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Sometimes it doesn’t work

If your classroom behaviour management isn’t working, and the behaviour in class is stopping learning, don’t give up.  Too often I hear people say “I tried that, it didn’t work” or “I’m never doing that again”.

But let’s face it, not every single one of your techniques will work for each of your students.  There are various tactics to be played out for different scenarios.  If you really are of the belief that there’s nothing else you can do with THAT class, you should get your coat and go.

Assuming that you’re willing to start each new class as a clean slate, forgetting previous misdemeanours, I recommend digging deep into your behaviour toolkit and looking for a separate approach.

It might be a strategy that you’ve used many years ago but now have put to one side.  Or it could be that you’ve had a recommendation but haven’t yet engaged with the idea,...

5 Tips to Get Going in The New Year

I don’t know about you, but I really love this time of year.  No, not because it’s winter, not because everyone’s away from work for a break, and actually not because there’s so much lovely food around!

The reason I love this time of year is because of the opportunity for a new start. You could be forgiven for not wanting to go back to work, to keep the routines at bay and enjoy the feeling of being rested.  And yes, I agree with all that.

But having time ‘off’ is such a brilliant excuse to reflect (for a short time) and persuade yourself to plan ahead for a new and improved you.   Don’t you find?

If you’re not sure how to get going, here are my 5 tips which might help:

1. Write an action plan for your personal life or professional practice:

- What I am going to stop doing

Q is for Questioning in Class

I’ve written before about questioning in class, and there are a variety of techniques which can be deployed in most classrooms.  But, still, questioning is underused.  Why do you think that is?

What methods can we use to extend thinking? And how can we ensure that everyone participates?

It’s easier to engage learners if you phrase your questions to prompt more than a one word response.  This also paves the way for extension questions to draw out and analyse.

Question: How can you frame a question so that a learner knows “What’s In It For Me”?

Answer:  By using phrases which include them, such as:

  • Why might you need to know ………
  • What impact will it have on you if …….
  • Which part of your life ……..

Encourage curiosity –

  • Show students the next topic or module
  • Ask students to come up with 4 questions that they will want answered

Create ‘survey’ questions or games...

Work avoidance techniques

We all have many examples of classroom behaviour which could amount to annoying, disruptive, argumentative, bloody-mindedness performances, but what does it mean?

If you've read the classroom management books, watched the videos, taken the step by step approach, I'm sure most of the ideas you've collected will work with many of your students who display low level disruption.

But there’s just one thing that you need to hang onto – along with your sanity - if you want to stay in education without burning out early.

So much of the conduct is about avoiding work.  When you look at it this way, it becomes much easier not to take it personally (even though it feels like it sometimes), and therefore deal with it more effectively.

I asked colleagues on Twitter, Facebook, via email and in real life (yes, really) to let me what stories they could tell about work avoidance techniques.

To get this straight, we are looking...

Why having the guts to try something new counts for EVERYTHING in teaching

When you listen to people who are very quick to criticise (and we know there are plenty of teacher bashers around), you could be forgiven for wanting to stick to the same ol’ routines.  But nothing stays the same, does it.....

In teaching, you get really good at ‘the thing’ that you do. You know how the curriculum works, how the classroom energy ebbs and flows, what to subtly change in your planning to get the result you need for your students.

But when you get a particularly difficult group, or have a new curriculum to follow, you don’t have the same intimate knowledge or experience. You do your research, make your most educated assumptions, deploy what’s worked for you at other times and give it your best shot.

If everyone in teaching gave up after the first time they tried something new, what a sorry state the sector would be in.  What unifies...

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