24 May 2013

...Positive Behaviour Management

Why does 'positive' management of pupils' behaviour matter? Well, by its very definition, it suggests clarity and confidence - both necessary attributes for successful teaching. However, taking a positive approach also helps us to sustain a classroom environment in which pupils feel safe and respected, and which is conducive to learning.

To promote positive behaviour, we should adhere to some well-documented key principles. (Indeed, my own posts include discussions about establishing rules and routines, and maintaining a learning climate.) But I believe that by adopting a positive mindset, and using consistently positive language, we can have a significant  and long-term impact on a class's learning behaviour.

17 May 2013

...Classroom Climate

Bill Rogers describes different 'phases' in the development of a positive classroom climate. In this post I summarise aspects of each phase, and provide a checklist of practical considerations to help teachers build a positive, sustainable learning environment.

09 May 2013

...Reflective Practice

Reflective practice is a well-documented approach to learning, which can help professionals understand and deal with the complex and dynamic nature of their experiences. However there is a crucial distinction to be made between, let me call it 'learning from experience' and reflective practice. This difference can often be missed by those new to reflective practices or those engaging in it, as part of a mandatory learning programme, for example. But before I address that, let me take a moment to share the experts' words on the subject of reflective practice - a little nod to the theory...

06 May 2013

...Don't Smile Till Christmas

The 'establishment phase' of the school year is crucial for setting behavioural expectations for pupils. It is the time at which teachers introduce and embed the systems and routines we will be using for the rest of the year. Certainly older pupils, and students in FE and HE, expect us to discuss rules for learning and behaviour with them, in order to establish a shared, communal understanding of how the classroom environment will operate effectively. Within the context of teaching and learning, the aim is to enable groups and individuals to:
  • own/be accountable for their behaviour
  • respect others' rights, feelings and needs
  • build workable relationships (Rogers, 2011).
So, from the first day with a new class (whether at the start of the year, term, or training placement) employing consistent and positive behaviour management strategies firmly and fairly is essential to allow effective learning to take place. Indeed, it has been suggested that pupils form enduring judgments about their teacher's effectiveness in the first minutes of meeting them, highlighting the significance of our actions at this time. 

04 May 2013


Working TogetherI recall being taught how to 'collaborate' an interactive whiteboard. The trainer was actually demonstrating calibration, and was clearly unaware of her error. But although little collaboration occurred that day I learned a great deal.

I facilitate collaboration as part of my job, often setting activities which I believe depend on team-work for success. However, I found myself questioning its value during some digital media sessions I ran last week, for trainee teachers on the PGCE.