Are classroom distractions key to a quiet and well behaved class?

Are classroom distractions key to a quiet and well behaved class?

How we strive to have the perfect class! I think given the question of what makes a perfect class, many teachers would argue copiously on ideals and prospects. However, having the best behaved class should be imperative to ‘All’ teachers alike. I mean, a class without boundaries and correct derestriction can only be chaos surely?… contradictory to the Montessori style of teaching that promotes ‘free-flow’, there still needs to be some ethical support and guidance on behavioural standards. Pastorally we are raising the children from our classrooms to have respect and discipline, not just within the classroom arena, but everywhere! It is part of the job description within teaching, that we have high expectations and standards in regards to behaviour, and as role models we need to be promoting good behaviour on a regular basis. Easier said than done when you have 30 restless individuals in your classroom that cannot sit still for five minutes and constantly feel the need to fidget or interrupt unnecessarily. Continuously delivering snappy, quick paced lessons may well keep the busiest of busy classes occupied, but eventually you are going to end up with burn-out!

The secret to success could be in classroom distractions…

For example: There are many a distraction in music lessons that can hold the class’ attention for vast amounts of time, such as the promise of using the instruments, watching a music DVD or other incentives. There are always little ways to keep children focused should they stray behaviorally, and throwing a distraction into the works takes children by surprise or out of their comfort zone in a proactive format. For some children, the thought of playing a musical instrument is so much more appealing than any gold star, credit, or moving up on a wall chart. It boils down to classroom give and take primarily. You entrust the children with musical instruments, but in return, they must prove themselves worthy with good pre-planning and teamwork prior to receiving them. So not only do you get to see the children’s workings and reasoning for why they will be playing their instruments like they will, you also have theoretical evidence to coincide with your practical evidence for Ofsted to admire. Above all though, and foremost, you are in control! If a child fails to reach the expectations, you can limit their usage of the instruments before even getting to that stage. This also works during instrument time whereby you can remove instruments for silly or dangerous behaviour… and naturally reward children for great work. The point is, again, that you are in control!

Adding a distraction to the classroom, whatever it maybe, must be worth a go if you are struggling with boisterous individuals.

I’ll leave you with this blog I found on TES of a teacher that uses a different kind of distraction.

And the secret to a quiet, well-behaved class is…

Jon Severs

14th June 2014 at 07:00

The class is in chaos. You decide you have no choice: actions of mass classroom disruption demand a weapon of mass bad behaviour destruction and, as a teacher of some experience, you feel you have the experience to wield this particularly mighty behaviour management tool with the care and control required. So you reach down and, hands steady, you place the guinea pig on the desk.

You may laugh at the mere thought of doing this. After all, what chance has a miniature fur ball that looks continuously surprised to be alive got against 30 rebellious pre-teens? And yet, according to recent research, that guinea pig may well be one of the most effective behaviour management tools at your disposal.

The research, investigated in this week’s edition of TES, comes from Australia and is the work of Marguerite O’Haire, from the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland. In an eight-week study of 130 students aged between 4 and 12, 64 of whom have autism, she found that having a guinea pig in the classroom resulted in students having better social skills and improved behaviour.

However, it’s not just guinea pigs that can whip a class into shape. Michal Motro, a senior lecturer at the Institute of Pet Assisted Education and Therapy at the David Yellin College of Education in Jerusalem, says there are plenty of other animals that have been shown to keep bad behaviour at bay in schools, including snakes and rats.

So what have these animals got that teachers don’t have? Well, disappointingly, the academics are not exactly sure. The key, says O’Haire, may be biophilia.

“We grew up around animals and nature, but in today’s society we spend all of our time inside buildings, surrounded by technology and we rarely interact with anything living [other than other humans], so when we are around [an animal] we’re drawn to it and it has a soothing effect on us,” she explains.

Time, then, to reintroduce those once-ubiquitous classroom pets that used to rule over primary classrooms. Once installed, teachers can just sit back and watch the behaviour problems disappear faster than a rat up a drainpipe (note: if you choose a rat as a pet, we accept no responsibility for losses of said rat up drainpipes).

Feel free to leave comments on the 1st Note Education website or forum

Andy T

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