and it's not been effective. I think I'd really, you know, want to know why this child is challenging in this way. Because obviously, it's they're asking for some attention by doing this, so I'd want to actually dig into that and find out why they're doing that. And I think until you get to the crux of that, it's quite hard to stop that behaviour or to change that behaviour.

Skip to 30 minutes and 59 secondsThat's what I'd want to do, and I'd want to involve other people to try and find out if they're overstepping the mark and you've set clear limits, they've had, you know, the escalating sanctions, then I think I'd really want to know why that's happening. Because you would expect some change if you talked to parents and you're employing school's policy on sanctions and rewards.

Skip to 31 minutes and 23 secondsCHRIS CARR: Right. We've got some questions now on individual students. So I've got a question from Janet, who's talking about a child that is continually interrupting them by repeating and mimicking what they're saying. And the question really is around this sort of concern about being seen to escalate incidents repeatedly, and whether it's better to do that in the hope of nipping it in the bud. I mean, my own sort of personal thoughts on this is that you should always nip things in the bud wherever possible. I think if this goes unchecked, something like repeating and mimicking is obviously quite-- it's actually quite serious misbehaviour.

Skip to 32 minutes and 11 secondsThere's a lack of respect there, obviously, for the teacher, and I think that's the sort of thing that can spread, you know, like a sort of cancer across the class. And before you know it, you've got the rest of the class doing the same thing and you've got some really serious behavioural problems. So absolutely, nip it in the bud. I think what you'll often find is that you have the odd student here and there that will be testing the teacher. You know, they're testing the water with us to see what they can get away with and if they can get away with something, then they'll keep pushing and pushing and pushing until you have got the complete breakdown of discipline.

Skip to 32 minutes and 45 secondsSo absolutely nip it in the bud. You mentioned that you're on supply. OK, so you haven't got quite the same sort of, I suppose, perceived authority from the students as a regular teacher might, but nevertheless, you need to go in there, as a supply teacher, and establish yourself in your eyes, you know, and the rest of the classes eyes that you are a regular teacher and that you have got the exact same expectations that any of those regular teachers would have and if you have to escalate it to SLT, then you escalate it. Any further thoughts on that, Rachel?

Skip to 33 minutes and 21 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: I'm totally in agreement with that. I think it's a very different situation, because you're on supply, but you know, a supply teacher does need to go in and set really clear expectations at the start the lesson. It could be that you're coming back on a regular basis to the same school and you build up that relationship. You know, supply teachers that I've known come back again and again and again and to be used by schools I've worked in have actually set really clear expectations at the start. They've had their own reward system or they've linked it in with the school reward system.

Skip to 33 minutes and 52 secondsThey've asked before they've come, you know, are there any children that I need to be aware of? How do you deal with them? So they're actually tying in with what the teacher does. But I totally agree with Chris, you want to nip that kind of challenging behaviour in the bud straightaway, because it will escalate very quickly and it will be almost impossible to teach if that carries on.

Skip to 34 minutes and 15 secondsCHRIS CARR: OK. We've got another question here from Ashleigh, who's talking about a student in the class who's a troublemaker and mischievous. Quite attention seeking, although very good at maths. Doesn't make much of an effort in the class. How do you deal with that sort of student who's starting to effect an impact on the behaviour of others? Again, there's different sort of ways in which you might handle this and depends on the individual involved, but I think the thing that sort of stuck out for me within that set of descriptions about this character is what he was good at. He's really good at maths, but doesn't make much effort. He's also attention seeking.

Skip to 34 minutes and 57 secondsSo if there's some sort of way in which we can maybe involve this individual in the lessons and get him to buy in a little bit more as to what's going on in the lessons, that might be one angle that you can come at this from. So for example, rather than you delivering the lesson of delivering each aspect of the lesson, if he's particularly good at maths and you happen to be on a maths topic or maths section, then maybe he could actually explain to the class how to solve a particular problem or demonstrate perhaps some of these answers. Or maybe get him to offer some constructive thoughts on other people's answers.

Skip to 35 minutes and 32 secondsThere's different ways in which we can sort of approach that, and it may be starts, possibly, with focusing on what he's good at and how we can get him more and more plugged into the lesson in a productive way. I think part of it probably does involve a long term project with him, really, in terms of establishing a firm relationship with this individual and understanding what makes this character tick. What are their interests? Is it around sport, is it around music?

