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Behaviour Management in The ICT classroom

After reading around the TES NQT forums it was clear that on of the hottest topics for NQTs at the moment is behaviour management. Indeed it is something I regularly find myself thinking about and often feeling anxious about.

I’ve had lots of behaviour management tips from many people over the last year on the PGCE and it’s now time to merge all the ideas together to develop my teaching style (teaching persona / you+).

The main challenge I have found, since starting the NQT year, has been the students who challenge what you ask them to do and play on the fact that you are a new teacher in the school. Phrases such as:
“I’m not allowed to sit near….”‘
“I don’t do homework for IT, look at my homework timetable!!”
“Mr (Smith) didn’t use to make us do that”
“Last year we were allowed to….”
have been common place in my lessons and a first it used to really phased me, I was unsure whether to believe what they were saying, school children can be pretty convincing!

After some thinking things through, investing the claims and discussing them with colleagues it soon became clear that a lot of these claims were untrue and I have now decided that it is easier to stick to your guns and then investigate whether their claims are true after the event and not allowing them to manipulate you into believing them at the outset. At this point of the year students are testing you and to that end I think it is important to stand your ground, show them who’s boss, maintain consistency and fairness. (sounds easy doesn’t it!)

As and ICT teacher I teach in one of the subjects where on top of normal classroom  management you have to manage the students use of specialist equipment.

I’ve heard people in the past say that a computer is the window to the world, if this is the case then there is no real surprise that learners have problems concentrating during ICT lessons. In my experience though the numbers of buttons and keys that can be pressed, the mice red light on the bottom of the mice, the way mouse can double as a toy car, the brightness controls on the monitors and (the most irritating!) the fact that the computer beeps if you hold down the shift key for too long are far more exciting to students than the wonders of the Internet and are often more difficult to control, there have been situations in the last three weeks where it has been necessary to move students away from the machines at points of the lesson.

His anyone got any tips to deal with this low-level behaviour? I’m going to try getting them being their chairs forward to the board. I think as with all behaviour management strategies that different techniques will work for different groups and classes.

The technical side of classroom management is not as problematic, classroom control software is very useful with the ability to block internet access and screens is incredibly useful. They should come with a health warning though – learners hate them being used!!! As with any behaviour management strategy clear expectations and training is key; warning of using the screen blocks, justification of their use and expectation of what they need to do when it is used (i.e. Look at the teacher for instructions) take time for students to grasp but with my better classes already starting to show positive results.

The things that I always check if behaviour is poor in a lesson is: was the lesson well planned? how could I have been better prepared? how could I have made the lesson more engaging? what other factors could be changed to promote good behaviour?

That’s my thoughts on this now – watch this space for further developments! I’m sure this is the first of many blog posts about behaviour management.

Imaged used under CC Licence by PhylB on Flickr.

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