The Hidden Obstacles to Student Engagement: A Deep Dive with Rob Plevin

The Hidden Obstacles to Student Engagement: A Deep Dive with Rob Plevin

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Student disengagement is a growing issue in schools. But what†s really causing pupils to switch off from their learning?

In this episode of School Behaviour secrets, we welcome back esteemed author and behaviour specialist, Rob Plevin. Together, we explore the factors (both internal and external) that could be causing students to feel disengaged with their learning and what you can do right now to support them.

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Click here to visit Rob†s website Needs Focused Teaching

Click here to buy Rob†s book Change the mood of the noisy class

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Show notes / transcription

Rob Plevin  0:00  

I think one of the main ways it shows up, this need for belonging is kids trying to get attention, attention from us, and indeed attention from their peers. And kids repeat behaviours that work for them. So if being silly or messing around makes them popular with other kids, then they'll do it and do it again. They meet their need for attention, connection and belonging that way. What we've got to do here is twofold. I think, one, we've got to build those powerful one to one relationships with them, and the second is to create a sense of community and camaraderie in the classroom.

Simon Currigan  0:31  

Hi there. My name is Simon Currigan and welcome to this week's episode of school behaviour secrets. If other education podcasts are like posh, fine dining cuisine served by a smart waiter wearing white gloves. We'd be jelly. You know, Jelly wibbly wobbly wibbly wobbly jelly on a plate jelly the power source of toddlers, the cornerstone of the trifle the foundation of a million low budget school desserts preferably served on a paper plate by a clown riding a unicycle because how else would a clown get around? Jelly sourced from the boiled skin and tendons of unsuspecting cows and pigs that's made glorious with food colouring and artificial strawberry flavouring. Yeah, we'd be jelly. And you know what? I think you'd be jelly too. I'm joined today by my co host, Emma Shackleton. Hi, Emma.

Emma Shackleton  2:02  

Hi, Simon. Are you a big jelly fan?

Simon Currigan  2:06  

No, in real life? No, I don't really like it. But I'd like to start by asking you a question. 

Emma Shackleton  2:09  

Go ahead. 

Simon Currigan  2:10  

What subject really motivated you at school and why?

Emma Shackleton  2:14  

Well at school, I really really enjoyed art, even though I wasn't particularly good at it. I think I just enjoyed the freedom and the creative elements of it. And the way that there wasn't necessarily a right way or a wrong way to do things. What about you, Simon? What was your favourite subject at school? And why?

Simon Currigan  2:33  

One of the subjects I really remember from sixth form, was studying economics. And I think a lot of it was to do with the teacher that I had. I'll give a shout out to Arnie Edwards. He was an amazing teacher. And the way he taught and engaged us all in dialogue about the subject was inspirational. So yeah, that's something I really enjoyed. 

Emma Shackleton  2:50  

Yeah, so I think the teacher makes all the difference, doesn't it? Okay, so what's the link to this week's episode? 

Simon Currigan  2:56  

Well, this week, we're sharing my conversation with Rob Plevin, who's an expert on needs focussed teaching and classroom management. And he's going to reveal the three elements that increase pupil engagement in the classroom.

jelly on plate.

Emma Shackleton  3:37  

Sounds good. But before we get to that, I've got a quick favour to ask of our listeners. If you're listening to our podcast, please could you leave us a rating and review doing that signals to the podcast algorithm to share school behaviour secrets with other listeners. And that in turn helps our show to grow. I know it might not sound like it's but Simon and I work hard to produce this podcast and keep it's absolutely free to listen. And one of our goals is to get school behaviour secrets otherwise known as jelly on a plate. Number one in the education podcast charts. So if you can like and share that will be great. Thank you. And now here's Simon's conversation with Rob Plevin

Simon Currigan  4:22  

We are very excited to welcome Rob Plevin to the show. Rob is an expert on classroom management and managing student behaviour. He's authored many highly respected books on classroom management including Take control of the noisy class which has over nine hundred 5 star reviews on Amazon alone. And Classroom management success in seven days or less. He is a highly sought after speaker and thought leader in SEMH. And his needs focussed teaching approach is popular in schools across the UK and the world. Rob, welcome to the show.

Rob Plevin  4:56  

Hey, Simon, thank you very much for having me.

Simon Currigan  4:58  

It's great to have you back actually

Rob Plevin  5:00  

It's lovely to be here. I'm actually obviously in the same room as last time, but it's a different show. So it's all good.

Simon Currigan  5:06  

I want to start by asking you, why do you think the problem of student disengagement is on the rise?

