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Positive expectations get positive results

How often do people meet our expectations of them, or is it true that we often fall short of them? So if our expectations are high and people fall just short then they’ve done well, but what if our expectations are low without knowing and people live up to this?

Now put yourself in the shoes of a student who had a bad first year at your school, has built a negative reputation for themselves and is spoken of negatively in the staffroom “you have **insert name here** in your class, good luck with that!” What expectations do we have of them, their work and their behaviours? Do we walk into that classroom to teach ‘that bottom set’, or past them in the corridor expecting them to behave in a specific way and thus only see that from them, missing out all the positives they do?

What I’m eluding to here is the Golem effect, a self-fulfilling prophecy where negative attitudes towards a student's ability, potential or behaviour inevitably leads to those outcomes coming true.

> A student…

How can we as teachers learn from the customer service world?

Focus: Developing an engaging and positive atmosphere from the start
Think of the last time you (a) bought something expensive, that you spent time deliberating over, or (b) you went of holiday.
(a) Now think of the person that sold it to you, why did you buy it from them and not someone else? Was it just because it was cheaper there, or was it because of the service that you were given? (b) Now think of the employees that stick out in your mind that you came across; would you recommend them, give them a good review or would you not go back there again?
What can we learn from a customer service setting?
We can learn a lot from the consumer and customer service world, with the way in which you are met and enticed to buy products. Would you want to buy a car from a sales person that was positive, showed an interest and made you feel like they had your best interests in mind, not just the money they were making from you? The answer is probably going to be yes, so how can we replicate this fe…

Questioning for questions sake?

Questioning is one of the most common and successful elements of assessment for learning and assessment of learning in the classroom, but how often is it planned? How often is it effective? Are there missed opportunities? How can we managed this extremely effective tool so that it doesn’t take over the lesson?
I stopped my trail of thought in the corridor earlier last week, when IrealisedI was doing my usual walking past students/staff saying ‘good morning, how are you?’ and walking past them before having a response, or even considering the response that may come back. I couldn’t tell you what any of the people I spoke to that morning said. Is this the same in some classrooms, where you just ask a question to a student and you already know that they know the answer?
This took me back to a mentoring session in my final placement as a trainee, where I was guided to hone my questioning. I’ve built on, reflected on and developed my thoughts on this session since then, but it still follows …

Boys will be...

Title: Boys will be...
Focus: Challenging misconceptions about gender differences

“Boys will be boys” is a saying that is regularly used to justify unruly behaviour in our sons, male students or boys that we see in public. This saying needs to be changed to “boys will be brilliant” or not used at all.

Please have a go at answering the true or false questions below, the answers for them and the reasons will be explained later...

1.Boys and girls mature at the same rate
2.Boys perform worse than girls at coursework and long projects
3.Boys like competition
4.Boys need a loud and commanding authority figure
5.Boys presentation will mainly be worse than girls, regardless

1.Boys and girls mature at the same rate
FALSE
Girls mature earlier than boys, meaning that boys testosterone levels rocket between 12 and 18 (just when we want them to sit still, focus silently in lessons and take important tests). Because of this, boys still want to play, have fun and build things, so will find it hard …

Modelling positive behaviours in schools during challenging times

Title: Modelling positive behaviours in school during challenging times.

“I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that makes the climate. As a teacher I possess the tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument for inspiration. I can hurt or heal, humiliate or humour. It is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, humanised or de-humanised”
Ginott 1972


Before you read this blog please note, I’m not setting this out as a ‘golden ticket’ or putting myself on a pedestal of ‘behaviour guru’, what I’m aiming to do is share my experiences, observations of excellent and experienced staff/leaders and readings around the subject of working positively to change the behaviours of students. At the end of this blog is a suggested script that staff can adapt in situations to feel confident in their approach and maintain/improve respectful relationships with students.

‘Ever…

Impacting on the focus of males in the classroom (and females too)

Title: Impacting on the focus of males in the classroom (and females too)
Focus: Teaching strategies to increase boys focus and engagement from the start to the end of the lesson
Strategies: Starters and plenaries
Further reading: Gary Wilson – Breaking Through Barriers to Boys’ Achievement: Developing a Caring Masculinity

As many of you know; boys are underperforming nationally against girls and our school is no different, but what you may not know is that boys’ genetics are contributing to them doing so. They’re made to mature later in life and their fine motor skills, I.e. writing, takes considerably longer to develop, so complaints that their hands hurt when they write may actually be true. There are many other barriers that boys face in education and the strategies that will help them overcome these barriers will also help girls to achieve too, a win-win situation.

The biggest barriers that some girls face in the classroom are the boys themselves and how they react, distract and …

Panic stations?

My first few days as a maths teacher are now over and the dust has settled. Being honest, I didn’t think they’d be as stressful and anxious as they were. 
I left my role as Head of PE to take up a whole school leadership role to engage disengaged boys and improve boys achievement across the school, leading it from my maths classroom. Facing a very full timetable this year is going to be my biggest challenge and having few resources to work with will make it all the more interesting for me. 
I’ve had a lot of the staff body approach me over the first five days saying how impressed they are that I’ve taken the step across and also that they wouldn’t have the confidence to. I honestly lost that confidence Wednesday night before the students were in on Thursday, questioning my decision and wondering if I’d made the right choice personally and professionally. However after my first three days back in the classroom I’m happy with the choice and excited by the challenge, rather than the appreh…