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CME Unit 4C

Section C: Learning Outcome 3 (LO 3)

Be able to manage inappropriate behaviour in children and young people

The Elton Report, published by the Department for Education and Science (DES 1989), concluded that ‘teachers’ group management skills are probably the single most important factor in achieving good standards of classroom behaviour and those skills can be taught and learned’. (1989:69)

  • Behaviour does not happen in isolation, it is the product of internal and external factors;
  • Behaviour should be viewed in the context of individual development and social interaction;
  • Behaviour can be better understood if the teacher understands how children develop and how they learn;
  • Positive relationships enable positive behaviour

The main types of bad behaviour come from low-level disruption generally characterised through:

  • Talking out of turn;
  • Hindering other pupils;
  • Unwanted movement around the class;
  • Calculated idleness /work avoidance;
  • Arriving late;
  • Unwanted non-verbal noise;
  • Verbal abuse of others;
  • Undermining enthusiastic learners;
  • Persistent infringement of class rules;
  • General mucking about;
  • Cheeky comments to teacher

When these continue long term, they have a cumulative negative effect on the session. Poor or unacceptable behaviour can usually be categorised as one of three broad types:

  • Learning behaviour
  • Conduct behaviour
  • Emotional behaviour

Learning activity 4 – relating to Learning Outcome 3 (LO 3)

Begin by considering the following examples of poor or challenging behaviour and think about how you might react to it and how you might deal with it:

1. Attention-seekers
You may need to let children and young people who seek your attention succeed in getting your attention initially, rather than ignoring them. You could then simply find reasons to attend to others and, as you wait until they are getting on with something, offer some praise to them. By working on ensuring that attention-seekers enjoy the lesson for its own sake, you will gradually overcome their need for attention.

2. Less able musically
Some learners may find musical activities difficult but this is not an indication that they are less able intellectually. Invite them to be realistic about what they can achieve in a weekly lesson. Be firm with over-ambitious children who want to take on too much, too soon.

3. Gifted children
In all situations, your teaching materials for any form of activity should be differentiated wherever practicable. Gifted children and young people can be given solos and more difficult parts to play or sing but be sure to praise the rest of the group for acknowledging their achievements.

4. Fidgety, active children and young people
Think about how much time during the session or lesson you expect them to be still; it could be helpful to include some simple dance steps or movement.

5. Loners
It is better not to pressurise them or pretend that they are okay. Find something they are doing and comment casually on it; work as their partner and discover their strengths and think about how to put those strengths to good use.

6. Learners who are unable to operate without a friend
Check to see if, when they work with their friend, it has any adverse effect on the progress of either of them. If it doesn’t, there may be no reason to separate them and by engaging in musical games or activities, you can then arrange for them to work with a different person if it is necessary.

7. Children and young people with low self-esteem
Look for what they are good at and comment on it accurately, for example, “Laura, I know you don’t think much of your performance but you need to know that, in ‘Ode to Joy’, you played every note you were asked and only missed the correct timing in bars 13 and 14. I would like now to go over just those two bars and then try the whole piece again”. In this way, you have focussed on improving something but actually you have slipped in the words, “every note you were asked”.

8. Slow writers, slow workers
Simply, give them time and expect them to get there. Don’t necessarily make the tasks easier.

Barriers to Effective Learning

Now look at these examples of how a music session or lesson can put pressure on a learner and consider how you can overcome such a difficulty (One possible resolution) and also what action it is better not to take (Don’t…).

The first version of the table leaves the middle column blank for you to pencil in your own ideas on how to resolve the issue. In the second version, you will find a suggested answer. There is always more than one way of resolving a problem and rarely one perfect answer so don’t be afraid to write down your own ideas.

These barriers to effective learning also relate to LO 2 in Unit 5.