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Three rules are better than thirty

Three is the magic number.

Stop a student in the corridor and ask them what the rules of the school are and you get a misty eyed struggle to recall something they shouldn’t do, ‘Errr, no mobile phones?’ Stop an adult with the same question and you are likely to get a similarly confused response. Most schools have so many rules even the people who wrote them cannot remember them. STEM classrooms can be victim to the same challenge. There are rules for health and safety that overlap with rules for classroom conduct, rules for movement that affect rules for groupwork. With the best of intentions, teachers tend to ‘over do’ the rules.

What if we limited sets of rules or routines to just three steps? Made them simple to recall, so that they are referred to more frequently and consistently by all adults. Suddenly what is really important is brought into sharp focus. Students strive to demonstrate the behaviours that are most important to improving their learning. Try simplifying your classroom expectations into sets of three so that even the most misty eyed students know what is important in this room.

When framing rules, less is most definitely more.

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This article is from the free online course:

Managing Behaviour for Learning

National STEM Learning Centre