Top Ten Tips

Ten Top Tips: Tackling Disruptive Behaviour from Creative Education

“You’re Well Hot Miss!” Managing Sexual Comments in the ClassroomLow level disruptive behaviour is a challenge in schools and classrooms so education staff find that there is a plethora of views, guidelines and advice.

We share some of the top tips from our bestselling course ‘Tackling Low Level Disruptive Behaviour’ which you can implement right away to minimise disruption and enhance learning in your classroom.

1. Do Not Take it Personally
This is surprisingly difficult advice to follow. It’s hard not to take it personally when a student appears to be doing their utmost to disrupt your lesson. But in almost all situations you will be able to deal with the situation more efficiently and be more likely to prevent a reoccurrence if you take a step back and handle the situation as objectively as possible.

2. Think Quickly and Act Slowly
It is best to always be prepared. Don’t wait until you come across disruptive behaviour before you think about how you will deal with it. Instead pre-empt the situation and think through the different ways you might respond. In that way you will be completely ready if your lesson is disrupted and will be able to rapidly determine the best course of action. Your response must always be calm and measured. You need to demonstrate that you are entirely in control of the situation in order to retain the respect of all your students.

3. Have Established Rules and Procedures
A set of basic ground rules can go a long way towards maintaining a sense of order and control within your classroom. Repeat these as often as is necessary for the message to sink in – maybe have a copy on the wall as well. Consistency is key here. Always expect a certain level of behaviour from your students and praise them or thank them when they work well within the ground rules but be quick to pick up on anyone who is not behaving in a way you have deemed appropriate.

4. Condemn the Behaviour and Not the Student
As with point 1, it is far easier to deal with disruptive behaviour if you avoid allowing it to become too personal. Where possible, quickly and efficiently respond to the specific disruptive behaviour that is happening at the time.

5. Act as You Say You Will
Set out your guidelines and stick to them. This way your students will know exactly what is expected of them and the likely punishment if they do not follow your ground rules. You should also set a good example and follow your own guidelines – for example, you cannot expect your students not to speak over each other, if you speak over them.

6. Avoid Shouting and Physical Contact
Although it can be hard to keep your cool, allowing a situation to escalate into a shouting match is a sure fire way to lose the respect of your whole class and massively increase the likelihood that you will encounter further behaviour problems in the future.

7. Control Your Communication and Body Language
Undoubtedly you won’t feel it but keep your words and posture as relaxed as possible. Like shouting and physical contact, hostile words or body language are likely simply to cause the situation to escalate.

8. Act Within School and Departmental Policy
Be certain that you know what your school and department expects to be tolerated in terms of behaviour and what the standard punishments are for not following the ground rules. Complete consistency and a united front are the best ways to tackle persistent low level disruptive behaviour issues. Not responding in the same way as your colleagues will leave you open to questioning from your students and may lead them to question your authority.

9. Plan and Structure the Lesson Content/Activities
One of the key catalysts for disruptive behaviour is a bored or unmotivated class or students who don’t understand what they’re meant to be doing. When planning your lessons make sure that you’ve provided activities that will be engaging for students of all different ability levels and that your instructions are concise and clear. The success of a whole lesson can often be determined by how successful your starter activity is. Get this right and you’re halfway there!

10. Ensure Student Voice
Whilst it’s important to retain control of your class, other than in extreme circumstances you should be working in partnership with your students rather than dictating to them. In many cases the majority of students will be frustrated by having the lesson held up by a disruptive minority. Allow their voice to be heard – students will often respond quite differently to their peers than to their teachers. Of course, this requires sensitive handling but if you get it right then you and your students will end up working as a team. One that doesn’t tolerate having the lesson disrupted by poor behaviour.

Tips taken from Tackling Low Level Disruptive Behaviour

Interested in behaviour courses? See more behaviour courses here.

Does disruptive behaviour have an impact in your class?

Is it fair that a minority of unruly pupils can negatively impact on a whole class?

Do you have any top tips for tackling tricky behaviour?

Webpage reference –


The Group Profile: “One size does not fit all”

By Vernon Kearl, Health and Social Care

Why do I need to use a group profile?  What do I need to put in it?

Whilst working as a teaching and learning coach with new members of staff these are common questions that I always get asked and my response has always been that a group profile can be one the most effective teaching tools that we have to support us in the classroom.

