Teachers not equipped to deal with discipline

Inadequate training in tackling disruptive behaviour has left many teachers struggling to cope with rowdy pupils, leading them to leave the profession early.

A survey of over 770 teachers commissioned by the Teacher Support Network Group (TSNG) revealed that almost a quarter of them felt their initial teacher training had prepared them not very well or not at all well to cope with real-life issues, the Independent reports.

One in four also said that their training did not equip them for managing or disciplining disruptive pupils, with evidence showing that four out of 10 teachers are quitting the classroom within five years of finishing their training. Earlier this year, the chief schools inspector echoed the teachers’ claims about inadequate training: “There is no such thing as a bad newly qualified teacher – just one that is badly trained,” Sir Michael Wilshaw said.

The survey also revealed that 42% of teachers had not been able to take advantage of all the additional training they believed they needed and more than half of them blamed cuts in spending.

Julian Stanley from the TSNG said: “If our teachers are not well trained and supported, is it any wonder that 40% are quitting the profession in their first five years? Our survey suggests that many existing training programmes do not adequately prepare teachers for some of the key challenges they face, like managing poor student behaviour and handling the pressure of increasing workloads.”

Did your teacher training fail to equip you to deal with disruptive behaviour? Share your views with the Eteach community!

12 thoughts on “Teachers not equipped to deal with discipline

  1. I think that NQTs training needs are being affected by the restrictions of:
    A) rarely cover – schools are not sending teachers on courses because of the cost of supply
    B) the lack of local authority training because schools which convert to Academy status are out of the LEA control. LEAs now have reduced staffing and services as a result.
    No wonder the NQTs reported in your blog feel under supported. And this is in large part thanks to Michael Gove and his 1950s style view of education!

  2. The problem is not the training. The problem is that PARENTS of many children (especially gypsies) educate their children to be literally criminals, and many parents just think that the school is that place filled of patient people where my children spend their free-of-children-time.

  3. No amount of training can prepare you for the reality of the classroom.In my opinion its experience that counts.I was a mature student trainee teacher on a Work Based Route.I haven’t completed my NQT year yet due to the amount of pressure one is under in the classroom to complete paperwork/deliver results/meet deadlines/be accountable etc etc.My course/teaching practice was very good but until you are on your own in the classroom the reality doesn’t hit you.This includes managing behaviour which in my opinion is one aspect of the job that causes teachers to leave the profession early,but not the only one.

  4. It is not always the case that teachers are not equipped to deal with pupils’ terrible disrespectful behaviour. The fact that the ‘progressive teaching’ mentality still lurks in state schools across England whereby failure does not exist, inclusion is all the rage, emotional empathy is so important, children of socially disadvantaged backgrounds have allowances made for them and of course child centred individualised learning is everywhere, thus the rot continues to pollute state education in Britain. Discipline is a dirty word and head-teachers rarely expel state school pupils therefore teachers leave such a cesspit of educational rubbish.

    If the child will not accept rules, discipline, order, codes of acceptable behaviour etc then they should be expelled leaving competent enthusiastic teachers to get on with teaching rather than cater and bend over backwards for such problem children. I am afraid that progressive teaching ideology is responsible for a lot of the problems in education especially where standards of behaviour and educational excellence are continually being lowered.

  5. Pupils who will not accept rules should be excluded but local authorities have no idea what to do with them , especially with limited funding , thus they stay in schools and continue to disrupt .

  6. I agree dealing with disruption gets easier with experience and perceived authority. However the big problems occur in the schools where school leadership fails to back teachers with sanctions that have impact. When I was young the cane was a deterrent. We don’t need to return to those times but being isolated or losing your mobile for two weeks would certainly replace the cane. And it must be enforced.

  7. Leadership support for a teacher is paramount. Senior management have and set high expectations yet when it comes down to the nitty gritty are more concerned with ‘bums on seats’ than challenging poor behaviour. How can an NQT hope to establish boundaries when those who lead them seem to have a different agenda…….from a 50+ year old third year teacher.

