4 Hilarious TED Talks for the Classroom

1)Joachim de Posada: Don't eat the marshmallow!

In this short talk from TED U, Joachim de Posada shares a landmark experiment on delayed gratification -and how it can predict future success. With priceless video of kids trying their hardest not to eat the marshmallow?

Watch it here

2)Tim Urban: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator

Tim Urban knows that procrastination doesn't make sense, but he's never been able to shake his habit of waiting until the last minute to get things done. In this hilarious and insightful talk, Urban takes us on a journey through YouTube binges, Wikipedia rabbit holes and bouts of staring out the window - and encourages us to think harder about .

Watch it here

3)Charlie Todd: The shared experience of absurdity

Charlie Todd causes bizarre, hilarious, and unexpected public scenes: Seventy synchronized dancers in storefront windows, "ghostbusters" running through the New York Public Library, and the annual no-pants subway ride. His group, Improv Everywhere, uses these scenes to bring people together.

Watch it here

4)Jia Jiang: What I learned from 100 days of rejection

Jia Jiang adventures boldly into a territory so many of us fear: rejection. By seeking out rejection for 100 days -from asking a stranger to borrow $100 to requesting a "burger refill" at a restaurant - Jiang desensitised himself to the pain and shame that rejection often brings and, in the process, discovered that simply asking for what you .

Watch it here

Restorative Practice – The 7 Questions That Improve Behaviour Without Punishments

Download The Restorative Practice Pack !

Get your very own 'Learning Wheel', 'Feelings and Needs Cards' plus worksheets, and lesson plans for free!

Some schools have managed to completely transform their culture through Restorative Practice.Restorative Practice is an alternative to ‘Punitive Justice’ and focuses on addressing the root cause of the behaviour, what damage the behaviour has done and how to repair the damage.When done successfully it’s used to develop mutual respect, empathy, consideration, emotional intelligence, intrinsic motivation, taking responsibility and pretty much everything else we are trying to achieve when addressing behaviour!So we decided to take a closer a look at what it is and how to start implementing it in classIn essence, Restorative Practice involves asking a pupil or a group of pupil’s questions that promote reflective thinking. The goal is for the pupils to come to realisations themselves about why they behaved in the way they did and the consequences of it. It uses the power of communication to build understanding and empathy between the different people involved, so respect and consideration drives positive behaviour, rather than just following school rules because they have to.   Rewards such as class points, praise, star of the day and merit certificates provide valuable feedback, fun, ambition and a strong sense of achievement which children thrive on, but there is a fine line between giving pupils much needed recognition and relying on rewards to coerce work or good behaviour out of children against their will. We want children to primarily acknowledge that making positive choices is rewarding in and of itself and then use external rewards and praise further reinforce that message. Similarly with punishments, they can provide necessary consequences for destructive behaviour, but if a child is only being respectful to avoid a punishment, is it really respect and what happens when the threat is removed? So how do we develop self-motivated pupils, who want to make positive decisions out of their own autonomy? Restorative practice is a great place to start.   As adults we generally make decisions based on past experiences and the consequences of our actions.  For example we have learnt that the consequence of being disrespectful is that it damages relationships. We don’t like the consequences of damaging relationships, so treating people with respect becomes one of our core values. Contrary to what many disciplinarians might think, we haven’t learnt this through discipline, we have learnt it through making mistakes,damaging relationships, not liking the results, and doing something different the next time. This is the process that guided restorative practice nurtures.How to guide a pupil in restorative practice Guided restorative practice takes place after the incident, once everyone involved has calmed  down. The teacher’s role is similar to a counsellor. Their job is empathetic listening. Empathy isn’t necessarily sympathy. Empathy is understanding someone else’s experience regardless of whether you agree or not. Often empathy is enough for a conflict to de-escalate because in many conflicts, people most significant unmet need is to be heard and understood. If two or more people are reflecting, each person will have a different experience of events and it is likely that they won’t agree. The listener’s initial job is to listen to everyone’s experience and check understanding

  The 7 Questions to behaviour reflection  

1) What happened? This is an opportunity to model the empathy and respect we want the pupil to develop. At this stage the objective is for the pupil to feel understood and heard.  