I have always used the group profile to support me in the planning and delivery of my teaching sessions as it provides me with a summary all the learning strengths and potential areas that need to be improved on for all my students.  In short by having an understanding of these key points I am able to consider how to provide an outstanding learning experience that encourages, challenges and supports each student to achieve their full potential. In order to achieve such an outcome for every learner there is a need to gather all of the information during the induction period of the course, this will ensure that the needs of each students are considered, identified and recorded in the group profile. These should include:

  • The knowledge and skills that each student has at the start of a lesson (including prior attainment grades, GCSE qualifications and the level of numeracy and literacy skills held).
  • Career aspiration (can include work experience opportunities)
  • ALS requirements to support learning needs
  • Information relating to the way in which each student typically approaches their learning (e.g. learning and thinking styles)
  • Differentiated methods of checking learning
  • Strategies to support individual learning
  • Appropriate assessment strategies

Understanding the starting point for each student is a prerequisite for planning teaching strategies as this will ensure that each session engages every student and challenges them sufficiently to develop new skills, acquire new knowledge and extend their abilities. It is important to remember that all of our students learn and develop their knowledge and understanding through a variety of approaches and as such our session planning should reflect this diversity by offering opportunities for learning to take place for all students. The more we know about our students, the more we can plan on differentiating based on their individual needs rather than taking a one size fits all approach.

The group profile is most effective when we know the various ways that each of our students makes sense of the session content and the more we understand our students then the greater the chance we have in a successful session taking place.

Here’s an example:

Student ALS GCSE Grades Year 1 Grade Predicted Grade Learning Style Career Aspiration Tutor Notes
Student Name Yes Maths F

Eng C


Maths L1 32%

Eng L1 65%

D MM Reflector


Social Worker Still appears to be settling in to the group and seems to be reluctant to move outside of her peer grouping. Quiet individual who lacks confidence, no behavioural issues. Likes to have handout or copy of presentation. ALS – need to check visual interpretation and understanding, has not requested additional support. Uses green overlay. Strategy Positive reinforcement. Needs to be pushed to put her point of view across (TQA) and contribute to the group.  Needs to be paired with a strong peer. Question on understanding during walk round.  Provide handouts and ensure work is on the VLE. Attends FS Maths. N&L Multiplication and percentages.  Spelling and use of a dictionary.

Dear Jerrelle…

 Dear coach…

This month: Science.

A question box was placed in the staff room and staff members anonymously submitted questions they had about teaching and learning.

  1. Any advice on linking group profiles to lesson planning?

    Thank you for your question. It is important to remember that the group profile is a working document that, if necessary, can be passed on to a completely new teacher to pick up the course and plan effective lessons which cater to all learners needs straight away. A mistake a lot of people tend to make is to record the “problem” but not the strategy to deal with it. For example, “Joe Bloggs has dyslexia,” it is good practice to have identified the additional learning need but with identification must come a strategy. “Joe Bloggs has dyslexia, Strategy: provide Joe with handouts on blue paper to enable easier reading.” Here you have a strategy to enable Joe to be on a level playing field with the other learners. His dyslexia made reading on a white background harder than students without it, so you have given provision to enable him to read handouts with as much ease as the other students. On your lesson plan, if you write “blue paper for JB” and provide him with the paper in session, which is a key example of using the group profile to plan your lesson.

You should also have set an initial assessment at the beginning of the term to gauge your new learner’s abilities in your respective areas. All tutors in science set an initial assessment specific to their discipline. The results of this can then be used to plan the sessions effectively. For example, all biology students had the task of researching animal cells, biologically drawing them, labelling them, and describing the components functions. From this, weaknesses and strengths in learner’s individual abilities in this discipline can be identified and used to plan the session. If Joe Bloggs did not use the correct biological drawing (BD) method, this weakness can be picked up on and used in planning. The group profile may show “Joe Bloggs struggles with biological drawing, strategy: provide student with BD rules, monitor in session and set homework accordingly.” Then when a session is planned, you will ensure the student has the BD rules to refer to and have this on your lesson plan. You could also use this information to plan what homework to set him, again, making a note on your lesson plan.

2. “innovation in assessment strategies,” this criteria isn’t always applicable in sessions, for example, enthalpy changes and displacement reactions. Other than experiments, what could be an innovative method of assessment?

Thank you for your question. In addition to the experiments, there are various ways which you could assess learners further using innovative methods and ILT. A quiz can be a beneficial assessment, it tends to engage learners, demonstrates what they have understood and can be done in a variety of ways. Using kahoot can be engaging for the learners and then give you a full report on the individual students performance. This links ILT and innovation.

Creating a quiz based on a popular television programme can also be engaging and innovative. A good example viewed at the college is a “deal or no deal” themed quiz. It was run the same way as the TV show but learners had boxes of questions rather than money in front of them arranged by the teacher. The questions had been placed in a certain way to stretch students at their relative abilities, the use of questions were planned using the group profile. Maths and English initial assessments were also used in the planning as some questions were based on these subjects. Students were given questions to challenge their abilities in maths and English based on the group profile initial assessment/ diagnostic results and analysis. This was an example of innovation, differentiation and allowed the tutor to effectively plan that part of the session using the group profile and evidence this.

