Luke was feeling fidgety. He knew there were 2 more hours to get through, and it was hot in class and he was already wriggling and squirming. His leg had started jiggling and the rhythm was pleasing to his active brain, calming it a little bit.
He tried to retain some control, but he just couldn’t stop himself from twiddling with his lanyard. Flip, flip, twizzle it went. Over and over again. “Ahh, that’s better” he thought.
But his teacher saw this and told him to stop, which he did.
15 long minutes later the lanyard was out again. This time, it was snatched out of his hand and he was left wondering what his Plan B would be.
At this moment, Luke started to slip away mentally from this class.
Research has shown that people who display signs of ADHD can concentrate better when they’re allowed to fidget.
Sometimes I ponder on certain circumstances which occur in class, and many times my thoughts wander off “what would I have done?”
It’s hard to think on your feet, to teach AND juggle behaviour – but it’s what we have to do, right? After all, if you get the behaviour in check the teaching becomes easier.
So why is it that for some people it is pretty obvious how to manage low level disruption, yet for others it’s just impossible?
In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I regularly observe some adult responses that send a student onto the trajectory to orbit in nano-seconds. Nobody wants, needs or likes this.
I call this ‘parental mode’. I believe it stems from a fixed mindset about how we expect our students to behave, and then take the view that the student has directly attacked us when things don’t go well.
And yes, we pull...
25% are leaving!
Last year, whilst speaking at several conferences, I met a large number of teachers who were just beginning their careers. I loved their passion, ambition and positivity.
Those I met who have been working in the education system for a while were not quite so enamoured, and that includes Further Education.
In fact headline figures from the 2016 workforce census highlights a worrying trend that a quarter of teachers are leaving the profession within 3 years of joining it. These statistics do not include FE lecturers, but I know it would show a similar story.
This means that there is a constant demand for new staff, trained teams, specialisms and an understanding of SEN in the mainstream classroom.
But worse than that, there are many highly trained educators looking for a new career!
A number of articles written in 2016 outlined teacher despair:
“I just want to do what I love without all the red tape...
Skinner’s operant conditioning – positive and negative reinforcement – comes into play in many areas of our lives. Often without us even realising it!
Negative reinforcement is behaviour which is strengthened by stopping, removing or avoiding an undesirable or unfavourable outcome.
But to make this work in your classroom, consistency is the key. Recognise your own behaviour, do you sometimes negatively reinforce?
What’s the difference between punishment and negative reinforcement?
One mistake is when you confuse negative reinforcement with punishment. I’ve had many conversations with teachers who say they are ‘powerless’ because detentions and sanctions don’t always work. But this is punishment, NOT negative reinforcement.
Negative reinforcement has several strands. It can involve a negative situation which strengthens a behaviour, or it might be that you pre-empt a negative by putting a plan in place to reduce the impact of the negative.
I’m not often irritated by other people’s opinions, but if they create a place or learning environment where their obscured beliefs are not 'inclusive', I must admit to feeling rather irked.
An example of this is where teachers or trainers exclaim proudly that they don’t (in their words) provide “death by powerpoint”. Fair enough. But by avoiding use of visual interpretation of the spoken word, they are excluding a good few attendees at their sessions.
Now, I’ve been to many a few CPD events where I can’t read what’s on the slides (because the font is too small) and the person just reads it out to me anyway.
This is unacceptable practice and of course is the death knell for anyone, let alone when you’re working with a room full of educators and support staff.
Which, I guess, is why some trainers avoid powerpoint altogether??
But if there isn't any copy, am I expected to remember what's been...