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Are your students getting the better of you?

 

In her book Getting the Buggers to Behave , Sue Cowley talks about many aspects leading to student misbehaviour.  She describes the ‘Cardinal Sins’, unintentionally shown towards students, by some teachers.  Possibly ALL teachers at some time or another (after all, you’re only human) .....

 

  • Winding them up
  • Being vague or uncertain
  • Being rude
  • Overreacting
  • Being confrontational
  • Being bad tempered
  • Being negative
  • Being boring

 

It’s easy to say that the golden rule is to be consistent, but there are days when your students might be getting the better of you, and you fall into the trap of behaving in a way which is incongruent with the behaviour you’d like to see.

 

This is especially true of life in FE, where students will test you while they travel the bumpy terrain from youth to adult.

 

But if you recognise any of the above ‘sins’ in your own approaches, (perhaps you’re a nagger, or...

Fidget cubes and spinners

The recent publicity around the blanket ban on fidget cubes and spinners in class at some schools has caused me to send a silent wave of sympathy to anyone who knows a learner with ADHD. Or in fact any young person who is fabulously wriggly for no particular reason in every given environment (but particularly the classroom).

The fidget cubes and spinners were designed to enable an outlet for restlessness (or boredom) which is often a side effect of ADHD. But the resultant ‘craze’ of these amongst school children, and subsequent ban, has been rather detrimental to those 6% of pupils who could really benefit from using them.

In January 2017 I wrote a blog An ADHD Agony – Fidgeting in Class which gave a short scenario of a real-life pupil who needs to fidget.

Research has shown that people who display signs of ADHD can concentrate better when they’re allowed...

3 Simple Steps to bring calm into your classroom

3 Simple Steps to Bring Calm into your Classroom

Running a classroom is like baking a cake. The process of managing behaviour successfully has many components which require careful consideration and the correct proportions. You make a lesson plan, add all of the learning ingredients and hope the results are a success. But I know the outcome isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, the ability to strive and constantly stay on top doesn’t always prevail, leaving you hungry for the calm which you deserve.

So let’s break this down and provide you with 3 simple steps to get the behaviour of your students on track again!

  1. Source the problem - Whether you’re teaching maths or business, every student needs to be involved. If you’ve never received any feedback from your learners, go out and get some! Put together a simple questionnaire highlighting some key questions that establish the classroom issues. Try...

Punishment isn’t an effective tool

I regularly work with teachers and support staff around their use of positive language in behaviour management.

It’s human nature to berate, scold, or become exasperated when behaviour stops learning or when a seemingly innocuous event ends up on the disciplinary path.

Punishment isn’t the only tool in your classroom management toolbox. Calling for assistance, threatening with disciplinary action or pursuing an argument to the bitter end sets out a message that you are not in control. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that these must be the last resort rather than the first one, because many behaviours can be managed very well using simple verbal cues.

It’s what we could term high emotional intelligence. "Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others." This usually involves: ... the ability to manage your...

From Teacher to Trainer

 

I remember in 2008 when the redundancies in my college were just about to influence my job.  More specifically, my post was being reduced to a 0.5 unless I could evidence reasons for keeping it full time.

It wasn’t the fault of the senior team, nor was it that I wasn’t doing my job well.  Like many others in the FE sector, cuts to funding entailed streamlining the service.

But it meant that I was now in a state of frenzy – as a lone parent of two children (and a mortgage) it was impossible to consider a 0.5 role.  The feeling of insecurity was enormous, and I needed to fight like an alley-cat to maintain my position.

Luckily I was able to make a strong case, we adjusted my workload (and by that I mean I took on a monumental amount of additional responsibilities) and things seemed better.  But were they?

A few...

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