Next month: maths


# using social media in the classroom # my experience

By Sarah Frais, Hair and Beauty

Embrace our social media trends in the classroom. Why fight it ? I will admit to struggling to understand its evolution over recent years after 25 years of teaching. When I started in FE education we had pigeon holes and no mobile phones (well bricks really) and the introduction of social media was the elephant in the room. I tried to avoid it but thanks to my dearest teenage children I decided to experiment various ways of introducing it in the classroom with my coachees.

Here are some examples of how we have tried using different social network sites within the Theatrical & Media Make up courses-

  1. Sharing examples of work socially – The theatrical and media make up team have shared examples of work on various platforms such as purpleport, Flickr, Twitter, Instagram and of course Facebook. Primarily we use Facebook and the students download their practical work to our gallery. They are encouraged to evaluate each other work and different ability students have self organised them selves into smaller focus groups. It also shows the whole world their images as some industry scouts are always looking out for new talent.

2. Bringing in industry experts to complete workshops and also use social media to interact with them – recently we had a well known fashion photographer #JamieSheehy visit us and students that were not able to be present were encouraged to follow him on twitter and pose questions through the duration of the workshop. Students like following him on Twitter and finding out about his professional lifestyle and examples of his work. They identify with a real person, rather than look up to them as an untouchable icon.

3.Students keeping a blog – uploading current images with self reflective notes and examples of work experience is an ideal tool to use for students. My level 3 media make up students are advised to do this especially in preparation for going on to HE.  Try Mahara – available via the VLE

4. Create a social classroom – Admittedly I have not tried this as I need to get to grips with the above but for the ILT savvy this is an option. Create a remote chat room environment on What’s App or Instant Messenger etc.. It will only work with smaller groups with a contained discussion topic.

These are just a few examples of what my coachees and I have tried out. Feel free to comment and give me other examples below.  Happy Tweeting. :))

Take a look at #socialclassroom on Twitter for more ideas:

The Problem with Pass or Fail – Target Setting and Progress

By Karen Simmons, Early Years

Target setting has always been difficult within the curriculum that we teach.  This is mainly due to the fact that our qualifications are pass or fail within Early Years.  However, to help with this a colleague has come up with a solution that allows students to set their own short term targets to get the best outcomes from students.

This is done by using a that the students complete on a daily basis. The students file the completed templates each day in a small folder which they make their own by personalising them.  Download template here – Student Action daily no 2

The students write about what they plan to achieve that day which could be taken from the aims and objectives given at the beginning of the lesson.  These targets are listed and ideas are given.

These ideas may be what work do they intend to finish? What have they been asked to do? What are they behind with? The targets may also be more specific to the student i.e. to concentrate and remain focused, to be punctual, to take part in discussion, to ask/answer questions, participation etc.

This allows students to take responsibility for their own learning, encourages independent learning and achieve short term aims at their own pace.  It also makes students aware of incomplete work that needs to be finished as homework and allows the student to plan for this.

At the end of the day/lesson the students are given time to review the action plan. Did they achieve everything they had planned to?  If not why not? What went well, what didn’t? What needs to be completed in the next session or for homework?  The action plan is looked at and commented on by the tutor at the end of each day and again at the end of the week.

This has highlighted areas of concern and students have been found to write comments that would otherwise have been missed, particularly if the student does not feel they can communicate their concerns easily.  The action plan gives the opportunity to voice any concerns or opinions, good or bad, and allows the Tutor to act on these concerns/opinions promptly.

The Action Plan encourages students to think about what they need to achieve throughout the day, giving a sense of achievement when one of their targets is completed and helps to keep the students focused on expectations.

The Action Plan is a good way for students to organise their own time by completing and following a simple list on what they aim to achieve that day and giving ideas on how they are going to achieve the targets.

Be Creative – No Pens Day!

My Lightbulb Moment – ‘No Pens Day’

By Jo Jones, AAT and Business

The October 15th edition of The East Kent Mercury reports how Castle Community College pupils have taken part in the national ‘No Pens Day Wednesday’. The idea is that students engage in speaking and listening activities that aim to improve speech, listening, language and communication skills without writing anything down for the whole day.

Sue Douglas, Head of Castle’s newly designated Speech, Language and Communications

Needs (SLCN) provision said, ‘As educators we need to be aware of the importance of good speech, language and communication skills.’ ‘No Pens day not only raised awareness, but has also provided the opportunity for staff to try out new activities and experiment with alternative ways to deliver the curriculum. What’s more, it’s been a lot of fun for everyone.’

