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Can we have a discussion about this, please? I'm fed up with telling my year 8 and 9's off in English - using target language just seems to go out of the window with a challlenging class. I'm thinking of intoducing telling off in German - at least that way everyone is learning while I'm having a go!!! I'm seriously thinking of getting them to write in their exercise books the German for 'detention', 'see me after the lesson', 'stand outside the door'....
I wouldn't dream of using the target language to discipline a naughty child. They won't understand. Don't do it!
You could always swear at them in the target language
Start with simple sayings like, 'Tu as un probleme? Ca va ok?' 'Attention! Silence s'il vous plait! Merci!' accompanied with the usual smile/cryptic smile/thumbs up. You could try saying 'Fred, PLEASE!' in whatever language you are teaching.
For myself I just use non-verbal indicators as far as I can, with the above, and if the behaviour is getting worse, I stop the lesson, moan at them in English then carry on. I say quietly to them, 'You have three seconds to be quiet or you will stand up- un! Deux! Trois! LEVEZ-VOUS!' (if they are still talking- I guess I could say the first bit in French as well, now I think about it.) I think the earlier poster is right- don't overburden the foreign language with moaning at them- it's hard enough trying to sell MFL to them, English can take the strain and it does break the lesson up, which sends a signal.
May I suggest it sounds like you need to put more thought into what suits the class and how to get them more on board/personally engaged- not a criticism- just a thought.
Or just increase the number of behaviour management strategies at you disposal, and try to whizz through them fast, instead of focussing how to convey them. When I do my three seconds then you stand thing, for example, if they are STILL talking, I make them sit, stand, sit, stand until it gets on their nerves- to show them I am the boss.
Other strategies I use: (some may sound silly but I use them)
-I whistle very loudly (classes beg me to teach them how to do it and if they are good I show them at the end of the lesson)
-I have a small bell that I ring (! It does sound daft, doesn;t it, but it makes a change from me shouting)
-I shout, 'merci! Merci!' (smiling)
-To start the lesson I shout at them 'bonjour la classe!' as many times as it takes to get them to shout back at me
-I rap on the table/board (I have heard of some people slamming books)
-I change the activity and give them something different- try handing out worksheets/textbooks- that eventually gives them the message they have blown their chances of a fun lesson
-don't be afraid to totally scrap the fun activity you started to do, and lay it on thick we did all this and more with the same year group, different class you had before them
-offer prizes for actitivies or participation- I get 15 rubbers for 99p from my local pound shop
-have a look at your dept reward system- are you using it as much as you can? We give stars for participation/reaching targets, 6 stars make a merit and a sticker, 6 merits make a merit award
-if your dept reward scheme isn't that good, try a new one
-I give out bingo tickets to KS4 classes with a draw for a chocky bar every 5 lessons or so
-one school I used to work at had 'good news notes' and postcards home- you could hold up 4 at the start of the lesson and say, 'I am going to give these out at the end of the lesson to the four most deserving people'- then at the end of the lesson ask them to suggest who should get them and why
-survey them what their prefered learning styles/activities are and be seen to respond
-give them more choice- say we are going to practise/learn this- how shall we do it? Write a list on the board and then take a vote
-show them two lesson plans- the one you'd like to do and the one we will have to do if they don't co-operate, then go with which one they show you they are capable of. Be bloody-minded.
Hopefully there are some ideas here you can use.
Thank you for all your ideas. I'm not sure what to do. Basically, I really need to work on my behaviour management. The class I'm thinking of especially is a boys' grammar school class - the school is very strict, and the expectation is that they will all sit quietly and behave perfectly - but I suppose the temptation for the boys is to act up and get away with whatever they can, especially with someone who is new to the school and doesn't have this kind of 'army-style' approach.The class is very needy - some relatively weak, some ADHD, some high-flyers, some just switched off or enjoy causing a bit of trouble. I've tried the 'if you behave w'll do x' kind of approach, but it never works because there are too many strong characters with their own agendas who can't even see why I'm not happy with their behaviour. Part of my problem is that I can't get them to put their hands down - they've all got their hands up in the air - one needs the toilet, another one's pen is broken, a third one has forgotten his book, a fourth one doesn't understand any of the work (even though I've just explained it and in any case it's probably written on the board), a fifth one wants to know whether he needs to write in full sentences, a sixth one's pencil case has just been knicked etc.
One improvement I've made this week is that I have the work on the board and then I go individually to pupils who have their hands up and talk to them quietly, in order to remove their audience (I'm sure some of them are just putting up their hands to be silly).
But my lessons have got less and less fun as the year has gone on, as I have become less and less tolerant of their behaviour, and they have become more antagonistic.
In any case, if I haven''t put several of them in detention by the end of the lesson for poor behaviour (I usually have that class before break), then I've got them in detention for not completing their homework - another constant battle. I just can't keep on top of it all.
