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Reflecting on your learning with Jane & Yeasmin

Jane & Yeasmin reflect on the preceding weeks.
Yeasmin: Hello everybody, this is Yeasmin here with Jane and we’re both here to record video diary number two for the managing behaviour for learning course. So welcome on board everybody. Going to kick off straight away with a comment by Andrea, and I’ll hand over to Jane for that one.
Jane: Yeah, thank you very much for this comment Andrea. Andrea’s pointed out how important relationships are when we’re developing good behaviour, but she feels a little bit overwhelmed because it’s not just down to you is it, a relationship’s a two way thing. So that makes Andrea feel a little bit out of control, that she’s only got 50 percent of the control over the relationship, and yet it is so important. However, I think one of the things about relationships with other people is if we can control our own behaviour, it will affect the behaviour of the other person too. Human behaviour’s very reciprocal. So if you smile at somebody, they generally smile back. If you wave, they wave back.
Alternatively, if you frown at someone, you’re likely to get a frown back. It not only affects the behaviour of other people, but what you do affects how other people feel. So the other day I was walking down the street and somebody made it very unkind comment as he passed me, and I felt really unhappy for the rest of the day. Although I knew it didn’t really matter, I couldn’t help it playing on my mind. We’ve got that same control over our students. So if we smile at them, they’re going to feel happier, and if we take time to get to know them, they’re going to feel better.
So although you can’t control their behaviour, once you start to be really aware of your own behaviour, you can have a huge influence on the behaviour of others. Paula picks that up very nicely as well when she says, self awareness is so important, if we’re going to be on the right track and create the right classroom environment. Once we really aware of our own emotions and realizing that we can’t always help how we feel, we can still help how we react. So just because somebody’s made us feel unhappy, it doesn’t mean we have to behave in a very negative way. If we smile whatever, we can create that positive classroom environment. So thank you very much about Andrea and Paula.
I think you’re going to talk about the comments of Salamath now aren’t you Yeasmin?
Yeasmin: Indeed. So thank you Salamath for reminding us all about the fantastic technique counting down, which works, or usually works very well. So it’s a very simple technique. It’s counting down to allow the students a bit of time and giving them a scale of time in which to respond to an instruction. So it might be clear away the lab, it might be stop paired discussion and go back to individual discussion. It might be that they’re moving around the room legitimately, but now they need to be sat down. So the counting down technique is a good way to give the students a fixed amount of time in which to respond. So thank you Salamath for reminding us of that technique.
That particular discussion raised a lot of discussion from participants, and one participant asked a really good question. That was what happens when the technique doesn’t work? That’s a very good point. The counting down technique only really works if the teacher goes about it in a smart way. So obviously counting down gives the student the timescale, and they’re aware that they’ve got certain amount of time to react, but with it comes consequences and also a smart teacher will do the countdown in a way that reduces the risk that the consequence has to be delivered.
Worst case scenario, I’ll give you an example of a teacher that I worked with was, he did the countdown, students totally ignored him, just totally and utterly ignored him. He hits zero and the noise level was exactly at the same place as it was when he was still on 10, he looked stunned, and he simply repeated the counting all over again back from 10 and went back down again to zero, and the students were just blindly ignoring him. So that’s the worst case scenario. If you hit zero and there is a consequence, first of all the students, they need to know what the consequence is.
If you hit zero and the students are not doing quite what they’re supposed to be doing, then we use our micro script. We use our calm, assertive, neutral tone of voice and body language to deliver on the consequences, otherwise the students simply will not take us seriously. But where being smart comes into it, is that it’s also important that, while we’re counting down, we’re doing all of the diversions and the distractions and the small discreet, non-verbal signaling in order to encourage them calming down. Praising the students who are doing the right thing, using that to remind the other students to do the right thing and walking around the room.
So little discreet behaviours that help towards the success on the countdown. So thank you Salamath for that one. Thank you Gavin, for the next one. So Gavin spoke about a number of things and in his comment here, I’m just going to pick up on his very first point, and that is what’s interesting about the video is how long it takes to become good at behaviour management and really teaching in general. I think this point is so important to understand that with behaviour management, and indeed with any really big important pedagogical tool it does take time to get it right. But not just time by itself. Time in which we are dedicating ourselves to reactivity where practicing and practicing and practicing.