  • Listen (use facial gestures and body language, and small words eg. ‘yes’, ‘okay’, ‘I see’,‘um’… to demonstrate active listening)
  • Ask questions if necessary
  • Check if you understand properly (do you mean…?)
  • If they use this as an opportunity to justify themselves, let them. The objective at this stage is for the pupil to feel heard and understood, not corrected.
  • If what the pupil is saying isn’t an accurate reflection of the truth ask inquisitive questions and check understanding: ‘are you saying that this happened?’

For more information on how to do empathetic listening click here to download the ‘Listening Wheel’ as part of our ‘Restorative Practice Pack’ above.

  2) How were you feeling? What did you need? Simply identifying and understanding the underlying feelings and needs that cause behaviour can often be enough to resolve it. A Feelings and needs card can be really helpful for this – Click here to download our ‘Feelings and Needs card’ as part of our ‘Restorative Practice Pack’.

  • Suggest feelings and needs if necessary
  • Respond with empathetic body language and facial expressions.

 

  3) What happened after your behaviour? The objective at this stage is to identify the natural consequence of the behaviour. This stage is fundamental for children to start to assess whether this behaviour is working for them but it is often lost once punishments and getting told off take place because they are distracted by a fight or flight response or resentment.

  •  Listen
  • Ask questions
  • Check understanding

  4) Who else was involved? What do you think were their feelings and needs? The objective at this stage is to help the pupil develop empathy and emotional intelligence towards others. How you modelled empathy when listening to the pupil in stage one will directly impact how well the pupil will be able to empathise with others now.

  • Listen
  • Use the needs and feelings card
  • Ask questions
  • Make suggestions if necessary

  5) Who else was effected by this behaviour who was not directly involved in the incident? What do you think their feelings and needs are? This question is about understanding how the behaviour effects people not directly involved with the incident, for example the rest of the class, the teaching staff, the rest of the school, the head teacher and parents. Often the pupil won’t have considered how their behaviour has impacted people outside of the incident.

  6) What have you learnt and what will you do differently next time? This is an opportunity to work with the pupil to find strategies moving forwards for them to meet their needs in a way that will also be respectful of other people needs. If there doesn’t seem to be an easy solution, for example they are bored in maths and they have rejected all ideas about they could make it more fun for themselves, revert back to empathy and sympathise with the challenge. The goal with Restorative Practice is to get everyone involved one step closer to meeting their needs whilst improving communication, understanding and empathy for one another  

  •  Listen
  • Ask questions
  • Check understanding
  • Summarise

  7) How can you repair the damage? This step is often missed with ‘Punitive Justice’ where a pupil might have to do a detention but won’t necessarily repair the damage. Giving the responsibility to the pupil to correct their behaviour is arguable far more effective than a punishment for many reasons. The process of apologising to the class, replacing broke equipment, sanding down a defaced desk etc. deters them from doing it again without the need for a punishment, it gives everyone involved a sense of resolution and anyone who was negatively impacted is left feeling touched rather than resentment.   Make Restorative Practice simpler and click here to download our ‘Restorative Practice Pack  Featuring worksheets, a learning wheel, and needs and feelings cards, the pack is the ideal resource to support your classroom behaviour management.Some schools have managed to completely transform their culture through Restorative Practice.

Download The Restorative Practice Pack!

Get your very own 'Learning Wheel', 'Feelings and Needs Cards' plus worksheets, and lesson plans for free!

Top 5 teaching hacks (with free printable resources!)

1.‘Waiting for the teacher’ chart 

        

a.Click here to download your free ‘Waiting for the teacher’ chart. Print the chart (A3) ,laminate and cut it out.

b.Roll a piece of paper into a tube and tape it to the back of the arm.

c.Stick the arm to another piece of paper and mount it to the wall. 

d.Get your pupils to write their names on clothes pegs and clip them to the bottom of the chart. When they need you they can move their peg to the arm and wait for you. 

 

2.‘What if’ chart 

a.Click here to download your free ‘What if’ chart and print it. 

b.Write up all your class procedures for each problem.

c.Every time a new problem occurs. Add it to the listd.Explain all the procedures to the class or even better, get them to come up with the procedures, and then the next time a pupil interrupts you with a burning question, simply point to the chart.  

