Things I Wish Were On My PGCE But Weren't: Number 3 More practical based and detailed behaviour management

I know that outside of teaching, people think that teachers receive specialised and detailed training in behaviour management. My training consisted of watching a lesson, teaching a lesson, then being told how I did that incorrectly afterwards.

It’s the number one important thing to get right in a lesson, and if it’s off then nothing else can happen and no learning can happen. It’s also the number one thing teachers struggle with.

Wouldn’t it be better if there could be something in between the watching the lesson and teaching a lesson? Perhaps starting by speaking to a student outside on behalf of the mentor teacher, then a supervised ‘little chat’ after the lesson, with coaching on exactly what to say and how to say it?

When a teacher loses control, the mentor should step in and tell them exactly what to do. Instead of just watching from the back and telling them afterwards. You could argue that it would undermine the teacher’s authority, but the kids all know that they’re a student teacher already, and I just don’t think that wouldn’t be an issue in a mentor-student relationship.

Mentors are busy though, and they haven’t got time and don’t get paid for that sort of support. So it’s back to chucking everyone in and just seeing who teaches themselves to swim.

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NQT said...

I agree with the penultimate paragraph. Behaviour management was something I was very slow to 'get' in my placement schools.

One of the good things about my current post as an NQT is that I'm far more aware of the 'chain of command', as it were, and the importance of presenting a united front to pupils. Two clich├ęs in one sentence: but my kids know that if they misbehave for me, they'll get it both from me and from their form tutor, and perhaps Head of Year and Head of Department.

As a trainee, you can do just this - but you've also got your mentor or the regular class teacher as a backup as well.

I took over a year 9 bottom set from two teachers who shared it. Best thing Mr A did - advise based on observations. Great in the long run, but not enough on its own. Best thing Mr B (disciplinarian, had total control of nearly every bottom set) did - five minutes before the end of a lesson, "do you mind if I have a word, Mr NQT?". He ranted at them for five minutes about how disgusted he was with their behaviour, and terrified quite a few. They were angels the next lesson, and that really helped me to get them on track. Undermined? Not at all!

The Edudicator said...

Yes I think you'd be hard pressed to find a new teacher that didn't struggle with behaviour management.

I just think it's such a silly way to go about it, to watch, not do anything to help, and then criticise afterwards, and expect the new teacher to just be able to 'get it' in time for next lesson.

I think I'm sort of picturing a Supernanny style arrangement, where the new teacher is teaching, and the mentor is telling them what to do to manage the behaviour, and then they do that right away 'in the field'.

Part of me thinks it's not done that way because it might show up a lot of the mentor's own incapability. I don't think for a second it would undermine the new teacher.

Thanks for commenting!

Chris Street said...

thanks for your all your comments/posts. Useful for someone like me considering doing PGCE after 35 years in business including 13 years running my own e-commerce company.

The Edudicator said...

You sound like you've got a really solid career there, and I'm not sure what exactly would attract you to leave that for teaching. I'm probably trying to make the opposite move!

Helen Mac said...

I'm with Chris Street, but slightly less commercial experience. I have a strong social conscience and have too little "profit motive" to make it big in private enterprise, hence public sector all the way. Teaching is a weird place though compared to real life, it has to be said.

The Edudicator said...

That's exactly why I went for teaching, I can't stand the thought of working for profit. Something I've learned though is that when you go for public sector your profits are just replaced with targets.

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