Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Refining My Behavioural Expectations

At the moment, 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.

So far, I have focussed on '100%', 'Sweat the Details', 'What To Do', 'Do It Again' and 'Strong Voice' in my last two posts. These adjustments can be seen in my previous blog posts which can be accessed in the blog archive.

The last two techniques in this section in the book are 'Threshold' and 'No Warnings'. I will be focussing on using and adjusting these two techniques for the next couple of weeks before moving on to another section of Lemov's book.


Meeting the students at the door helps set the standard, start everyone off on the right foot, and establish a warm, friendly environment.

The entry routines I have used have adapted as my teaching has progressed at the different schools I have worked at. Some teachers are adamant that they meet and greet the students at the door; some believe instead that they need to establish their presence at the front of the room. Others sit at the their desk waiting to take the register.

Unfortunately, mine has changed throughout the year which has meant that my students aren't used to the routines. I don't think there is any hard and fast rule about this, but there does need to be routine. As my students have to line-up outside the classroom before they enter, I have usually welcomed them at the door, with one foot inside the classroom and one outside checking behaviour there. On occasions, with specific classes where I am more 'concerned' about the behaviour, I will establish the instructions for the task outside then ask them to come inside in silence where I can observe their entry more closely and they can see me checking their entry too.

After re-reading this section, I have come to realise that I need to establish the routine with all of my classes and that the 'one-foot-in-one-foot-out' policy will probably best serve my purposes. Although I will have to re-establish these routines with the classes where I was a presence at the front, this will instead allow me to establish the environment as warm, friendly and conducive to learning.

Additionally, this allows any corrections to minor issues to be conducted outside the classroom thereby setting the tone that only perfection will be allowed inside the classroom. Chewing, uniform and chatter can all be dealt with especially as I can use my body as a block to the classroom should any of the students infringe upon these rules.

No Warnings

Using small consequences rather than trusting your charm or your relationship to the students will help you losing your students and control of the situation.

I have always felt that this is one of the best tools in my behaviour management arsenal. However, after watching a recording of me back, apparently not. The amount of times where I corrected a student's behaviour without giving any consequence (besides admonishment) was staggering and worrying in equal measure.

Since then, I have made the small adjustment of never giving just a reminder of the name. Every action receives a consequence with a mark against their name. If this is combined with a scale of behaviours and actions then the students have a clear indication as to what their behaviour will cause e.g. 2 marks = verbal reminder; 3 marks=written warning; 4 marks=detention etc.

During a lesson I covered recently, I talked about this to the class who I had never taught before. They commented that although the scale meant that they received 'chances', they liked knowing exactly where they were with their behaviour and that they knew they couldn't act inappropriately at all or else there would be a consequence. This means that there should be no admonishment without a mark against their name.

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