To counter act my empty musing of this evening’s blogging, here are some things that are working now that the Term one Honeymoon of Impeccable Behaviour is over and you are now in the phase two of How Far Can I Go:
Changing goalposts is confusing at the best of times, for adults and children alike. I like the same thing to happen, at the same time, on the same day. I like a cake on a Friday to reward myself for pretending not to eat cake the rest of the week. I like a coffee before I speak to another human in the morning. These tiny things are what keep my busy, chaotic life ticking over with a hunt of normality.
Imagine being 14 and the normality is taken away, ten times a week. Woah! Last week you wanted me to line up, then you gave me a warning for chewing, now I’m in a detention for talking once during silent reading and I have NO idea what is going on.Give me the same rules please- let I know what you want from me.
Keep It Impersonal
The system wants children to behave. The system is there because then teachers are left with no option but to follow the system so that children are safe and are able to learn. The system allows for consistency (see above) and we all know where we stand. Using language can help to reinforce this: ‘Billy, it is an expectation that you are on time to the lesson’ or ‘Jim-Bob, you need to complete the task to be in a position to share in the discussion, choose the question you want to answer.’ Notice the lack of I. I don’t want anything. Your learning wants stuff so it can let the magic happen and do its thing.
Box Of Tricks
Create worksheets that are exciting and make people want to keep them. Create boxes to be completed and small, fast -paced ways for students to show their learning. Encourage competition when it suits, but with your more challenging groups, cater for the time of day above all else. Just before lunch lesson? Miracles happen with a box of sausage rolls. Afternoon lesson? Get students to compete for passes to the Queue For The Door, featuring the all-important ONE MINUTE EARLY VIP. Lively lesson? Use it to your advantage and have them do the work with structured group work or flipped learning. Specify roles and tell them why you have chosen them in particular for that job- because they will be awesome at it.
Keep it Positive and Private
Negative behaviour gets you a very quiet warning and very little attention. Continuing to show me negative behaviour will, where possible, get you a quiet consequence. Loudly challenging that consequence will get you a moment outside whilst I ensure that the rest of the class is able to progress before I give you a consequence. On the positive, I will send out emails once a week. I will let you all know when you have had a fantastic lesson. I will highlight and hold up and let you all know when someone has done something great so that you know how you are capable of doing exactly the same. I will ask you for nominations for fantastic attitudes. I will above all, make it clear that effort equals progress; it is as simple as that.
Cheerleaders for You
Still unconvinced? In that case, call in the Rooting for You squad. Mum, Dad, Nana, Tutor, Key Worker- these guys cannot WAIT for you to do Great Things and they already have a bank of proof that you are able to do just that. They LOVE an email home on a Friday and are practically pleading with you to do the Great Things so that they can exchange it with the possibility of cold, hard cash and a trip to Pizza Hut.
Remember- they want you to like them. They really do.