 

3.Hand Signals

   

a.Click here to download your free ‘Hand Signals’ wall chart and print it.  

b.Teach your pupils to use silent hand signals instead of interrupting teaching and learning for common requests. 

          

4.‘Brain break’ dice

a.Click here to download your free ‘Brain Break’ dice print out.

b.Print out the dice, cut it out, fold it to make a cube and stick it together with tape. 

c.When your class is getting restless or lethargic, roll a few brain breaks to snap them out of it.  

 

5.Bracelet reminders

 

a.Click here to download your free ‘bracelet reminders’ and print them (best on yellow paper). 

b.Cut them out or get your pupils to cut them out, wrap them round your pupil’s wrist and stable together.   

c.Next time your pupil’s need to remember a library book, permission slip, PE bag, homework or anything else, offer them a bracelet reminder 

 

Restorative Practice – The 7 Questions That Improve Behaviour Without Punishments

Download The Restorative Practice Pack !

Get your very own 'Learning Wheel', 'Feelings and Needs Cards' plus worksheets, and lesson plans for free!

Some schools have managed to completely transform their culture through Restorative Practice.Restorative Practice is an alternative to ‘Punitive Justice’ and focuses on addressing the root cause of the behaviour, what damage the behaviour has done and how to repair the damage.When done successfully it’s used to develop mutual respect, empathy, consideration, emotional intelligence, intrinsic motivation, taking responsibility and pretty much everything else we are trying to achieve when addressing behaviour! So we decided to take a closer a look at what it is and how to start implementing it in class.In essence, Restorative Practice involves asking a pupil or a group of pupil’s questions that promote reflective thinking. The goal is for the pupils to come to realisations themselves about why they behaved in the way they did and the consequences of it. It uses the power of communication to build understanding and empathy between the different people involved, so respect and consideration drives positive behaviour, rather than just following school rules because they have to. 

Rewards such as class points, praise, star of the day and merit certificates provide valuable feedback, fun, ambition and a strong sense of achievement which children thrive on, but there is a fine line between giving pupils much needed recognition and relying on rewards to coerce work or good behaviour out of children against their will. We want children to primarily acknowledge that making positive choices is rewarding in and of itself and then use external rewards and praise further reinforce that message. Similarly with punishments, they can provide necessary consequences for destructive behaviour, but if a child is only being respectful to avoid a punishment, is it really respect and what happens when the threat is removed? So how do we develop self-motivated pupils, who want to make positive decisions out of their own autonomy? Restorative practice is a great place to start. 

As adults we generally make decisions based on past experiences and the consequences of our actions.  For example we have learnt that the consequence of being disrespectful is that it damages relationships. We don’t like the consequences of damaging relationships, so treating people with respect becomes one of our core values. Contrary to what many disciplinarians might think, we haven’t learnt this through discipline, we have learnt it through making mistakes,damaging relationships, not liking the results, and doing something different the next time. This is the process that guided restorative practice nurtures. 

 

How to guide a pupil in restorative practice ?

Guided restorative practice takes place after the incident, once everyone involved has calmed  down. The teacher’s role is similar to a counsellor. Their job is empathetic listening. Empathy isn’t necessarily sympathy. Empathy is understanding someone else’s experience regardless of whether you agree or not. Often empathy is enough for a conflict to de-escalate because in many conflicts, people most significant unmet need is to be heard and understood. If two or more people are reflecting, each person will have a different experience of events and it is likely that they won’t agree. The listener’s initial job is to listen to everyone’s experience and check understanding 

 

The 7 Questions to behaviour reflection   

 

1) What happened?

This is an opportunity to model the empathy and respect we want the pupil to develop. At this stage the objective is for the pupil to feel understood and heard.   

  • Listen (use facial gestures and body language, and small words eg. ‘yes’, ‘okay’, ‘I see’,‘um’… to demonstrate active listening) 
  • Ask questions if necessary 
  • Check if you understand properly (do you mean…?) 
  • If they use this as an opportunity to justify themselves, let them. The objective at this stage is for the pupil to feel heard and understood, not corrected. 
  • If what the pupil is saying isn’t an accurate reflection of the truth ask inquisitive questions and check understanding: ‘are you saying that this happened?’ 

