Monday, 15 June 2015

Behaviour: Noisy Year 7's

The problem: I am an NQT and my first lesson with Year 7 did not go well. I found it almost impossible to achieve quiet.
All my usual tricks - countdowns, three warnings, sending pupils out - didn’t work and barely any learning took place. How can I handle this class?

What you said

“One strategy I used was to make my expectations quite clear. Get them to write down the rules in silence and constantly refer to them - stamp out any behavioural issues immediately.”

“Countdowns will not work with this age group. I know if I tried it with my Year 8s they would just laugh. In secondary school they have wised up and are unlikely to take it seriously.”

“Countdowns do work - I use them through Years 7 to 11. I explain to them that it is a fair way of getting their attention and they all understand this and see it as a way to prevent them being moaned at for talking over the teacher.”

The expert view

Creating the right environment from the start, by communicating that the classroom has set rules, will encourage your pupils to engage in a focused manner. There are six steps to achieve this:

1. Greet the pupils outside the classroom by standing at the door and welcoming them in. Tell them to sit at their desks and complete a set task which you have previously prepared. Give out raffle tickets as they step into the classroom.

2. It is highly likely that one or two pupils will test the boundaries and will not enter the classroom as you want them to. If this occurs, promptly and assertively say to the pupil, “You’re not ready to come into the classroom - please wait there until you are ready to come in.”

3. Praise the pupils who are completing the set task and reinforce with raffle tickets.

4. Return to the pupil whom you have asked to wait outside the classroom and say to them, “Are you now ready to come into the classroom?” It is highly likely that the pupil will now be ready and will enter the classroom in a calm and focused manner.

5. Regularly “catch” each pupil doing the right thing and praise openly. Pupils love praise, and when they see others receiving it good behaviour becomes contagious.

6. Immediately nip undesirable behaviour in the bud. At the end of the lesson have the raffle draw and give the winner their prize, such as stationery. Repeat this process every time the pupils enter the classroom so they know what is expected of them.
Nicola Morgan is a behaviour management consultant and author of ‘Quick, Easy and Effective Behaviour Management Ideas for the Classroom’. For more information email


  • Prepare a task the pupils can get on with as soon as they sit at their desks.
  • If any pupils refuse to enter the classroom quietly, make them wait outside until they have calmed down.
  • Reinforce good behaviour with praise and rewards.
  • Allow poor behaviour to go unchallenged.

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