Friday, 27 June 2014

Honing My Behavioural Expectations

Firstly, apologies. No blog posts for weeks as I've been trying to complete as many items in my 'to-do' list which currently at 12 items, as opposed to the 46 items previously.

However, back to business. 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.

Over the last few weeks, I've been off the boil in trying to follow the two techniques that I had previously discussed: 'Threshold' and 'No Warnings'. This has been mainly to do with workload, but also to do with a change of heart in regards to these techniques, which I will outline below.


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

I had previously commented that I had decided upon a one foot in and one foot out the door policy when welcoming the students. I have not been following this policy every lesson for a number of reasons. 

  • My year 7 class has behaviour that is largely spot on. Because they were new to the school and are relatively malleable at that age, I have trained them into quality routines upon entry. I am able to welcome them into the class with one foot in and one foot out, knowing that they will be able to get started on the Do Now straight away. Praise and rewards are used for those quickest to start, but I can also correct the minor details like uniform/disruption outside of the class prior to entry.
  • I have a very small year 8 class. This means that I can them all at the door and be back at the front of the classroom before they've even started the Do Now.
  • My other year 8 class has seen a number of changes in students recently. This has had a detrimental effect on their behaviour as a whole, potentially alongside their transition into year 9. I have welcome them as a class at the door, but as soon as I've explained the instructions for the class outside the classroom, I have then moved myself to the front where I can monitor their start to the Do Now. This is still an issue with the class, but I was finding that with one foot in and one foot out was detrimental to the start of the lesson as there would be multiple issues as soon as they entered rather than the expectation to start straight away.
  • My year 9 class have a number of behaviour issues, but they seem to engage with completing the Do Now straight away best when I am at the front of the classroom. Again they are a small class, so I can welcome a number of them at the door anyway.

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.

Again, as I discussed last time, every admonishment needs to come with some sanction. I have been relatively haphazard with this recently, but have made a concerted effort this week to ensure that every time a student speaks out of turn, they are sanctioned. No excuses. The small build-up of sanctions is key, as it gives the students time to correct their behaviour and for you to explain this to them.

I found that, when I stopped being such a tyrant with this technique, my students started shouting out of turn more and turning round more than they had done previously. I have only three weeks of teaching time with these classes this academic year, but I need to ensure that this is followed to the nth degree with new classes straight away next year.

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