 For more information on how to do empathetic listening click here to download the ‘Listening Wheel’ as part of our ‘Restorative Practice Pack’ above. 

 

2) How were you feeling? What did you need? 

Simply identifying and understanding the underlying feelings and needs that cause behaviour can often be enough to resolve it. A Feelings and needs card can be really helpful for this – Click here to download our ‘Feelings and Needs card’ as part of our ‘Restorative Practice Pack’. 

  • Suggest feelings and needs if necessary 
  • Respond with empathetic body language and facial expressions. 

 

3) What happened after your behaviour? 

The objective at this stage is to identify the natural consequence of the behaviour. This stage is fundamental for children to start to assess whether this behaviour is working for them but it is often lost once punishments and getting told off take place because they are distracted by a fight or flight response or resentment. 

  •  Listen 
  • Ask questions 
  • Check understanding 

4) Who else was involved? What do you think were their feelings and needs? 

The objective at this stage is to help the pupil develop empathy and emotional intelligence towards others. How you modelled empathy when listening to the pupil in stage one will directly impact how well the pupil will be able to empathise with others now. 

  • Listen 
  • Use the needs and feelings card 
  • Ask questions 
  • Make suggestions if necessary 

5) Who else was effected by this behaviour who was not directly involved in the incident? 

 

What do you think their feelings and needs are? This question is about understanding how the behaviour effects people not directly involved with the incident, for example the rest of the class, the teaching staff, the rest of the school, the head teacher and parents. Often the pupil won’t have considered how their behaviour has impacted people outside of the incident. 

 

6) What have you learnt and what will you do differently next time? 

This is an opportunity to work with the pupil to find strategies moving forwards for them to meet their needs in a way that will also be respectful of other people needs. If there doesn’t seem to be an easy solution, for example they are bored in maths and they have rejected all ideas about they could make it more fun for themselves, revert back to empathy and sympathise with the challenge. The goal with Restorative Practice is to get everyone involved one step closer to meeting their needs whilst improving communication, understanding and empathy for one another   

  •  Listen 
  • Ask questions 
  • Check understanding 
  • Summarise 

 

7) How can you repair the damage? 

This step is often missed with ‘Punitive Justice’ where a pupil might have to do a detention but won’t necessarily repair the damage. Giving the responsibility to the pupil to correct their behaviour is arguable far more effective than a punishment for many reasons. The process of apologising to the class, replacing broke equipment, sanding down a defaced desk etc. deters them from doing it again without the need for a punishment, it gives everyone involved a sense of resolution and anyone who was negatively impacted is left feeling touched rather than resentment.  

Make Restorative Practice simpler and click here to download our ‘Restorative Practice Pack  Featuring worksheets, a learning wheel, and needs and feelings cards, the pack is the ideal resource to support your classroom behaviour management.Some schools have managed to completely transform their culture through Restorative Practice. 

Download The Restorative Practice Pack!

Get your very own 'Learning Wheel', 'Feelings and Needs Cards' plus worksheets, and lesson plans for free!

Top 5 amazing free teaching apps to improve pupil engagement

Whether we like it not, the next generation of children are mad about screens, if they can’t ‘swipe it’ they aren’t interested! As a result, it is undoubtedly more difficult to engage young people in class.

So what is the appropriate response from teachers?

Technology in the classroom can be a really valuable tool to engage young people. We’re not suggesting it should replace traditional teaching techniques and human interaction, but it can be used along-side them to compliment and enhance teaching and learning.

So, we’ve come up with our top 5 amazing FREE apps that improve pupil engagement…

1. See Saw

See Saw is a student portfolio App. It allows pupils to take pictures of their work and activities to build up a portfolio that parents can see, giving families an immediate and personalised window into their child’s school day, helping to answer: “What did you do at school today?”. It also allows teachers to record academic progress and quickly understand how students are progressing towards key curriculum objectives.

