Could clear expectations be the missing piece of the behaviour jigsaw in your classroom? In this Essentials episode, we explore the often overlooked impact of fairness and clear expectations on student behaviour.
Classroom management expert Pamela Tseu unveils the power of teaching expectations using her proven five-step approach, so you can empower your students to succeed. Get ready to take your classroom management skills to the next level!
See Pamela Tseu's 7 Classroom Management Tools.
Click here for the full interview from episode 26.
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Show notes / transcription
Simon Currigan 0:00
If you say embedded in the tools are respect, care, fairness, clear expectations, empathy and empowerment, how do those aspects work together to improve classroom management?
Pamela Tseu 0:11
Well, if we put ourselves in the place of the students, if we were in a place where we were respected, and we were cared about, and we were treated fairly, because everybody had an opportunity to succeed, because everybody was taught and prompted to successful behaviours, the expectations were clear. So I knew exactly what I needed to do to succeed. There's empathy in the classroom, the teacher gets it. She says, You know what, you're not a bad kid, because you want to use your cell phone. You're just normal, but you just can't
Simon Currigan 0:38
welcome to the School Behaviour Secrets podcast. I'm your host, Simon Currigan. My co host is Emma Shackleton. And we're obsessed with helping teachers, school leaders, parents, and of course, students. When classroom behaviour gets in the way of success, we're going to share the tried and tested secrets to classroom management behaviour or special needs whole school strategy and more all with the aim of helping your students reach their true potential. Plus, we'll be letting you eavesdrop on our conversations with thought leaders from around the world. So you'll get to hear their latest evidence based strategies before anyone else. This is the school behaviour secrets podcast. Hi there, Simon Currigan here and welcome to another essentials episode of school behaviour secrets, where I share with you one important strategy or insight from an earlier interview episode that can have an impact for the students that you work with in your school or classroom. In this essentials episode, I'm going to share a key part of my interview with Pamela Tseu. Pamela is an expert in classroom management. And she's developed seven teaching tools to make this happen. In the podcast, she explains two of the tools in depth, the care component and the focus intervention tool. We joined the interview when Pamela explains how these tools can be implemented quickly and successfully. So we've talked about two powerful ideas. So far, we've talked about going beyond praise, using care to build relationships with kids, then we've talked about using your focus intervention tool about helping kids to take responsibility for what's happened and then monitoring their own behaviour and future because they want to be part of an important group. When you start using these approaches. And the other five tools you've developed, how quickly can a teacher take on your approach and your system,
Pamela Tseu 2:26
it really boils down to their ability to two things, first of all, their ability to learn about and learn how to use the tools and how to use them together the system and how to problem solve, it's their responsibility and how much they absorb and can apply, it really can it can take place as quickly as the teacher can access it. So for example, the reason I say that is because I go in and substitute teach or guest teach very often because I like to see how these tools work. So I go into classes, and we know how substitutes are received in classrooms, right, they get a hard time, they get a hard time. So the fact that these tools work immediately is the power of the tools and how they connect with the students, even though they don't really know who the teacher is. So the two factors, right is the teacher being able to use the tools efficiently. And then the second thing is, of course, the students. Now the tricky part is that sometimes it takes a long time for the teacher in the situation to make a change, not so much the teacher but make a change with the students. Because once I went and consulted with a teacher in April, so already there were seven months of them being used to doing what she was doing. And so she needed to adjust, and the students need to adjust. But the tools do work and they work eventually, if you stick with them.
Simon Currigan 3:42
You say embedded in the tools are respect, care, fairness, clear expectations, empathy, and empowerment. How do those aspects work together to improve classroom management?
Pamela Tseu 3:54
Well, if we put ourselves in the place of the students, if we were in a place where we were respected, and we were cared about, and we were treated fairly, because everybody had an opportunity to succeed, because everybody was taught and prompted to successful behaviours, expectations were clear. So I knew exactly what I needed to do to succeed. There's empathy in the classroom, the teacher gets it. She says, You know what, you're not a bad kid, because you want to use your cell phone, you're just normal, but you just can't use those types of conversations. Now you know exactly what to do to succeed. So for example, I'm gonna give you a little story about coal, and I'm not changing names. So coal was a sixth grader. He wasn't in my class. He was in another teacher's class. And often when we would go out to, you know, change, go to specialists or go to lunch or whatnot. He's sitting outside in the hallway. So I knew that he had trouble with behaviours. At one point, we went to a camp and I pulled him to the side, I saw what he was doing, he's just blurting out just not paying attention. So I pulled them to the side and I said, You know what call when your teachers talking or when anybody is talking to you, all you need to do is look at them and not say anything. And he said, Oh, for the first time, like his heart opened his eyes open his brain open. He said, that's all I have to do. We made it very concrete. And he was empowered to succeed from there because he knew with clarity what the steps were for success. And that's empowerment, when you give them the tools Exactly. And they know with clarity that that's how you do it. So when we have that in front of us, we want to behave, we want to find that success, because one of our foundational beliefs, we have 12 students want to succeed, they want to they don't wake up in the morning saying, I am going to mess up my teacher's life today, they go, I want to succeed today. And when we are clear, and we care about them, we change the trajectory for their day, or for their career or for their lifetime, right? Because we are giving them the tools that they need to be successful. And when we do that, of course, they're gonna want to behave.
