Written by Paul Dix
Toby is coasting. He listens hard to the objectives of the lesson, notes them down, then does as little as possible before parroting them back in the plenary. Most of the time it works. Toby is fast becoming a renowned expert in the art of procrastination, dithering and general work avoidance. His ability has never been in doubt, but Toby worked out long ago how to keep under the radar. He knows that adults generally go for the chair-throwing, curtainchewing types first; that in a class of 29 children the odds are stacked against the adults, and constantly doing the bare minimum lowers everyone’s expectations beautifully. Toby’s behaviour doesn’t unduly affect the other children, but its mark on his achievement will be indelible if you don’t act quickly.
How do you respond? Do you:
COME DOWN LIKE A TON OF BRICKS
‘Sit on him’ for a week, crank up the severity of sanctions and force him to work in long bouts of enforced silence.
SERVE A LARGE SLICE OF MENTORING
Intensively mentor Toby and give him strategies he controls to develop his personal discipline.
FOCUS ON THE WHOLE CLASS
Try some innovative practice with the whole class to try and adjust Toby’s personal routines.
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© Paul Dix