I read this article today Managing Behaviour Article and although it’s really aimed at people who teach younger students than I do it points to some resources which may be useful for school teachers or maybe some which can be adapted for teachers in the LLS.
I read it to my son earlier and he offered some spontaneous thought as a near 15 year old that might be useful to share and definitely gave me something to think about
“the problem with lots of teachers is they don’t even try to make the class behave, the class is in chaos from the minute it comes through the door and the teacher just aims the lesson to their favourite students or the ones who are listening and ignores everyone else it’s like they are scared to ask the class to listen, if they just told them to shut up they would. It’s really annoying when you’re one of the ones being taught and you have to do the teacher’s job for them and tell the rest of the kids to shut up, that’s what normally happens, sometimes it’s us who control the class”.
I asked him what the teachers do who do achieve good behaviour and he said “Oh they get the class in order before they even get into the classroom, they meet you at the door, tell you as a group what you will have to do as soon as you get into the room, they usually have something ready for everyone to start working on and let you in one by one. they say hello to you like they’re actually interested in you, ask you how you are, tell the noisy ones that they are going to be quiet rather than ask them to be and everyone just gets on with what they’re supposed to be doing, it’s much better. I prefer those teachers.”
If you’re about to go into training doing a PGCE or whatever, I could not recommend more talking to your students. If you have a period where you are shadowing and able to mill around the classroom getting to know the students take that opportunity to ask them what they like in terms of the way they are taught, ask them who their favourite teachers are, what their favourite lessons are and why, make notes, learn from the students, they are an excellent source of really valuable information and can give you pointers on techniques to use without even realising it. I had a whole notebook full of notes and anecdotes which the students shared with me to refer to once I started independent teaching.
I was graded 1’s in my OTLs in terms of classroom management and behaviour management and rapport with the students throughout, from my first observation to my last by both mentors and tutors/ I’m not bragging, I’m demonstrating that I owe a lot of that to asking the students the right questions, listening to what they said and using those things in my independent teaching and never resting on my laurels.
While you’re a trainee don’t be afraid to poll students throughout your trainee period and beyond. Ask them for feedback on your methods used, create an evaluation sheet, ask how they would have improved an activity, ask what might have engaged them better, don’t forget the students and what they can teach you, not every answer is in a book, some of them are sitting right in front of you. Consider using an anonymous interactive polling software to do it, they are more likely to respond honestly and you have data to put in your teaching files as evidence of self improvement, it uses little resources and you only have to compile it once. Win win.