Simon Currigan 5:48
It sounds like they work together to produce what you started talking about at the start of the interview, which is relationships.
Pamela Tseu 5:54
Yes, it starts with relationships. But I always have to warn us that it's not all about that, because we are really good at relationships. I think all teachers know that that's important. But that's not all. Because I feel like when we have relationships with the students, we take them halfway. But now they're like, Okay, what's next? I know, I want to do what you want me to do. But what is it that you want me to do? And so when we're not clear about that, then they keep making mistakes. And although they know that we still care about them, that's still not good enough for them, because we want to set them up for success. Right? So we need to be clear and teach them clearly. And I think an important tool that we didn't talk about, but when we don't have to, but a big part of the success of this is the five steps of teaching expectations with exactness. That is the key because that's one of the reasons that this is different is how we teach behaviours. And that makes all the difference in the world for them. Because for once it's concrete. And they're able to learn it with exactness. So the five steps really the first one is the rationale. Why is it important that we do this? For example, it's just take paying attention to the speaker, why is it important that we pay attention to whoever is speaking to us, whether it's the person at the store asking where you know where your cookies are? Or your parents or your teacher? Or your friend telling you a juicy story? Why is it important? So we get that conversation going get that buy in. The second one is the criteria that we as teachers have determined, for example, for me, it's quiet voice looking at the speaker and quiet body. And again, we teach all of those, it's a 15 minute lesson on average for me, just because I know how to teach it, and I've fine tuned my lesson. So those are the criteria. And then the next two steps are extremely important, because these are how the brain works in terms of collecting data, collecting information, the third step is discussing and bringing to our attention what was legally wrong, do not do this. And what is that running around the room acting like a crazy person, you know, don't do that. But the fourth step is almost, but not quite what is almost, but not quite behaviours. And what we just did was we this is perfect. This is not perfect. When we say almost, but not quite, we've just narrowed the parameters, the difference between acknowledging what is almost but not quite brings exactness to their minds, because they're like, Okay, that's not okay. Either. We acknowledge and put in our brains what's not okay, that's close, but still not okay. And then the last step is the reiterating what's correct. And then just like any other lesson, the next day, you probably have to reteach that just a little bit. And then the next day, the next day, and for little Johnny that struggles with this behaviour, I would probably proactively, we're going to start the day Johnny walks in the class and just for him, not anybody else, because everybody else has it by now, I'll say, hey, remember today, we're paying attention to the speaker, quiet voice quite body. And just looking. You think you can do that? Yeah, okay, perfect. We set them up for success. So it's that continuous teaching, differentiating for the students. And that's the difference of how we do that. Now, there's a lot more to that, in terms of the exercises of how to come up with your own criteria, how to be specific, the wording, those are extremely important, too. But that is the basic framework for that teaching.
Simon Currigan 8:59
If you're a teacher, a school leader, listening to this podcast, and you're working with a class that presents behaviour challenges, what's the first practical step you can take today that will make a real difference in the classroom. And this
Pamela Tseu 9:11
may sound very theoretical and philosophical, but I would definitely start with the care component tool, we have to build relationships because if we don't have the relationships there, then all the other tools sound harsh or fall on deaf ears, right? Sometimes even take the step back, as I've worked with teachers and jumped in in the middle of the year because of hate step back build relationships, they have to learn to trust that you actually care about them, and that you're not doing this just because you want them to do something for you. So take a step back. And that may look like you letting them do whatever they want. But you know, we know, we all know that you're getting to the behaviours that you want. I would also step back and start again, teaching expectations with exactement teach that to everybody. So your student that you're trying to address misbehaviors with don't feel like it's just pointed at them. So I would the next day say hey, we're kind of all losing it. We need to work together. Other let's talk about paying attention to the speak. Why do you think it's you know, and you teach it to everybody so that, like I said, it's not a punishment for a few students. So it's that community and that pre teaching, we just take a step back and give that respect and that care and that fairness to everybody.
Simon Currigan 10:16
So that was Pamela Tseu, discussing some of her strategies to help students not just behave better, but desire to behave better. If you want to hear the whole of that interview, and I recommend you do. Head back to episode seven. I'll put a direct link in the episode description. And if you want to know more about Pamela's seven tools to improve behaviour management in your classroom, I've also put a direct link to her website and training in there as well. Her website is also full of useful classroom management information. If you've enjoyed listening today, please remember to rate and review us. It takes just 30 seconds and when you do so, it prompts the algorithm to recommend school behaviour secrets to other listeners, and that helps us grow the podcast and reach other teachers, school leaders and parents. While you've got your podcast app open, please remember to hit subscribe so you never miss another episode. Thanks for listening and I look forward to seeing you next time on School Behaviour Secrets
(This automated transcript may not be 100% accurate.)