For the following few weeks, I am focussing on setting and maintaining high behavioural expectations by adhering to the techniques advocated by Doug Lemov in his 'Teach Like a Champion' manual for teachers. For the first two weeks I aimed to adjust my teaching to improve upon my use of '100%' and 'Sweat the Details' which I blogged about here. Over the last two weeks, I have continued to try to adjust these two techniques:
There's one suitable percentage of students following an instruction given in your classroom: 100%. Less and your authority is subject to interpretation, situation and motivation.
I have continued to employ the methods put forward in my last blog post. These adjustments are now starting to become embedded into my practice, so that I am actively aware that I am using them consistently and this seems to be having a positive effect on my students. I will now not continue until every hand is straight up and, as a result, all my classes are quicker to be ready to listen with their hands straight up in the air a lot quicker than previously in the year. Similarly, if one student is not following the procedure, I use positive group correction ("thank you to the whole of the left side of their room with their hands straight up") and, if not successful, move on to anonymous individual correction ("I'm just waiting on one student on the right side to put their pen down and put their hand straight up"). This has resulted in some students admonishing the student who the class is waiting on, which is negating the positive effect of the anonymous individual correction, but on the other hand, it does seem to be creating a strong team within the class.
I have adjusted my technique to include tracking the speaker. These are clear instructions to turn and watch the person who is speaking at the time. Although this is not completely embedded, I am reminding the students who are often the ones not seen tracking to try and do this consistently. When I introduce SLANT into my practice, I hope that this will be even more consistent.
Sweat the Details
To reach the high standards, you must create the perception of order
The counting down of instructions at the end of the lesson has already started saving the students time which would be better spent for learning. Every class has now had this consistently applied so that a previous ten minute job takes five at the most with exercise books, texts and paper in neat piles at the edge of each row.
However, to make this even better, I have started to make students sit down in their chairs before leaving. They must be silent and their row must be perfectly straight with glue sticks, dictionaries and thesauri in the correct place. If they are not, they do not leave. If they have to go to the next lesson, they are issued a written warning. Sweating these details has meant that my classroom is a lot cleaner at the end of the day, I don't have to tidy up after the students and they arrive at their next class in a calm manner.
After a bit of thought, I've decided to film two of my lessons at the end of each two technique cycle, so that I can look back over the lessons for prosperity. These will act as a guide, if I ever come back to look at these techniques again, to see where I was when I was actively conscious of these parts of my teaching. Although I obviously want to continue to use and adapt these techniques, I feel that am now ready to move on to the next two techniques after three weeks of focussing specifically on these two techniques.