The topic of the week is Magnificent Classroom Cultures.
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Phil beadle joins us for some challenging discussion of important themes in education, in a taster of the kind of content they will be presenting on 12th March in London. Details are below. What culture can you create in your classroom to promote the behaviour and the learning you want? Expectations Paul starts the discussion with the concept of expectations. Everyone talks about expectations but what does a culture of high expectations really mean? It’s not really anything to do with wearing the right clothes and throwing around a few punishments – The teachers who really get it right go down to the bottom of the hill and encourage the children to climb it with them, rather than standing on top of the hill insisting that children climb up to where they are. Expectations are really practical – they are about humility from the teacher rather than fake authority. That way you can connect with people and start to change their expectations. Phil mentions that he has always approached teaching in the opposite direction to the remote and authoritarian profile some people think goes hand-in-hand with high expectations. One of the most important facets of interacting with children is to make a connection with them before you can ‘drag them into your linguistic landscape and expectations’. First of all, this involves getting down to the pupils’ physical level. This is all about a real human connection, rather than a remote, authoritarian attitude. Once this connection is made, you can lead them out of their landscape and into yours. Phil goes on to say that every child should be able to understand the highest order concepts in his subject area – those are his expectations – and if they cannot, then it’s his fault. High expectations involve the introduction of deliberate difficulties into lessons. For example, Phil would choose a book like Heart of Darkness which his classes do not like initially but it is such a rich exciting experience when combined with the expectation that the pupils will become involved and be able to cope with its themes. Teacher and class can enter this phenomenal intellectual landscape together. Phil also says that expecting not to like a group or having low expectations of their abilities menas you are likely to give off the body language and expectation signs that you don’t like them. If you go into a situation with the expectation that you are going to like them, this makes them more likable. Our expectations are a self-fulfilling prophesy. Risk taking Taking risks is essential to an exciting, stimulating curriculum and children love teachers who take risks but the growing culture of accountability of teachers has led to them being largely risk averse. This is a great challenge which Paul and Phil are going to address in their session on 12th March. Anger Even in schools which have a consistent approach to managing behaviour, there’s not always a consistent understanding of anger. Anger affects adults in a different way to children and an understanding of those differences is essential to a magnificent classroom culture.
Teacher to child – “You’re being childish.” Child to teacher – “you’re being adultish.”
For lots more detail and context, listen to the episode! Announcements: TeachMeet London Bus! Pivotal Education are sponsoring the first ever TeachMeet to take place on a London Bus. Tickets are available. New free iPad App! Be the first to download and use this amazing new app! Students love using the Pivotal Progess Sliders app on iPads to track their progress during lessons. You can also save progress and return to it in the next lesson. Brand new 5 Minute Assessment for Learning Plan released in collaboration with TeacherToolkit Events
- Magnificent Cultures of Teaching and Behaviour – deconstructing excellent practice – 12th March 2014 featuring Paul Dix and Phil Beadle and including an education debate at the end of the day
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