Learn more at: http://web.seesaw.me/

 

2. Kahoot

In the battle for pupil’s attention and engagement, teachers are competing with games consoles, tablets, TV on demand and smart phones. Kahoot is a strong competitor and allows teachers to turn any lesson into a fun and exciting game show! With Kahoot, all you have to do is enter prepared questions and answers into the GetKahoot Website and your questions instantly turn into a fun quiz. Your students can then download the kahoot app to use as a buzzer.

Find out more at www.getkahoot.com

3. Duolingo for schools

The world’s most popular language learning platform is now available for the classroom. Duolingo makes learning languages fun and addictive by gamerfying it. You can earn points for correct answers, race against the clock, and level up. It is not only extremely engaging, but it is proven to accelerate learning and be effective academically.

Find out more: https://schools.duolingo.com

 

4. Bitsboard

Bitsboard has dozens of great little games and puzzles that can be used for icebreakers, time fillers, golden time and lesson content. It also offers a platform for sharing lesson resources with other teachers or with your pupils. This can be great for finding resources and inspiration for your own lessons, but also delivering lesson content to the learners.

Find out more at: www.bitsboard.com

 

5. Trackit Lights

        Finally, for the ultimate behaviour enhancement tool.

 

Call us biased but we are obviously going to suggest our own app!

Behaviour management is one thing that teachers and pupils would like to be made less painful through the use of technology. Trackit Lights is an interactive whiteboard adaptation of the popular Traffic Lights behaviour wall chart. Compared to the wall chart it focusses more on positive behaviour and it uses behaviour icons to help pupils visualise and internalise healthy boundaries. You can log a behaviour and give class points in just 3 clicks and it appeals to visual, audio and kinaesthetic learning styles.

Download free at www.trackitlights.com

10 ways teachers can become more assertive

Not all personality types are naturally assertive. For many of us we are more comfortable avoiding confrontation through being accommodating and understanding. Our strengths are empathy and de-escalation techniques rather than asserting ourselves and our needs in the middle of conflict. Others are very comfortable with confrontation and are valuable assets when it comes to maintaining boundaries and order, but are prone to dramatic outbursts of emotion and can easily fall into persecuting rather than assertiveness. In both scenarios, behaviour management can be an area that sucks the fun out of teaching and learning and it can be extremely draining for everyone involved.

We have made a check list of the best assertive behaviour management techniques that can be used no matter what your personality type is. Faking assertiveness can be exhausting so all our strategies allow you to be yourself and in true Trackit Lights style, we want them to be effective, whilst keeping anxiety and stress levels low!

1. Meet and greet

Being assertive doesn’t need to be aggressive, dominating or threatening. It’s about being in control. A warm welcome when pupils come through the door and some rapport building conversation can exert the teacher into a social leader right from the beginning of the lesson. Relying on young people to do the talking can sometimes lead to short conversations so conversation starters like ‘hows the… (football practice, horse riding, drum lessons) going?’ followed by talking about your own experiences in that area of interest is effective. Open ended questions for example ‘what do you think about..(the weather, the football result, a new film’ followed by your own opinion, can work equally as well. Another fun rapport builder is to ask ‘if you could…(have any animal as a pet, spend £1,000,000 in a day, meet any celebrity) what would you do and why’.

2. Clarifying expectations

Clarifying expectations is more effective as a proactive approach rather than reactive, so the earlier you can reaffirm them the better.  It’s useful to do activities that set the ground rules so you can refer back to them in future lessons. Activities like having a discussion about why the pupils think each boundary is important, making posters, signing a class contract and self-assessment tasks. Then you can ask questions like “do you remember why we said sitting down quickly and quietly is important first thing the morning?”. It also drastically improves behaviour if these boundaries are reviewed before potentially disruptive tasks or when disruption is building. 

3. Start with a strong plan

Outlining the plan for the lesson from the start, instantly implies leadership. This can be talking through the tasks and activities you will be doing, writing up the learning objectives, setting goals and specific behaviour objectives. Setting realistic progress targets at specific times can be affective because as you are approaching each time, you can give warnings “we’ve got 5 minutes until our first target point. How are you getting on Tom?”. If the class has been struggling with a specific behaviour, for example talking whilst working – make that the specific behaviour objective, write it on the board and constantly remind them of it.

