Behaviour Management in LLS Recommended Text

download (2)I can not recommend Managing Behaviour in Further and Adult Education by Susan Wallace enough as an essential read for anyone working in the LLS or training there or heading there in the future.

I love the easy writing style, the use of case studies which will be all too familiar to many NQT’s and PGCE placement students who are in FE in particular but also in HE.

It puts to bed the myths that students in LLS are there because they choose to be and as such will be model students, impeccably behaved and reasonable… crikey I was in a class of trainee teachers many with recent BA degrees under their belt who didn’t know how to turn up on time, stop giggling, keep on task, prevent themselves from doodling and chattering during lessons, presentations and guest speaks. If people who are trying to manage behaviour in classrooms as teachers can’t behave when they are students then there is no class out there which is immune from behaviour management issues.

As it’s titling suggests also prepare for gaining QTLS (if we figure out what is happening with that) so if that’s where you are heading and it probably is then it’s even more essential.

This is the most up to date version of this book and is available here from Amazon at around £11 plus p&p, £17.50 for the Kindle version and around £15.00 if you buy through Prime. The second edition is available here for less on Amazon and if you are really strapped for cash it’s still a useful purchase. Don’t be put off by the slightly different title it is still the previous version of this book. I have both and either are really useful but of course the updated version does have some useful updates relevant to changes in the sector. I’m not sure if it’s available in the Kindle library to Prime members for a free hire I’ve not checked but it’s one you will want to keep in my opinion anyway so for a reasonable text book price and for one that isn’t massive and hefty that you can stick in your bag and read in bed without danger of caving your face in if it slips from your hands it’s a good investment.


Teaching Resource – Brand Value

When I was teaching a year one business class last year about brand value one of the students asked how brands are valued, who decides what they are worth and we had a lively discussion about it and did a bit of research. It would have been useful to have had this Economist article in my file of references and resources to pull out. You may have to sign up to the website but if you’re a business teacher I’d imagine you already are signed up and if not I’d recommend you do so and follow on Twitter, Facebook and from your blog site too for up to the minute news, articles, resources and information which can help in teaching a range of business disciplines.

The chart alone, which is reproduced here from the article, is a good easy reference tool to illustrate the differentials when it 1908397_10152669259339060_8587787567549023418_ncomes to putting a price on a brand. I wouldn’t just leave it there though, I hate to leave questions unanswered because when they come it shows that students are engaged and interested, that they are thinking about what they are learning  and  hungry for more information, which is any teacher’s dream. I’d support it with a read of the article and a discussion and maybe like I did without this article, encourage some research. 

For any new teachers out there who are heading into the classroom for the first time this month either as a teacher or a trainee teacher sometimes it’s OK to deviate from the lesson plan if it means that you are engaging and stretching the students. As long as you are not deviating from the topic completely it’s OK to do this ‘seize the moment’ teaching and this is one of the beauties of having technology at our finger tips in classrooms, both teachers and students can instantly and quickly search for information to develop and inform a discussion.

You don’t have to give over the rest of the lesson to a discussion but a few minutes can be time well spent. If the students are taking a lead in their study of the subject, manage it and let it happen don’t rush away from it because the plan is going to go five minutes out of sync, you will have the opportunity to catch that up at some point or you can select an area from your plan for extension work. This is the confident, mature and flexible approach to teaching I received really good feedback for in my obseravtions. I guess it’s a very humanistic approach and that fits with my ideology but then I guess I’m advocating a fusion of behaviourist and humanist by planning for those moments when they arise. Having a little folder of relevant resources is much more effective as a teaching tool than saying “I read in an article the other day…” it’s much better to go to a paper file or electronic file and say “take a look at this and tell me what you make of it”.

Taking Control of a Noisy Class

This is a really useful video with some useful techniques to think about, incorporate or adapt to suit your classes if this is a problem for you. This seems to be pitched at younger students, maybe not suitable in its entirety for older learners but even so, as we know the older ones can be just as challenging and there may be things that can be adapted.

I copied this link while the video was paused on Video 2 so you may have to back track to find Video 1 to start, it’s important to watch them all as he talks about controlling the class before you even go into the classroom.

Assignment Sessions

On placement this week we wanted to get the students started on part of their assessment. Just leaving them to their own devices is not the best option with this group. So a plan was needed to make sure they actually started to do some research and thinking about the task and to work on it instead of doing anything but.

They were split into groups of 3 students, mostly able to choose their own members with a few mumbles when someone had to move out of their comfort zone.

Three tasks were posted up on the board and each group had to carry out all three tasks. They were given the additional task of deciding amongst themselves how they would allocate responsibility for each task… they did this pretty quickly and with minimal fuss.

Each individual student then had about 20 minutes to work on their specific task, researching online, asking for advice from teachers or whatever they chose. Then they had a few minutes to feed back to each other within their group on what they had done for their task. Once that was done each group fed back to the whole class and this gave rise to some discussion amongst them and some interesting ideas and thoughts being formed.

They then had a ten minute break and after that they were given around 50 minutes to begin to work on their assignment which really had been done as the three tasks had covered the content. They really knuckled down to some work and with minimal prompting and some advice and discussion when appropriate everyone left the class with at least a good start having been made on their assignment.

The post break period was unusually quiet and focused. The method seems to have worked very well and will be one I’ll definitely lock into the memory bank as being far more productive than sending them off to the library or setting them off blindly on an assignment.

