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 using simple technology

  • Survey – type...

Work avoidance techniques

We all have many examples of behaviour in class 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,...

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...

B is for Behaviour

Behaviour for Success


If you ask pupils in school, the word ‘behaviour’ is usually associated with detentions, names on the board, being sent to the Head of Year, meetings with parents, being on report, sending to the inclusion ‘unit’ and possibly permanent exclusion.  I’m not criticising the process, I’m just giving a simple example of one way of interpreting the noun.

Moving along to a college environment, if you ask the older students, they would (probably) wish for something different.  So the 'behaviour' word should change its perception and ought to be encountered in conversations about positive steps and expectations of conduct.  That’s not to say that meetings with parents and/or reports don’t happen, but the focus should be entirely different.

Most young people already know the classroom rules, and join college with the mistaken belief that the charters and routines are Actions Which You Must...

Functional Skills, Mid Teens and Self Esteem

Are Mid Teens an unhappy phase of life?

You are no doubt chasing students to finish off their coursework and preparing yourself for the new influx of students this coming September.  That probably includes juggling your timetables of Functional Skills classes.

Does under-achievement in Maths and English reduce confidence and self esteem?  I think so.  This, in turn, can lead to students being ever more disengaged in these subjects.  Last year, in September, a student of mine said (between her teeth) "I hate you".  I knew this couldn't be true because a) I'd never met her before, and b) I'm lovely!  So I had to conclude that it was Maths that she hated and, by definition, the Maths teacher.  But it goes deeper than that.

According to research undertaken by The Children's Society, (42,000 eight to 17-year-olds were surveyed), those aged 14 and 15 were found to have the lowest sense of wellbeing.   The study also mentions the...

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