We’re patient, we persevere, we don’t give up too quick at the first hurdle. We don’t give up when things go wrong, rather we continue to maybe make tweaks, review our practice and really apply ourselves. It does genuinely take time to make any meaningful change in education. So thank you Gavin for that. I’m going to hand back over to Jane to start our little rundown of success stories.
Jane: Yes. In contrast to what you were saying, indeed, it does take a long time to make changes in our behaviour and to see long term changes and we’re always learning aren’t we how to be better teachers. But Rachel points out how quickly she’s seen a difference in her own classroom practice with a few tweaks in her behaviour. So although it takes a lifetime to become a teacher we can see changes quite quickly. What Rachel points out is that she’s been, she says, less emotional. So she’s not reacting in an emotional way to the behaviour she sees around her, and she is in a particularly tricky situation because she’s a supply teacher which brings its own challenges.
So that’s lovely that you’ve seen a change so quickly, Rachel. So, she’s not taking a children’s behaviour personally and she is now, instead of reacting to the behaviour she sees, she is actually with her own behaviour and her own emotions that she’s reflecting to the students, creating the emotional environment of her classroom. So I’m so glad you’re seeing the effect of that already Rachel thank you.
Maria points out that when we do things like smiling and keeping control of our behaviour we start to see a positive result, not only in our students but in ourselves.Just try it now, as you’re listening to me, just smile and don’t immediately start to feel better, so it really is a win win when you just consciously make that effort to smile as much as possible. Even if it feels a little bit false at first, it soon starts to feel natural, and it will have great impact on your students and yourself.
Then moving on to Robin who has also been smiling more, and he says that since doing the course, he feels more empowered to actually be himself rather than feeling that he’s got to be a disciplinarian and in control of everyone all the time, and he is seeing great results in his students. Already he’s even had one of his most disruptive and challenging students asking for extra work. So that it’s a lovely story, Robin. Really, really pleased to hear that, and so glad that and you can be yourself a bit more because that’s a lot less tiring than trying to be someone that you’re not, isn’t it? So thank you very much for that.
Then the last little anecdote I’ve got is from Donna, who she has the advantage of that she works with the children before school, and so that gives her a really good opportunity to build relationships, and that means that she’s in a better position when it comes to working with them later on in the day. I think what we can take away from that is, what opportunities have you got to build those extra relationships with the children? Perhaps at lunchtime, just take 10 minutes to walk around the playground or the school hall, and have those informal chats with children, and find out a little bit more about what makes them tick. It will pay dividends in the long run.
So again, thank you very much for that story Donna, and thank you again everyone for all your wonderful little anecdotes and insights which really bring the course to life. So it’s been a good one, hasn’t it so far Yaesmin? We’re enjoying it this year.
Yeasmin: Indeed. Indeed. So keep the comments coming in. Also, our recognition board and postcard Padlets are filling up nicely, so do submit your postcards and recognition boards. There’s already a really good range of examples submitted by a range of teachers looking at all different ways that you can promote that recognition in subtle ways, and really good examples of postcards home as well. So keep them coming and I’ll just wrap up with a reminder that we’ve got Tom Bennett doing a Q&A for us on the 13th of July. So he’ll be answering questions submitted on the course, and those questions must be submitted by the 11th of July.
So Tom Bennett is the UK government advisor for the DfE on behaviour, so it’d be very interesting to see what he has to say. Jane and I will be back for our last video diary of the course towards the end of July, so see you all then. Take care.
Jane: Cheerio, bye.

Now is the time to take a moment to reflect on what you’ve learnt this week.

Reflection grid

Take a look at your reflection grid for this week. This week we explored the debate over rewards and introduced techniques for positive recognition in your classroom. You’ve created a recognition board and a template for positive notes home and shared these on the course Padlets, hopefully learning from your fellow participants ideas too. Your classroom task this week was to send three positive notes and make a phone call home.
Fill in this week’s reflection grid now if you haven’t already done so.

Mentors’ video diary

Your mentors will reflect back on this week’s key themes and your comments. The second video diary was uploaded on 9 July.

Use the comments below to share your thoughts on this week.

In a video diary for this course previously, Yeasmin highlighted this video from STEM Resources with insights from Bill Rogers to help deal with ‘arrogant lateness’. We thought it would be useful to share it again here.

Q&A opportunity

Our question and answer opportunities are there for you to ask the educators to elaborate on the course content, particularly relating to your own practice. Look at your outstanding questions for this week and post to the Q&A steps:

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