Useful journal articles for PGCE students

Some more journal articles that might be useful for the academic elements of the course:

Active Passive Intuitive
adult learning theory
Adult learning
Assessing Learning
Bloom and IT
Bloom and multiple choice tests
Bloom and word clouds
Bloom valences
bullying and teacher practices
civic consciousness
classroom management strategies
classroom management
cognitive levels
collaborative teaching tools in life long learning
comparative analysis of 3 learning theories
kolb and teaching practice
Learner outcomes
life long learning and self assessment
Life long learning tools
life long learning
matching and stretching learning styles
Prior Learning Assessment
safer classrooms
teaching written business communication
the affective domain
transformative learning

Classroom Behaviour

I’ve found a number of interesting articles and resources on classroom management and behaviour so thought I’d share some of my favourites:

Fun item from TES could also apply to older learners: What_you_should_never_say_to_children This next one kind of links into it: Common_mistakes_teachers_make_by_Tom_Bennett

As a bit of a humanist I found this interesting and challenging of my personal views in some respects:

This is interesting for FE/HE teachers: (if this link doesn’t work try looking for an academic paper by Catherine Deering entitled Managing Disruptive Behaviour in the Classroom

This is interesting and a quick read: Adult learners

Top ten tips here:

I loved this little article for trainee teachers on Classroom Presence: you might have to subscribe to TES to read this but then you should be subscribed anyway, fab resources, tons of info on teaching and education policy and job search advice PLUS vacancies

This is one of those ‘sign up and get free stuff and if we don’t hear from you in a month we’ll charge you but keep your free gift’ things, it looked good, so I got it and it is really useful, just don’t forget to unsubscribe if you don’t want to continue paying the relatively modest monthly charge

The TES behaviour forum: really useful read for tips on general and specific issues regarding classroom management

Check out the gallery over there >>> for some fun classroom management images and this poster might be useful too.

Classroom Management Mantra

Music in the classroom

I find it difficult to study in silence, I like some background noise in the shape of music or the television on a low volume or just people bustling about around me. I’m not sure if this came from being part of a very large family stuffed into an average sized 3 bedroomed semi where silence was hard to come by.  Whatever it was, I find that if there is silence my mind starts to wander and I lose focus.

It doesn’t matter to me if the music is instrumental or if there are lyrics, I can happily sing along to something and focus on my work at the same time. OK so I’ll admit that at times I have been known to type the words to Moves Like Jagger into the middle of an essay which thankfully I have become aware of before hand in.

Recently I was having a look into Gestaltism (as some of my course mates will know) for a group presentation on learning theories and found a paper written by Michael Griffin that’s attached here: Background music in classrooms which identified key benefits (and potential pitfalls) of music in classrooms. Another useful advice leaflet has been prepared by Janet Elder phD and is available here: 1_Brain-Friendly_Classroom_Music. Another interesting perspective is contained in this Journal of Music article by Mangram and Weber (2012) which discusses the uses of music in the classroom, the type of music used and what it says about the teacher: Classroom Music

Last time I was on placement I asked my students how they felt about music while they studied, having noticed a tendancy for a number of them to plug themselves into smart phones when working on computer based assignments in class. I realised, following a non-invasive stroll around the classroom and a bit of over the shoulder reading, that those who were wired for sound were working industriously and productively.

About a third of the class, equal numbers of boys and girls, had chosen to listen to some music the others who had the technology with them said that music while studying was not for them. One student pointed out that she liked the classroom to be very quiet when she was engaged in independent study and she said from her perspective it was a good thing that the others were able to listen to music as it prevented them from chatting and making a noise which would irritate her. She felt that it was the students who talk the most who were the ones who like to listen to music. This struck a chord with me because perhaps they are like me, not wantonly disruptive, just needing some background noise to help them focus… something worth bearing in mind when dealing with classroom management issues perhaps.

I asked them if their usual teacher allowed them to listen to music and gave them license under number 9 on the Learner Standards document posted in each classroom, the one that states “Mobile phones are only to be used appropriately to support learning”. They said that it was something that nobody had ever really stopped them doing and so they felt that it must be OK, it had never been discussed it was just not something their teacher seemed to object to. I took that to mean then that it had been decided that the use of mobile phones for music was deemed to support learning appropriately and I kind of liked that.

I did become aware of the tinny sound of someone else’s earphones on one occasion but when I tracked down the culprit a tap on the shoulder, an unprompted, polite apology later and the volume was set at a less invasive level.

When I wanted to gain the attention of the whole class, a slightly raised tone sufficed to bring everyone back to focus on the classroom and music was turned off, ear phones removed with no protest or issue.

In short from my microscopic study I couldn’t see a problem with it and could see obvious benefits.

I wonder if Griffin’s suggestions are too complex and over thought. Is there really any need to go to the lengths of controlling the type of music and volume for piped music? Why not simply allow students who wish to listen to music to choose for themselves? After all whilst music might be a useful aid for some students, it could irritate others, particularly those who like to study in silence, so does piped music have a place at all?

I’m going to relate this to some learning theory now, like a good student…

Whilst the use of background music in a classroom to add to the holistic learning experience, allowing for another branch of creativity to be opened up and for care to be given to the environment of learning is arguably Gestaltist in nature, would a Humanist approach allowing students freedom to choose for themselves be more appropriate?

Does it make a difference depending on the age of the students, or their ability, or their level of engagement perhaps? Hopefully I’ll find out as my journey progresses.