Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsHere at level 10 children are engaged and responsive and the teacher is totally in charge of the class. They are relaxed, are happy to try any form of lesson activity and learning is happening for all. Here at level 5 the atmosphere is at times chaotic with several children not listening and not engaged with the work. Those children who want to learn probably can to an extent, although it is noisy. Some staff think it is okay to have this classroom climate, unaware that learning is going to be by chance. Here at level 1 the teacher is not in control of the classroom. Much of the time, children are openly challenging to teacher authority and children are excluded from learning.

Skip to 0 minutes and 53 secondsTeaching becomes about control rather than any form of learning. Teaching begins with ensuring the working atmosphere is calm and purposeful. The teacher has to be in control for this to happen.

Understanding the Haydn scale

In the previous Step you were introduced to an illustrative example of the Haydn scale in action.

To ensure learning happens, staff need to have control of both the individuals in the class, as well as the class as a whole. Having a good working atmosphere by managing pupils effectively in class, is a powerful determinant of good pupil behaviour, and consequently pupil learning.

In this video you’ll be watching the same film from the previous Step but you’ll hear from Helen, explaining each point and how it can affect the learning environment. This video demonstrates the working atmosphere of a classroom going from level 10, where learning can happen for all, to level 1 where no learning can occur. If you wanted to use a metaphor, you may see the teacher as the conductor and the pupils are the orchestra and either the music is splendid or highly discordant.

“One of the things I would’ve like to have known before starting my support role was how to get teachers to respect and work cooperatively with TAs.” – Fiona Curtis

Getting a good working atmosphere in a classroom is complicated and even the best teachers and staff, can be at times, tested. To reach this good working atmosphere you need to keep in mind three basic rules:

  • Have high quality relationships
  • Ensure effective use of language
  • Work within a framework of principles

Remember, if school staff can work together to gain good control of the class, this will influence pupils to learn.

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This video is from the free online course:

Supporting Successful Learning in Secondary School

University of Reading

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