Quick-fire strategies: Asking this one question can unlock your class's potential

Quick-fire strategies: Asking this one question can unlock your class's potential

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When it comes to behaviour and learning, there's one question we should be asking ourselves (as the adult) that can change the game in our classrooms. And although it's a question we often ask ourselves at the start of our career, it's one we quickly forget as we become more experienced as teachers.

In this episode I reveal what that question is - and how the answer can have profound consequences for how successful your classroom management strategies are in school.

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Show notes / transcription

Simon Currigan  0:00  

Hi there. My name is Simon Currigan. And welcome to school behaviour secrets. While it's the school holidays in England, I'm experimenting with a new episode format that I'm calling the Quick Fire strategy episode. My aim is to give you one idea or strategy to think about and use with your new class all condensed into an easy to listen to five to 10 minute episode. And if you liked this format, and enjoyed last week's episode, or you hate it and think it's a serious misstep, why not let me know on social media, look for us on Facebook has beacon score support, and we're on Twitter, we're at Beacon support and tell me what you think. And by the way, if you're living in another part of the world that has a different school calendar, then these tips are going to be perfect for using with the students that you're already teaching. So today's Quick Fire strategy episode is this, I'm going to ask you a very simple question. Are you ready? What kind of teacher do you want to be? Now that sounds deeply philosophical? And the answer is surprisingly, not deep. And it's something you can take away and immediately incorporate into your practice to provide a better teaching environment for you and your students. And it's interesting when I talk about this topic, even with very experienced teachers who haven't found this answer for themselves, when we talk about it, I give them the not deep answer, you see them have this aha moment. And the result can be quite a powerful mindset shift that leads to real results in the classroom. Because and I want to underline this, there is one very simple answer to that question. And I'm going to share it with you in just one moment. Before I get to that. I want to tell you, when you get the answer to this question wrong, I guarantee that it will make your teaching more difficult, more stressful, you'll end up with more strained teacher pupil relationships with at least 50% of the classes you teach. Getting to the right answer to this question is something that I've learned from painful experience you see, as teachers, maybe more so during our earlier career, we to start thinking about what kind of teacher we want to be right. When I was a student teacher, I was firmly of the mind that I was going to be a fun relatable teacher who was going to fill the kids with this lifelong intrinsic love of learning that we wouldn't need archaic concepts in my classroom like roles and boundaries, all of which, by the way, are the wrong answers to what kind of teacher you should want to be. And when I discussed this question with students, teachers, you know, who are at university doing their teacher training, the kinds of answers they give me are someone who the child trusts or someone they respect but in a good way, or someone who gets the kids excited, or someone who creates a positive learning environment with boundaries, but in a caring way, or laudable or wrong, but stay with me the correct answer is coming in a moment, I

promise. So far, I've talked about teachers earlier on in their career. But as we get more experienced the question of what kind of teacher do I want to be is one we stop asking ourselves and in fact, you'll find it often changes the question changes to what kind of children do I want to teach? Or which class would I prefer to get next year, but every year, before we get a new class or meet a new year group, we should be asking ourselves the question, what kind of teacher do I want to be in a very systematic, very analytical way? And it's important because the answer will define our teaching approach, how we enforce boundaries, how we encourage positive behaviours, how we form relationships, how we present the work and structure our lessons for the entire year. Are you ready for the answer yet? Here? It is the answer to the question. What kind of teacher do I want to be is this It depends on the class that you have as a teaching professional, we don't have the luxury of having one fixed personality or teaching style and it's a lie to think that there is one true in inverted commas us we don't have one true and shifting identity. Research on your everyday experience will tell you that the kind of person you are depends on the people that you're with how we speak in front of a group of children when we're teaching is different to how we speak and act when we're with our parents or our kids, which is different to how we speak and act. When we're out with the lads or lasses in the pub on a Friday night, the people we are with bring out different elements of our character and personality. And that can be good, or it can be bad. We all have people in our lives that we know have a bad influence on the way we act and the way we speak. And I once had a great definition of love, by the way, which is, the person you fall in love with brings out the best version of you, because there are different versions of all of us in our personal and professional lives. So to bring this back to teaching, we have to adapt to the way we approach we plan and manage our class based on the needs, the experiences, and the personalities of the children that we're going to be working with, we bring up the side of our character that works best for them. Here's an example some classes will love open ended explorative learning tasks where they can work and research collaboratively and will naturally moderate their behaviour and see the value of education for its own sake. So you can kind of give them the task and let them get on for other classes. This teaching approach will be like a car crash leading to long lasting psychological pain all round, the first class responded well to that approach. But the second class well, they needed something different. Whatever was written in the lesson plans, you know, in the scheme of work, maybe they needed a lesson with more structure are more clearly defined boundaries, or we're better at working individually. All classes like the children they're made up of have their own individual personalities. And it's our job to adapt to that class personality. And when we adapt in the right way, we will see the class achieving success. When we resolutely say as the teacher, we have this one true fixed identity that is unbending and shifting and the kids have to adapt to us. That's when we're likely to see problems. And you see this with parents when you talk to my parents evening. You know, imagine you've got a parent with three kids, the youngest of which has behaviour issues, when you talk to them, they'll often say something like, Well, the way I parented worked perfectly fine for the eldest child and the middle child, they've come out perfectly well, then then they'll roll their eyes as they you know, kind of motion towards the youngest and say, but I don't know what went wrong with that one. What they're trying to communicate is, and in their minds, history backs them up on this, there's nothing wrong with their parenting that the difficult behaviour they're seeing from their youngest child is a result of something to do with their character. What they're missing is their parenting style work great for the older two kids, but the youngest child needed something different. And it's the same with the classes we teach the answer to the question, what kind of teacher do you want to be, should be? It depends on the class that I have the kids that make that class up their needs, and the overall personality of the class. And when we think like that, it makes us more able to adapt and create a successful learning environment for everyone. And that's it for today's quick fire episode. If you like today's episode, don't forget to share it with three friends who'd find it useful. Simply open up your podcast app,

hit the share button, and your app will help you send a direct link to the episode through Facebook, email, WhatsApp, or whatever messaging platform you use. And while you've got that app open, don't forget to subscribe so you get all the episodes in the future automatically downloaded onto your phone. Don't forget as well. If you work with kids with challenging behaviour and you're not sure why they're acting that way, we've got a download that can help. It's called the Sen. D handbook, and it will help you link classroom behaviours to possible causes, like autism, ADHD, and trauma. The idea here isn't for teachers to make a diagnosis. We're not qualified to do that. But if we can link behaviours to possible causes quickly, it means we can get the right professionals involved and get early classroom intervention strategies in place. It's a free download, go to our website beaconschoolsupport.co.uk. UK, click on the free resources tab near the top and you'll see it I'll also put a link in the episode description. I hope you found today's episode useful. Have a brilliant week. I look forward to seeing you next time on school behaviour secrets

(This automated transcript may not be 100% accurate.)