Every lesson it's like that - I ask them to walk in quietly and get ready sensibly, they clown around, I shout and give detentions, then they work better but it's not a nice atmosphere, and not conducive to playing games or talking in the target language. And yes, I do have a 'starter activity' ready - maybe not always the most interesting one, but if I have 5 lessons like tomorrow, how can I plan interesting starter activities for them all? And why should I prepare the best lessons for the worst class? I'd rather plan good lessons for my good classes.
Maybe get rid of the starter activity and just start teaching them the main content right from the off? I hate starters and don't use them.
I would keep up with the detentions, but do it calmly. Don't let the sods beat you!
Having just read a post about a Y11 group, it occurred to me that the suggestion of starting each lesson with a wordearch of vocabulary from the previous lesson might give you a calm start which would allow the time for the 'admin' of the lesson - the no pens/book/ homework to be sorted out. The wordsearch could include a section with the words listed and hidden the the TL and then a more challenging section with the words listed in English but hidden in the TL. I often put the names of the students I am pleased with under a smiley face on the board . Even the most cynical individuals at my school (and believe me there are a few) question why their name is not there if they are not on the list. (I did bribe with sweets for those who had finished but I suspect this may be frowned upon!) My other bribe technique (with a particularly challenging lot) was to tell them what I expected them to be able to do that lesson and if they managed to do it in time, we would spend the last 12 minutes of the lesson watching a film. It's amazing how many lessons Harry Potter lasted. They were such a notorious group that when a deputy head arrived to speak to me one day during the aforementioned film and I felt forced to justify myself she endorsed my bribery as it had had a positive impact on behaviour during the lesson. Good luck. You are not alone!
Thank you so much for your thoughts and excellent advice. Your comments have made me feel much better and I'll definitely keep trying and I'll try and act more positively towards them. I'll also try this idea of them setting themselves targets although I'm not quite clear about how that works in terms of getting round 30 people giving them all stars, and in terms of them hitting/not hitting their targets. Aren't you rewarding the ones that are setting themselves easy targets? But I like the idea of saying to them: 'how many do you think you'll be able to do?' Let's see, I'll give you 2 minutes.' 'Next week, see if you can do 2 more'.
what we do with the stars and targets is:
tell them they have to be GOOD targets - if they start giving themselves silly targets of 1/10, they are ridiculing the whole thing and yyou won;t be able to give ANY stars- don't ruin it for the class, etc.
Also tell them it relies on their trust, recording stars- we give them a star sheet with a grid on it of rows of 6 (6 stars makes a merit) and they record their own stars. We give merit stickers for the row of six stars at a quiet point of the lesson (not when you are teaching full-class). Every day I have a child who is NOT a high fligher lifting his/her hand to proudly tell me he/she got 1 more than their target of 7/12, whereas it only happens rarely that another kid rats on another kid for falsifying stars. I don't have a single class where I've had to withdraw the stars/merits system through cheating.
Don;t forget to do 'strategies' before each task as well- (even just match- up starter exs- look for words you know, then cognates, then see what you're left with etc). to make the task more valid. I like to run through memorisation strategies before vocab tests and ask for feedback from the pupils which strats they used and how effective they thought they were and which they will use for their next test, and I make them record their own test targets , scores, strategies used and how good they were for them (in a table in their ex book).
If you look at the resources I've uploaded, I've put up a list of memorisation strategies with a suggested lesson plan if you'd like to have a look. :0)
Thank you!! I will. I've had a break from them for a week (that's the way our 2-week timetable works, I teach them on days 1, 2, 3, 8 and 9), and I'm not totally ready for tomorrow due to report writing, parents' evening until 7pm today, sleepless night with sick child etc. But I'll definitely go in nice and positive and we're starting a new topic(TV) which always helps. Your star idea sounds good - they do sth like that in my son's primary school and he likes it. We have merits in our school and it's nice if they can work towards a merit at their own pace. Otherwise some of them don't get merits very often.
oooh, I am ashamed at my spelling and punctuation- 'fligher', indeed!
Yes, because we give stars for participation, reaching targets and for good work, kids can easily get one and a half merits in one lesson. TV- once you've gone through the programmes, get kids up the front to act out progs for the rest to guess and write down.
It always amazes me when classes who won't stop talking, texting or throwing things when I tell them to will stand up and sit down to order when told to!
I wouldn't go down the route of buying in supplies of rubbers, pencils, sweets etc to dole out as rewards. Things may only be a few pence each but it all adds up and it undermines us as professionals to be spending our own money to try to win over pupils.
If the school wants pupil co-operation to be rewarded, the school should provided the treats.
It seems perverse to be striking over increased pension payments (and I don't agree with the proposed changes) and at the same time forking out for classroom resources and 'bribes' for the pupils. At least the pension contributions generate a future payout!