4. Positioning yourself in the class

Where you stand or sit in the class can be used to assert yourself without having to do much else. Instead of sitting behind your desk, stand next to a disruptive pupil or a trouble spot in the class and see how effective it is. During tasks that require silent work, try managing the class from the back of the room and see if it has an effect.

5. Eye contact

Extended eye contact isn’t always the most comfortable technique for pupils or teachers, but being aware of its importance can assert you in any interaction. If you are going to challenge a pupil or assert your authority, make sure you establish eye contact before talking. Maintain it for the duration of the conversation and after speaking until getting the desired response

 

Download The Reflective Learning Pack!

Get your very own 'Learning Wheel', 'Feelings and Needs Cards' plus worksheets, and lesson plans for free!

6. Nip it in the bud

When negative behaviour is left unchallenged and boundaries have been crossed, losing authority is always the consequence and it is hard to get it back. Therefore the quicker you can challenge behaviour the better. Strive to understand your pupils and the class dynamics. Understand the triggers and the hot spots and strategically scan the class and make eye contact with relevant pupils just before or after disruptive behaviour.

7. None verbal reminders

A recent Ofsted study showed that up to an hour of learning a day is lost due to low level behaviour. It’s the most common, frustrating and difficult behaviour to deal with and it’s often more disruptive constantly challenging it than ignoring it. None verbal reminders are a great way to manage low level behaviour without disrupting teaching too much.  Techniques include: finger to lips, frown, hands on hips showing displeasure, hands faced down meaning calm down, stand up straight and fold arms meaning sit nicely, shake your head meaning stop.    

8. Challenge pupils one at a time

When challenging behaviour, avoid addressing the whole class because they dominate you in numbers. Instead call out an individual pupils name and challenge one pupil directly. The rest of the class is more than likely to correct their behaviour as well.

9. Ask questions rather than give instructions

There is nothing more damaging to your assertiveness than giving an instruction to a child and them refusing to comply. There also isn’t many options after that. It normally leads to a punishment and in some cases can escalate quickly into conflict. An easy way to avoid this scenario is ask questions rather than give instructions for example instead of saying “Tom stop talking” say “Tom why are you still talking?”

10. Visual aids, wall charts and interactive whiteboard tools

As well as developing skills and strategies of our own, external tools like wall charts and digital behaviour management tools improve pupil engagement, they appeal to different learning styles and they offer a constant reminder even when you aren’t personally managing behaviour. They also offer a very standardised and predictable consequence for behaviour.

Teacher’s behaviour management guide

1. Clarify rules and expectation daily

Possibly the most important but easily overlooked strategy – constantly affirming boundaries is a game changer. How can we expect our pupils to behave within the boundaries, if they don’t know what the boundaries are? With short term memory, short attention span and selective hearing working against them, young people need reminding of boundaries far more than we can sometimes realise. What we perceive as disobedience, is often just absentmindedness. Communicating what the boundaries are needs to be proactive rather than reactive. Therefore the best time to do it is the moment pupils enter the classroom, before any boundaries have been crossed and the pupil-teacher relationship is undamaged. Proactive strategies include having a discussion about why the pupils think each boundary is important, making posters, signing a class contract and self-assessment tasks. It also drastically improves behaviour if these boundaries are reviewed before potentially disruptive tasks or when disruption is building. 

2. Assertive vs. persecution

Faking assertiveness can be exhausting and can often lead to persecuting which takes the fun out of teaching and learning. The best strategies need to be effective whilst allowing you to be yourself and keeping anxiety and stress levels low (including your own!)

Being assertive doesn’t need to be aggressive, dominating or threatening. It’s about being in control. Starting the lesson with a strong plan is assertive. Clarifying expectations and setting goals, learning objectives, and specific behaviour objectives. Rather than sitting behind a desk, walking around the class and standing close to pupils who are misbehaving is assertive. Other methods include establishing eye contact before speaking to a pupil and maintain it during and after speaking until getting the desired response. When challenging behaviour, avoid addressing the whole class because they dominate you in numbers. Instead call out an individual pupils name and challenge one pupil directly. The rest of the class is more than likely to correct their behaviour as well. Ask questions rather than telling pupils off for example “Tom why are you still talking?”. Using a visual aid like a wall chat or the free ‘Trackit Lights software’ can be also enforce boundaries without the need to tell pupils off or get emotional.