The event is organised by the Communication Trust who have many free resources on their website including, a 2015 activity pack and links to lesson plans, resources, activity ideas, evaluation toolkits etc. The resources are aimed at all levels from Primary School, Secondary school and Special Schools, so can definitely be adapted for use in FE.

Within the Business Department, during progression week, Sarah Ryan’s Level 1 students took part in an activity which provides a perfect example for ‘No Pens Day’. Students were presented with 20 pumpkins and tools to carve them with, their brief was to produce a variety of different pumpkin designs with the aim of selling them at a profit, with all donations going to Children in Need the students were also tasked with producing a marketing campaign.

This activity encouraged students to communicate effectively  and work as a team in the initial pumpkin production and then produce a sales pitch to market the pumpkins as they went round the college selling them, this developed their language and communication skills as well as their community spirit as approximately £40 was raised for Children in Need. Their maths skills were also developed as the cost of the pumpkins and the concept of mark-up was covered when coming up with the selling price. The students thoroughly enjoyed the experience and had a real sense of achievement when they had finished. Thanks to Alison Halsey for the photo.


Empathy not Sympathy

My Experience of Equality and Diversity at Brands Hatch

By Drew Howard, Motor Vehicle

Hello all.

I am mentoring a new Study Programme L1 Motorsport Tutor called Craig Ormerod. He has a beautiful black Labrador dog, crossed with a cocker spaniel called Poppy.

He recently organised a trip to Brands Hatch for the final round of the BTCC British touring car championship) for all of our Motorsport learners. Craig, myself, Poppy and several very excited learners from our Motorsport cohort attended this event.

On arrival at the circuit, we were informed by a gate marshal that only guide dogs for the blind are allowed entry. My immediate thought was to state that I was blind and that Poppy was guiding me around throughout the day, but I was driving the minibus, so I kept my thoughts to myself. We made special arrangements for Poppy to be cared for and we all had a great day, including Poppy.

The following week, I observed Craig start his session with our Motorsport Level 1 learners. He introduced a starter activity: “Discuss the following: Why only guide dogs for the blind are allowed at Brands Hatch and why would blind people attend Motorsport events”.

Craig gave them 10 minutes to discuss this in small groups and instructed them to make notes. This is a complex debate for anyone to participate in, it really challenges us to think differently and break some stereotypical assumptions.

He gathered them all together and asked each group to give reasons about their thoughts and beliefs. A full facilitated group discussion took place for 20 minutes. There were some very interesting responses, points of view and some great statements made by everyone which showed empathy towards blind people and made them consider how they might enjoy a sport they were passionate about if they did not have the same access they have now.

The outcome from the discussion was that although a race circuit would not be the first place you might think a blind person would want to visit, there should be the equality of opportunity available to them to go and enjoy the atmosphere, noise, smells and passion that is present at a live race track.

Great stuff! I was so impressed that this Level 1 group really thought this through and showed some passion on this subject.

Whilst on the subject of Equality and Diversity it is worth also mentioning about a short video starring Ricky Gervais. For all of you familiar with the TV series called ‘The Office’ staring Ricky Gervais, you will have seen how unequal and un diverse his character David Brent can be. This short clip was done for comic relief to assure all his fans that deep down David Brent also believes in Equality and Diversity.

Recognising the Individual – Student Timelines

Student timeline

by Lucy-Ann Alston, Hairdressing

An effective method that I and others within the hairdressing department have used to establish information about individual students is to ask them to create a timeline of their lives.

Usually this is a good activity to carry out during Induction or in preparation for a tutorial lesson.

Students are asked to begin a timeline starting with their date of birth and then to include any relevant or distinguishing dates and events that have occurred during their lives. This can be as personal or private as the student wishes. They can include personal events such as illness, or bereavement if they choose to. They can include academic, professional achievements such as passing exams, starting a job or personal ones such passing their driving tests.

We have found this a very effective, informative way of getting to know our students better, it is a way for them to tell us things they feel we need to know about them and used in conjunction with the student profile very useful.

This timeline should then be used throughout the year, it can be revisited regularly for students to update with any new achievements or events that have happened to them. It is also a good tool to help set further, aspirational targets. Where would the students like their timelines to go?  What achievements would they like to be able to add and by when?

Just be careful how you plan to use and share the information, it depends on the dynamics of the group, confidence of individual students and if they want to share this information with each other. If you ask the students to share this information with each other you might ask them to deliver a presentation, use it to create peer mentors, help set targets for each other, use it as a means of recording progress or you use it simply for individual tutorials.

We have generally found that students enjoy doing this activity, it can highlight areas of concern to you as a personal tutor immediately and give you a snap shot of your new group.

Resources and How To…

There are lots of timeline templates available on Google Docs –

Alternatively, try Popplet to create colourful flow and spider diagrams –

or Prezi to bring a timeline to life!