The push to teach discipline!

A recent report also found the “disciplinary climate” in schools in Australia was among the least favourable in the OECD according to student reports. This is based on a 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) index, which asked students how often noise and disorder occur in the classroom. Australian classrooms scored -0.2 while the OECD average is 0.04.

In separate studies, researchers have found new teachers find it particularly hard to manage disruptive student behaviour. However, there is currently little data showing how often disruptive behaviour occurs in Australian classrooms, what these behaviours look like, and how teachers currently work to prevent and respond to these behaviours. It is possible that behaviour issues are happening more in some areas or in some schools, rather than across the board.

The report suggests 3 reasons why!

  • Students find the work too difficult (reading skills and disruptive behaviours linked)
  • Peer approval (needing to be seen as cool with peers)
  • Students are copying their parents (parent increased hostility and aggression towards school leaders)

The report also lists some suggestions, which include:

  • Reducing environmental distractions (e.g. felt pads under tables and chairs)
  • Teaching behavioural skills (e.g. entering the classroom quietly and beginning a task)
  • Allowing lots of time for practice
  • Getting students to be part of building the classroom culture.

As a retired Principal and now educator working with two different Universities to support trainee teachers and school leadership teams I might suggest I have some first hand experiences and observations here.

On a recent online chat with retired Principals I made the following comment:

Trainee teachers don’t spend enough time in classrooms (and teaching). I’m constantly saying to trainees stop talking too much (10 min explicit teaching should be enough) then get the students to work – hopefully the task is challenging – have a visual timer for students – encourage questions – walk around the classroom supporting individuals and small groups. Behaviours multiply when they have to listen too much – send students off in groups not all at once – focus on one rule or norm at a time till it’s followed by 90+% of students.

The less than 5% of really disruptive students need intensive work – sometimes outside the classroom – by school leadership and others – I and my AP’s supervised these students for 15 min of recess and 30 min at lunch as they completed their work day in and day out till someone got the message – I gave parents the message as well – No one likes missing out on time with their friends but that’s a privilege for those who try and learn.

We also graphed the amount of time students could concentrate on work – visible signs of improvement – and rewarded that.

I could go on but a few comments on the article itself

  • There are usually less than 5% of students who are continuously disruptive in each school but some schools engage parents more effectively to support the interventions – caviet no parent likes to be called about their child’s behaviour.
  • It appears to happen more frequently in some schools more than others. Those teachers and schools that value time spent building caring relationships between people tend to do better than others.
  • Cool can be acknowledged in lots of ways by adults and peers – e.g. supporting one another.
  • Reading capacity has a huge impact on not appearing dumb in front of peers – teachers using multiple visual strategies – lots of I.T. here – bring more students into the learning.

Appreciate your comments.


This entry was posted in Collaborative Communities, Deakin Teachers in training, Instruction, Leadership, politics, Reading, Teaching, trainee teachers. Bookmark the permalink.

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