Skip to 35 minutes and 59 secondsYou know, I mean, sometimes you can find ways in to a student's psyche if you find some sort of area of common ground that you can connect with them on and talk with them on, and it's quite surprising sometimes seeing the difference that that creates. You know, there's no indication here, I don't think, as to whether this is primary or secondary based, but I have seen circumstances in the past in secondary schools where one student can be really, really disruptive in one lesson and they can be absolutely on it in someone else's lesson. And why is that? Is it simply because they see that subject as more relevant to them? Is it something that's hooked them in?

Skip to 36 minutes and 39 secondsIs it the relationship with the actual teacher that's doing that? So it's those sorts of things to explore and unpick. But you know, it's not cut and dried that this individual has to remain like this in your lesson. Rachel, your thoughts?

Skip to 36 minutes and 55 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: I think-- yeah, I mean, this student seems to already have this label of being a troublemaker and being mischievous, which is something that really needs to be changed, because if they have that label, then that's how they're going to act. So I mean, it could be that you're kind of, as Chris said, turning it around, using that mischievousness to be maybe a kind of a person who is maybe a joker, but in a fun way. You know, you can use humour as well in lessons to sort of not control behaviour, but to modify behaviour. I think, yeah, give this person opportunities to shine as much as you can.

Skip to 37 minutes and 33 secondsIgnore the low level disruption, and discipline them in private so they're not seen as this joker or troublemaker. And you're just praising the good things in public, and in private, you're very much-- you know, you're having a quiet word with them.

Skip to 37 minutes and 49 secondsCHRIS CARR: That's great. All right. We've got a question here on an FE context. This is from Madhurima. And it's on how to deal with students who are quite casual in their approach with respect to academics. It's not that they're weak in their studies, it's just that they don't want to put in effort from there end. How do you motivate students post 16 when they're not bothered about their performance themselves? So I mean, for me, to unpick that, I think a lot of that-- it starts really with the information and guidance that they've had at the outset, as they've enrolled onto these courses. You know this is a post 16 context.

Skip to 38 minutes and 28 secondsWhy are they actually on the course in the first place is the first question that I'd ask. Are they on it because they want to be on it? Are they on it because their parents want them to be on it? Are they on it because there was no other course that they could access and this was effectively sort of forced upon them perhaps to make their quota on the timetable? So there's those sorts of questions that need to be unpicked. I would say if there's a clear issue regarding the information guidance and they don't really want to be on this course. Well, OK, there's a conversation to be had then about switching courses perhaps, OK?

Skip to 39 minutes and 1 secondI think, as time goes on, let's assume they have actually picked this course with the right intentions. Then for me, the question of maintaining motivation really centres around are they-- do they actually have ownership of their own learning and of their own progress tracking, yeah? Can they sort of see the point of what they are doing in lessons is actually leading towards some sort of outcome? So are they actually tracking their own progress, be that on BTEC assignments, be that on regular half term tests and assessments that are made, if they're doing A level studies or whatever it might be? Can they actually see where their weaknesses are, where they need to work, where they can improve?

Skip to 39 minutes and 43 secondsAnd can they actually see the path of their progress? Because that can be quite motivating in itself. Do they understand where this is going? Let's look at the other end. You know, what's going to happen when they finish post 16 education? Do they have a clear understanding of what the opportunities are, what they're going to actually be directed to do, what course they're going to apply for, be it a university or on to an apprenticeship or what employment opportunities there are? Again, these are the sorts of things that really factor in to a student.

Skip to 40 minutes and 14 secondsSo I think putting together a sort of full package, really, of making sure that they've got proper guidance really all the way through, right from the start of enrolment, all the way through their course, and then ultimately, that they've got some sort of career focus at the end is key there with maintaining motivation.

Skip to 40 minutes and 32 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: There's one last question.