I'd probably use part of my PPA time to observe the most challenging pupils in other lessons. If they are better behaved or morre settled in Maths, English or History, what were the tactics used by those teachers?
Speak to other teachers about whether a phone call home gets results with certain pupils.
I had quite a good week with that class last week and I'm trying to work out what I did right (and what I didn't). Maybe it was just by accident. Loads of them are on report at the moment (and one away) which helps. I was definitely really positive, and that felt good, and I kept praising the good people, and even the whole class, but I do think that I slightly compromised on my high expectations in order to keep the positive mood going - and I've noticed myself doing that with one of my year 9 classes as well. I don't want to compromise on noise level for example - but then I want to keep up the pace of the lesson without complaining all the time. I hope it's not the start of a long slippery slope.
Maybe that's why I have these discipline issues - because my expectations are so high and because my lessons are not as disciplined as my ideal lessons would be. And I don't always clamp down early enough on silly behaviour because I want to remain positive. I haven't done too badly with that year 9 because there are only 18 pupils, and most of them are reasonably well behaved - only about three silly and switched off ones
I'd love to observe more, but finding the time is not easy. I'm upset with the school for not giving me a proper induction period, but it's too late now, 3 months into the new job. Now, if I observe, it takes my precious free period away, that I could be spending getting ready for my next lesson. (it's my first job after 10 years at home with my kids - hence the insecurity. And moving from an all girls' school to teaching all boys!)
I've seen the other teachers in the corridors, shouting at the boys when they're not lining up properly - it's definitely 'boys' school style', I think. I'm not sure I could learn to be that assertive. I'd love my classes to line up in silence, walk in in silence, sit in silence whilst I talk, complete written work in silence etc (and they've done that when I've had my observations, due to SMT in the room), but if they don't I kind of think 'well, why should they?' And another part of me thinks 'If they can do it for SMT, then why not for me, when I've prepared a good lesson?'
I love that idea about acting out the programmes - they'll enjoy that.
I'm well prepared for tomorrow, with a nice long wordsearch at the start.
lissadlerI've seen the other teachers in the corridors, shouting at the boys when they're not lining up properly - it's definitely 'boys' school style', I think. I'm not sure I could learn to be that assertive. I'd love my classes to line up in silence, walk in in silence, sit in silence whilst I talk, complete written work in silence etc (and they've done that when I've had my observations, due to SMT in the room), but if they don't I kind of think 'well, why should they?'
I've seen the other teachers in the corridors, shouting at the boys when they're not lining up properly - it's definitely 'boys' school style', I think. I'm not sure I could learn to be that assertive. I'd love my classes to line up in silence, walk in in silence, sit in silence whilst I talk, complete written work in silence etc (and they've done that when I've had my observations, due to SMT in the room), but if they don't I kind of think 'well, why should they?'
Because you want them to. Because they owe you that respect. I think as with everything it takes about a year of you in the new place for the kids to recognise your authority, but you need to establish with yourself what it is you want of them. If you think "it would be lovely if they copied in silence" but can't face enforcing it, then they never will, because they know eventually you'll give up. Now, I think being silent at all times is a little extreme, but certainly when copying something down from the board I enforce silence at all times. It helps them concentrate on what they are doing, and it gives a moment of silence in the lesson which can otherwise be quite busy and loud. There are also times when I give specific instructions for work to be completed in silence without helping each other out - obviously listening work but sometimes reading too. It's simply because I feel they can do with a bit of silence to process the information.
You need to choose your battles. If you're not that bothered about how your classes line up, then that's fair enough, but I wouldn't give up on something just because it's easier to. At the end of the day it's a battle of wills and your pupils need to know that you're in charge of them, not the other way round. I once spent 30 minutes when covering an RE lesson getting the class in, because they were messing about dreadfully (it was Y9 at the end of a Friday afternoon!) - I wasn't prepared to have my authority undermined by them walking all over me, and so the lesson suffered, yes, because it took so long to establish it, but in the end I had them where I wanted them to be.
It's never about a loose tie or untucked shirt!
I know we've moved away from the topic, which was how to do it in the target language. Again, it takes time. It's only after that crucial first year and once my authority was established in each of the new schools I moved into that I was able to give routine instructions (e.g. mets ta chemise dans ton pantalon) in the target language. I still wouldn't use French to tell off a pupil - I need to minimise the length of time it will take them to follow instructions so that I can return to the lesson I want to teach. Imho.
Hi lissadler. Classes need a period of training to get them into your ways of doing things. Decide what you want and try and work towards that standard. You can be assertive and will need to be, but it doesn't have to be by shouting. Shouting is often a sign of failure and weakness. It can take time to get established though. Noémie gives very good advice. Smile and be positive as much as possible.
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