I usually give this session when we first get trainee teachers into school, often some weeks or months before they hit the classroom for the first time. In my experience, new teachers always underestimate the lengths they will have to go to to ensure good behaviour in their lessons.
Often, the “it won’t happen to me” attitude leaves new teachers making mistakes in their first few lessons through not setting and reinforcing their expectations clearly enough. These mistakes can then take them the whole rest of the year to rectify (it is common to hear first year Teach First trainees say that they can’t wait until the fresh start offered by the second year so that they can toughen up), and they are actually easy to avoid: the way that a class can smell the difference between a rookie and a hardened pro is, I think, simply a matter of how clear and forceful they are about expectations right at the start. Equally, it is vital that expectations are clearly thought through and practical; it is equally as damaging to set up an impossible to maintain system as it is to not bother at all.
This session goes over what I consider to be the fundamentals of solid classroom management: 1) entry into the room, and routines for settling down, collecting books and resources, 2) deciding on which elements of your lesson you will insist be “perfect” and so need constant practise (i.e., students walking into the room and taking their seats in silence), 3) having a solid routine for silence and active listening that is embedded in classroom practice and used consistently. In my opinion, with these three elements in place a lot of other potential issues are completely avoided.
Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov is the book that has had the most drastic effect on how I view and practise classroom management. It contains numerous techniques that are vital to having an ordered classroom and a behaviour system which avoids unnecessary interruptions to learning. As such much of this session is based on four techniques from this book: Entry Routine, Threshold, Do It Again and SLANT. While I am able to post my resources and PowerPoint here, I cannot post the chapters from the book. I would highly recommend getting a copy if you don’t already have one.
The session is composed of three elements:
1)Learning the techniques: Participants work in small groups to become experts on one of the four techniques. They read the chapter and condense the information into A3 poster form. Next, one person from each group remains behind to teach and explain their technique while the others visit the other posters. Finally, the roamers return back to their group and teach the teacher what they found out about each of the techniques.
2)Watching them in action: Using the DVD provided with the book (each copy of Teach Like a Champion comes with a DVD where excellent teachers are recorded in their classrooms using the each of the 59 techniques), participants watch and analyse the clips, picking out and discussing examples of the techniques.
3) Designing a routine: Participants are provided with a series of questions that will aid them in thinking carefully about their own routines. They use these questions to design the routine that they will set-up when they begin their own teaching careers. The questions are below:
The participants then present their newly designed routines to each other.
Please find the slides and resources for the session below: