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Teacher’s view: Teaching in reality

Hear from our teaching experts discuss their views on the learning environment in school and what makes the learning environment work.
Research indicates that boys take up more of teacher’s time and that more boys have special educational needs. How do you make sure, every child gets an equal share of you? I would say that it’s about setting that expectation that they, you will check in on them regularly, to ensure that everyone is kind of managing their own learning. So, there’s that expectation that I’m not going to molly coddle you through that but you have to get better at managing your own learning. So, it would be the case of handing out resources, setting up a task and then milling around the room.
Keeping a constant eye on everyone, how everyone is doing, but always in the back mind going, ‘Well I know that I have three students who struggle with this, for students who are dealing with that, this person I think might not be able to do this but I’m going to see how they get on with it’, as you’re going around. So, it’s not a case of you set up a task and you run straight over to those pupils who have, that you know who have SEN and you’re going ‘oh they’ve got SEN, I need to spend more time with these pupils’ because they will need the extra help.
It’s about kind of going ‘well I’m going to check in, you doing alright? You seem like you’re doing fine, everything okay?’ And then you move on. I was going to say, I mean when I first thought about this mmm my instinct is that, you know, I don’t see any gender difference. I respond to the needs of individuals, you know in the moment, regardless of, of their gender. And again it’s like Luke said it’s just checking in with them and it doesn’t even have to be verbal. Sometimes my physical presence near them, is enough to steer them back on. Sometimes it’s a look, sometimes it’s just catch their eye and ‘Oh OK’.
Body language is so key, in that kind of that teacher gaze at one person, can
have a real impact and you don’t even need to move, you don’t need to say anything, it’s just a look. It can be encouraging. It can be rewarding sometimes, you know you look over okay, you know and it is just like a small nod and a bit of eye contact and you think ‘Oh I’m doing OK, I can carry on’, sometimes for others it’s ‘Right, stop what you’re doing’ and you know it, it so many ways isn’t it you can use eye contact.
But definitely for me if I’m in the flow of talk and somebody is talking, I won’t often stop and say ‘Excuse me you’re talking’ I would just go literally stand right by them, like physically next to them and it’s so powerful, I don’t even look at them but it’s so powerful that use of, of you know your space in your. And it doesn’t eat into everyone else’s time. It can be quite unfair if you’re constantly stopping for every student who’s distracted or off tasks you just move over, continue. It’s great. Or I’ll just, I’ll come by, somebody would be tapping a pencil or something and I’ll just I’ll sweep past them and take the pencil as I go.
You know, just won’t say a word. And yeah, and just little things. What techniques do you use to stimulate learning? I think it’s, it’s, it’s about in the long term, in the long run it’s about developing those kind of positive working relationships. Getting to know pupils because, I don’t know if you feel this, but sometimes you have a lot of pupils who aren’t necessarily, naturally enthused by your subject but they will learn it because it’s you, and you have that bond with them, and that knowledge of them as an individual. And I think that’s er, that’s the key in the long term. Then in the short term how do you start building up? Being engaging?
In the delivery of content as well? I think that can really, just kinda how you… For me enthusiasm is key, it is so key for everything I do you know and, sometimes there are topics I have to deliver and I think ‘Oh’ but always come in
‘Yes. Today we’re going to do some physics’, you know and, and just that, you know passion for your subject when it comes through, you know and the response from children is often, you know ‘I don’t really like this’ but they enjoy the fact that you are enthused by it. And enthused by them as well. Yeah. Like greeting them at the door is, it’s, if you’ve got time for it, is amazing cos then you can, you can be excited about teaching them. Yeah. Not necessarily teaching the content all the time but ‘oh it’s this class, it’s you’. Yeah. Yeah. ‘How exciting, come in’. Yeah. ‘Let’s, let’s get started. Which I think is really nice and they, they really feed off that.
Yeah they do. They, they like it when they come in and they know that today’s gonna be a good lesson and I experimented a lot actually with music at the start of the lesson. I read some research on this and some just, some buoyant, jovial music, as they were walking in and I did find actually I was like ‘Oh what are we doing today then?’ But then it’s like ‘ Right OK, I need you to sit down now’. Yeah. Cos, it is nice, a lovely start to the lesson, I think it makes it real. Yeah. Good start to like, warm, positive.
But then also, like something different in the room itself. Yeah. I always find that, especially in drama, really easy. Different lighting, tiny bit of stage smoke. It’s very Abs, absolutely, yeah Easy to create that ‘Ohhhh, what’s going on here?’ Yeah. I mean, I love it when they come in
and there’s like, a dish with a newt on the desk and they’re like ‘Oh what are we doing today? You know, they just come in and there’ll be some curiosity or Yes. Curiosity, that’s a good way of saying it. weird thing in the room, and straight away they’re like ‘What are we doing today?’ And I’ll just, I’ll always ‘You’ll find out, wait and see’ and just keep that anticipation, you know until we’re ready to go and,

In our third round table discussion, hear from our teaching experts Helen, Janine and Luke discussing their views on the learning environment in school and what works for them.

While watching the video, consider whether you would share any of the practices mentioned. Can you think of your own ideas that might help with improving the learning environment? Share your ideas with your fellow learners.

In the next Step you’ll look at priorities in the classroom and how organising them can help you be more effective in supporting learning.

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Supporting Successful Learning in Secondary School

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