Download The Reflective Learning Pack!

Get your very own 'Learning Wheel', 'Feelings and Needs Cards' plus worksheets, and lesson plans for free!

3. Rapport vs respect

It’s difficult to balance assertiveness with developing good rapport. Being too dominant can be confrontational and damage relationships but being too subservient can result in lack of leadership and control of the class. One strategy for reducing confrontation and protecting relationships is to simply share your observation and follow it up with empathy. For example ‘Tom, you look frustrated with that question, is that right? Difficult questions can be frustrating’, or ‘Tom you look very fidgety, are you struggling to focus? It can be difficult to work on one thing for a long time’. You don’t need to rescue the pupil or solve their problem, often just recognition is enough. If necessary, ask them what the problem is and ask them if they have any suggestions to solve the problem.

Simply meeting and greeting pupils at the door can be so important for rapport. Make them feel important and interesting. Ask about their hobbies and interests. Ask for their opinion, academically and socially. Give pupils specific responsibilities. Use praise but only praise things they have control over. For example instead of praising a pupil for being clever or for the quality of their work, praise their effort and how much they have learnt whilst working on a task.

4. Routine

We all know young people thrive on routine. It’s not only good for the kids though. From a teacher’s perspective, it reduces the amount of coercing we need to do because once the pupils have accepted a routine and settled into it, compliance becomes unconscious – it’s just the way things are done. It’s up to each school and teacher to decide what routine to follow. Do pupils stand behind their desks when they enter or do they sit down? Do they have a task to do when they first sit down, for example reading, or do they sit quietly with their arms crossed? At the end of the class are they released one by one based on who is sitting nicely, or do they line up? It doesn’t matter so much what the routine is, as long as there is one.

5. ‘Nip it in the bud’

When proactive strategies haven’t worked, the earlier you can react the more effective intervention is. This requires first awareness, then the strategies to deal with it. Be aware of the class dynamics. Understand the triggers and the hot spots and strategically scan the class and make eye contact with relevant pupils just before or after disruptive behaviour.

Addressing low level behaviour can be one of the most demanding and draining jobs for a teacher. Low level strategies include:

  • Proximity: Standing close to hot spot or misbehaving pupils.
  • Silent and still with eye contact until desired response
  • None verbal reminders: Finger to lips, frown, hands on hips showing displeasure, hands faced down meaning calm down, stand up straight and fold arms meaning sit nicely, shake your head meaning stop.   
  • Humour: eg. confiscate a note and then pretend to read it to the whole class but make up something silly. On a hot day try and fan tired looking pupils with your book whilst walking around. Respond to silly remarks by looking to the sky and pretending to talk to God asking ‘why me?’. If a pupil is looking frustrated pretend to look wary of them and back away etc.

6. Mind set

Facing challenging behaviour has many effects on your body and mind. For example physiologically, it can put you into a fight or flight response.  Psychologically, you can either slip into a victim mind set which is vulnerable and defensive, or slip into persecutor which is resentful and critical, both can be counterproductive. Emotionally, you can feel stressed, anxious, angry, upset, frustrated, incompetent… because humans have valid needs for ease, peace, harmony, connection, acceptance, fun, community, support, affirmation, competence etc. When working with a challenging class, most of these needs can be unmet resulting in heightened emotions.

To combat this it’s important to remember that bad behaviour isn’t personnel. One useful concept is that all behaviour is an unmet need. When your pupils are behaving badly, instead of feeling attacked, try to identify what the pupil is feeling and what their need is. For example they might be feeling bored and need stimulation, they might feel frustrated and need competence in regards to a task they can’t do or they might feel insecure and need attention or recognition from their peers. Developing emotional intelligence can protect you from blaming yourself. For example it’s often not your fault if a pupil is bored. It’s not autonomous for most young people to sit at desk for 6 hours a day and learn about subjects they aren’t interested in. So instead of being offended that a pupil is bored in a lesson you spent a long time working on, considering the pupils needs can equip you with empathy instead anger. It’s not your job to fix all the problems in the class, that is impossible, but recognising the problem and offering empathy is often enough.