  8. The students have so many rights. Some of them who have no intention of education disrupt the teaching. These students know that whether they learn and qualification or not, they will get support in order to survive i.e. benefits. Other students with different abilities are put in the same class in the name of social inclusion irrespective of their abilities
    On the other hand teachers are expected to make sure that the lessons have to have an element of fun and has to innovative, do all the paperwork, marking etc have to be done in time. Teaching assessment is a subjective matter. In case of any disputes with children it is one against the whole class. In such situation the management rather then being cooperative start investigation which is long and winded.
    As far as training is concerned, the department of the school tries to put the trainees in a safe class or where part of the syllabus has to be finished. The real test begins these teachers start. I feel sorry for them.

  9. I agree with Paul Harty. It is not always about the teacher sometimes it is the fact that teachers are not supported by management. I can cite many incidents in a number of schools where shocking behaviour has been brushed under the carpet because management will not deal with the thought of dealing with parents and exclusion. Until everyone pulls together in a school to tackle all sorts of behaviour issues including low level disruption, poor behaviour will continue to blight education.

    Let’s get that right then think about blaming the teachers…. again.

  10. Totally agree with Paul Harty. In my area they already have a special school set up to help those who are expelled or refuse to go. These should be more widespread and they do more vocational qualifications to give them a chance in life which is better than making problems for those who want to get on in their ordinary lessons.

  11. I worked in different countries but it is mainly in England, I noticed that pupils have so much power over an adult. I love teaching, it is my passion but I still first fighting to get my induction due to the lack of placement and the way schools are using teachers like us to cover for long term absences without anything in exchange. Therefore, it is very difficult to be committed and to answer positively to any challenges and bad behaviour of pupil. I remember when I was in school, I was scared if my teacher just told me: “I would send you to the head office”. Today, most of my pupils do not even bother if you tell that you send them to the Head office. It should tell you something. If they are not scared of the Head Teacher, Do you think, they would be scared of a NQT, with limited experience in the classroom, I do not think so. Values need to be taught back in the school and harsh discipline need to be implemented. If a pupil is disturbing a lesson and make the teacher life unbearable, this child needs to be expelled. There should be no ambiguity in that matter. England deserves the Education it gets.
    Mickael Gove or who ever politician you are, you need to spend real quality time in school and see if you can cope with the classroom loads and discipline within the classroom. Soon, I will bring my pyjamas in school because, I can see I have no life at all since I started to teach in England but the results are still so bad compare to other schools in different countries.

  12. Strange! I worked in a pupil referral unit a few years ago as Head of Maths. Pupils arrived angry at the way they’d been treated at school, and many of them had refused to take part in learning. In my classroom, however, it was more often the case that pupils arrived in the lesson, sat down quietly, and got on with their work for the whole lesson, often without talking except to ask for help or clarification. It was my policy not to tell them they had to do anything; it was also my policy to talk to them about their anxieties and fears, and about their aspirations. I almost always found that they wanted to learn, but that they weren’t prepared to be bullied into it.

    All the talk about discipline, the cane, exclusion, sanctions etc, is really cloaking an expectation that teachers have the right to bully children into learning, instead of using inspiration and encouragement. How on earth can we expect pupils achieve their best with this sort of power-freak attitude represented as being acceptable?

    It may come as a surprise to some to learn that there have always been disruptive pupils. The higher levels of disruption in today’s classrooms are a clear indicator that generations of discipline have led to further and deeper disenchantment with the current model of schooling. And if the disruption in classrooms were not enough of an indicator, we need look no further than just outside the school to the streets, where anger has boiled over into resentful young people who don’t care about anything or anyone. This is not necessary. These are people who have never received respect, let alone lived in a respectful family setting, so never learnt how to behave respectfully. Shouting at them to “show some respect, will you!” is hardly a good example. Telling them they’ll never come to anything doesn’t engender respect in return. Dismissing them as a “waste of time” will never encourage them to learn. All they learn from threats and/or impositions of detentions, exclusions, extra days at school and so on, is that bullying is acceptable.

    I dare say the majority who read this – if anyone does – will disagree, feel angry indignation, presume I was always a “soft touch”, or want to see me kicked out of the profession. Well, I’ve retired – but I was a teacher who had higher expectations than most, and that applied to my expectations of my own behaviour as the most important thing to get right. It’s time to stop blaming and time to turn inwards to make the adjustments. The changes outside will happen of their own accord, as observed by colleagues who worked with me, and as experienced by my pupils.

    My plea is: don’t be the next teacher to get shot or stabbed to death on the day of your retirement.

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