With class sizes as big as 90, managing children’s behaviour is an area we continually need to come back to – it can be a major challenge. Rachel has facilitated training on how to manage behaviour, thinking about what we would consider as good and bad behaviour. Since its long been established that rewards are more effective than punishment in motivating children, we have specifically thought about how to promote good behaviour with praise and rewards.
Even though our literacy tutors have seen how the children respond positively to praise and rewards, they soon forget and revert back to what they experienced as children. As a result of the tutors default, the children’s behaviour in class soon deteriorates. Bringing about change takes time and perseverance, and so, this Term, Rachel decided to try to approach things differently…
Rachel sought to increase ownership by creating space for discussion and reflection amongst the tutors, asking: “What challenges & frustrates you within the classroom?” A key theme that emerged was children’s behaviour. In response Rachel and the tutors began to think thought what they’d like to see happening in the classroom & how they could enable these things to happen. Each tutor was asked to set themselves two goals to work on. Two weeks later Rachel observed each tutor, focussing on the goals they had set.
The difference in the classroom was amazing – since the tutors had set their own goals they had made their own changes to their teaching style to achieve them. From lesson observations, each tutor decided three things they were pleased about that they wanted to continue doing, and from this each tutor set themselves two further areas to work on. Once again, Rachel observed each tutor two weeks later and their progress has been incredible – again!
Through the process of the tutors participating in setting their own goals they have improved in the way that they manage the children’s behaviour. They have been able to reflect on what works in the classes they work with and shared with each other what they have been learning.
The process of mentoring these young women and them realising their own potential is of course on-going. The next time it will be the turn of the literacy tutors, rather than Rachel, to observe each other in action in the classroom.