Low level disruption is in the news at the moment. Paul describes it as a ‘hardy perennial’ of the behaviour management world.
However, the term annoys him because the disruption is only ‘low level’ to those looking in from outside and can be easily dismissed as such. To classroom teachers, it’s just disruption and needs to be addressed.
Paul points out that the problem of low level disruption has been talked about for many years, in similar ways. There seem to be two main approaches identified. The one the outsiders want teachers to use involves ‘stamping down’ on low level disruption but this is, for Paul, is rather like stamping on a cockroach – it feels good at the time but you are really just seeding more problems for the future. Those in the classroom realise it’s so much more to do with establishing a connection with young people first.
Teachers who bore their classes need to see low level disruption as a comment on their teaching.
Variety in your lesson is the key to eliminating low level disruption – using a range of activities. 10 minutes of standing at the front should be enough to get your point across, not 50 minutes – and certainly not as a default every lesson.
There are teachers who can tackle low level disruption in an intelligent way. They are keen on engaging children, developing and using their curiosity and helping them to develop self-discipline. Paul says that he doesn’t have a problem with being strict or tough – he just has a problem with ‘being nasty with it’.
A planned approach to reducing low level disruption over time
As always, meet and greet is essential – set your standard at the door and make sure you have clear expectations of the behaviour you want. Low level disruption almost always centres around children who wander off task…
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