5 tips for taking on poor classroom behaviour with tech

5 tips for taking on poor classroom behaviour with tech

Unruly pupils – they’re an age-old problem, but the issue of bad behaviour in the classroom is arguably worsening. Whilst the reasons behind this span far beyond the boundaries of this blog (with complex causes that are deep rooted and diverse, spanning from social-economic debates, to the influence of social media) one fact is assured: disruptive behaviour is rising, and sapping teaching time. Here we take a brief look at the current landscape of poor classroom behaviour and dive into 5 innovative tips for overcoming it with tech.

The classroom of today – An increasingly tough challenge

90% of school staff have dealt with extreme behaviour in a 12 month window (The Guardian); with an hour of teaching time lost every day to bad behaviour (The Telegraph). These figures certainly show just what teachers are up against in today’s classroom, and yet the outgoing OFSTED Chief Inspector argues that schools are failing to ‘take ownership’ of the issues that they are grappling with, instead turning children away to alternative provision education too soon.

“You have this combination of inexperienced staff, not really qualified to deal with difficult behaviour, and with youngsters on the edge of all sorts of trouble. That could lead to serious problems in our society”.

- Sir Michael Wilshaw on ‘Alternative Provision’

Comfort or support doesn’t come from the government’s education department, either, as the education Tsar Tom Bennett was lambasted for his comments following an OFSTED report into the issue:

“From my own experience, I’ve known schools that have had very patchy behaviour but they’ve had good ratings simply because the inspectors have only seen certain lessons or certain situations, which are often quite artificial”.

- Education Tsar Tom Bennett

Whilst Justine Greening has recently taken up the post of Education Secretary, the legacy she picks up from Gove and Morgan will leave teachers lacking hope that she’ll provide much support. It seems clear that when it comes to bad behaviour, schools and teachers are very much on their own.

Tech – An Unlikely Saviour for the Disruptive Classroom

With so much stacked against the average teacher, it’s time to get inventive with classroom behaviour methods; here are five innovative ways in which tech may just help.

1. Create a tracking system for pupils to self-monitor

Technology is perhaps most effective at managing bad behaviour where students are empowered to work towards goals, gaining instant gratification for good behaviour and targets met along the way.

You’re free to define what metrics you use to reward, however targets for self-monitoring, as according to Webber et al. (1993), should be:

  • Focusing on the task or assignment (on-task).
  • Making positive statements to peers.
  • Completing work.
  • Complying with the teacher’s requests.
  • Reading pages of text during study periods.
  • Completing math computation problems.

An exceptional app that can handle this process is ClassDojo – an app that has the mission of “connecting teachers with students to build amazing classroom communities”.

2. Involve parents, caregivers and guardians

The influence that parental/caregiver/guardian involvement has on the behaviour of a child is as well documented as it is simplistic – the more involved they are, the better the behaviour and attainment of the pupil. The Breeze platform creates a seamless way to manage this – with feedback, grades, comments and three-way communication (between child, parent and teacher) accessible for all.

3. Harness tech to make your classes interactive

Interactivity and tech go hand in hand – and when combined can create engaging lessons that take pupils’ minds off causing havoc. Socrative is a great example of a tech tool that allows you to create exercises and games for smartphones, laptops or tablets. It’s straightforward to setup and manages in-class multiple choice questions – this also makes it a great tool for appreciating just how well understood the teaching has been.

4. Randomly firing off questions – 21st century style

The method of asking a pupil at random a key question is a tactic that has long since been a debated tool. Whilst some argue that it keeps children on their toes, others say that not knowing an answer or getting a question wrong introduces unnecessary pressure. For those who are firmly in favour of this classroom approach, Stick-Pick is the answer. Simply shake or tap the app screen for a pupil to be randomly chosen and look forward to advanced features that record responses – the app will even make the questions easier or more difficult as according to that particular student’s track record.

5. Make your classroom collaborative

There are many apps out there that can ensure pupils are part of your teaching – such as Twiddla – the collaborative online whiteboard; Bubbl.us – the bubble map resource that can be edited in teams and Wiggio – where your class can share meetings, to-do lists, messaging, calendars, polls, and files.

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