Skip to 40 minutes and 33 secondsCHRIS CARR: So there's one last question. OK. We've got this from Yvonne. So the question is, how do I overcome the fear of approaching and teaching teenagers? OK. Well, from my point of view, I would say if you are planning on any sort of interactions with teenagers and you're a little bit nervous about that, then it's probably a good idea to maybe sort of start maybe with individuals, you know. So maybe within your circle of friends or your wider family there are some teenagers that maybe you could just, I don't know, find some excuse to have some sort of interaction with them. And then maybe sort of escalate that up into very small groups.

Skip to 41 minutes and 16 secondsYou already mentioned that you do some interactions with young people at church and community programmes and social events. I think, really, it's just increasing your exposure to those students. And maybe having something to deliver to them I think helps as well, rather than just sort of generally interacting with them in a social context. I think maybe, you know, have some sort of short project or short thing that you're going to present with them or work with them on that gives you a bit of a focus to your discussions. That can sometimes be easier than just simply sort of sitting there and trying to sort of socialise with them. So that would be my advice.

Skip to 41 minutes and 56 secondsRachel, you got any other thoughts on that?

Skip to 41 minutes and 58 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: I would say teenagers like younger children or adults, they're all the same in the sense that if you have planned an interest in an engaging lesson at the appropriate level, then you probably will just enjoy that and get to know them in that way and you won't have to worry about the fear of teaching them, because it will just become like any other lesson. I don't know. I've not got direct experience of teaching teenagers, but I've taught adults and I think, you know, if it's engaging, they will respond to you in that way.

Skip to 42 minutes and 34 secondsCHRIS CARR: Yeah, I would totally agree with that. I think if you look around you at some of the best teachers, you know, you go into their lessons, the teachers themselves are excited by what they're actually teaching. So their focus is not so much on terror at the people that were in front of them or who they're teaching, it's more, wow, this is brilliant I can't wait to share this with you. So I think I would agree with Rachel's comments there on planning some sort of session that you're generally invested in and you're excited about, and I think any sort of fears about the nature of the audience kind of fades away really. Right. OK.

Skip to 43 minutes and 11 secondsWell, that concludes our set of questions for this particular session. Hopefully you found that of some use. Please do keep these questions coming in, because they're really stimulating and they're interesting for us to read, and we wish you all the best with the next few weeks on the course. Rachel?

Skip to 43 minutes and 31 secondsRACHEL JACKSON: Just if you are a new or recently qualified teacher, or if perhaps you just want to refresh your ideas, we do have two dedicated pages on the STEM learning website that look at the teaching standards and the expectations of meeting them, and they give you lots of tips linked to classroom management, behaviour management, and all of the other standards that are linked to being a teacher. So they're well worth having a look at just in terms of links to books and resources to support you with any issues linked to behaviour.

Skip to 44 minutes and 8 secondsCHRIS CARR: OK. Thank you very much.

Q&A session

The Q&A sessions on courses from the National STEM Learning Centre provide you with the opportunity to ask more about the course content and issues from your own classroom practice.

Thank you to all learners who posted questions to this Q&A and the previous Q&A with Tom Bennett. Chris Carr, Network Educational Lead with experience in secondary and post-16 settings, and Rachel Jackson, Primary Specialist, recorded answers to a selection of your questions.


  • 0:35 - Contacting home and involving parents
  • 3:05 - Student-student positive relationships
  • 5:35 - Time needed for behaviour change
  • 7:47 - Teaching with a quiet voice
  • 10:15 - Managing behaviour in post-16 settings
  • 11:40 - Mobile phone use
  • 13:25 - Start of lessons
  • 14:35 - Taking the register
  • 16:13 - Managing tangential and incidental learning
  • 18:40 - Concentration with primary pupils
  • 21:20 - Restorative approaches to bullying
  • 23:57 - Physical and verbal bullying
  • 26:44 - Pupils overpowering each other
  • 29:11 - Punishments and sanctions
  • 31:24 - Escalating to senior leaders
  • 34:16 - Labelling students as trouble-makers
  • 37:50 - Casual attitudes to learning
  • 40:35 - Overcoming a fear of teaching to teenagers

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Please note: if you post a question here it may be featured in the video recording along with your first name. The recording will be publicly viewed via this step and may also be uploaded to the STEM Learning YouTube channel.

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This video is from the free online course:

Managing Behaviour for Learning

National STEM Learning Centre