Rob Plevin  5:12  

I think there are a couple of factors at play at least two factors at play. And I'm going to categorise these is external and internal. So if we looked at the external factors, we've got things like, perhaps, you know, these are just suggestions and lack of relevance. So, you know, kids probably see that the world is moving incredibly fast. And that much of what they're learning may well have very little relevance on their lives now, and certainly not in the future, you know, the way jobs are changing, it's highly likely that a lot of the stuff they're learning is not going to be relevant at all when they leave school. So I think when they don't see a relevance of what they're learning to their current life, and certainly the future life, then why would they buy in? you know? I think we're definitely going to see some disengagement because of that. 

And the second external factor, I think, which probably pops up when everybody thinks about this is undoubtedly technology. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not I'm not against technology, it's totally changed the way we teach and learn. But it's also contributed to a generation of students. And indeed, people who are constantly distracted by screens, tablets, laptops, smartphones, pinging, ticking, ringing, buzzing, all fighting, trying to get our attention. So it's no wonder that most of us struggle to stay focused, and the kids struggle to stay focused. And what springs to mind for me is that book by a gentleman called Nicholas Carr, which you may or may not have heard of, called The Shallows what the internet is doing to our brains. And I believe this book started with an article that he wrote, titled, is Google making us stupid? don't quote me on that. In this book, he talks about a superficial level of engagement. You know, it's so common now to be reading a book or doing something. And then our minds start behaving like they do online, swapping between activities and pages, just as we swapped between websites, clicking on links, reacting to a video that pops up that kind of thing. It's like we can't get deeply absorbed in a task anymore. And so for us as adults, that's very apparent. But for a child growing up with a lot of screen use, I can imagine the problem is even worse for them, you know, watching screens for a lot of time. So it's like our brains have been conditioned to crave constant stimulation. And anything that requires more than a few seconds of our attention. Just feels like a chore. Yeah, I think those external factors are definitely part of it. But I'd like to also talk about what I feel are the internal factors around disengagement. And I feel these are much more important. Those two makes sense. First of all, Simon? 

Simon Currigan  7:49  

Yeah, absolutely. And I think you're so right about even how traditional media has evolved. Now, you look at films and television programmes, it's all very quick cuts. It's very bang bang bang!, even books nowadays, I find myself I start to read a book. And if something's not happening in the first two pages, and it's not exciting, and it's not explosions, I'm thinking, do I want to sit with this? And my attention is looking for something different to be stimulated by instead of like you said, these deep experiences.

Rob Plevin  8:15  

Yeah, totally. I mean, I'm embarrassed to say this, but on my Kindle device, I think I've got more than 800 books, 800 books, and it's seldom sit and finish a book these days, you know, I'll dip in and out of one or flip between several books at once often just trying to glean what I feel is the information that I want at that time. So I think it's a huge problem that 

Simon Currigan  8:35  

And the relevance thing is massive as well. I've often wondered, as an adult, when we think about how we teach writing, even to very young children, often we do it through writing stories. And I'm not saying that doesn't have value. But how often if you've been asked to write a story as an adult, is it actually a very useful skill? And I'm not saying we shouldn't teach story writing and fiction writing to young children, but you do have to question the relevance.

Rob Plevin  9:00  

Absolutely. And just touching on that a little bit more, my son is 30. And he switched careers into a computer programming career. And he's just in his final stages of qualifying, and already they're talking about the job not being available due to AI. You know, why would you hire a programmer when you can get AI to do it? So I think it must be really quite worrying for kids, you know, growing up learning this stuff, and they just think what is the point in this? I don't need it, I'm not gonna need it. Why are you teaching it me? So yeah, I think those two things are definitely contributing. But I also think the internal factors, as I say, are even more important because the concept of distracted students disengagement. It's not a new phenomenon. It's been around a very long time. Victorian teachers, you know, those old black and white pictures of the strict Victorian master. They complained of disobedient children and those kids didn't have smartphones. There are bits of slate in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. He talks about students playing games and dancing rather than studying and even Plato apparently complained about distraction of young people from the studies. So although technology and social media and this relevance factor, although these have brought about a significant increase in disengagement, I feel this is a deeper problem. I think it's got more to do with what's going on the inside than on the outside. And I personally believe and others research to back this up to, its to do with us being in an uncomfortable emotional state and wanting to move away from that. So by uncomfortable emotional state, I mean things like boredom, loneliness, anxiety, stress, inadequacy, fear of failure, uncertainty, fatigue, and we want to escape these things. And that's why distractions are so appealing. They take us away from the pain and the discomfort. And of course, once we get into the habit of allowing ourselves to be distracted, every time something becomes too difficult, a bit too tedious, boring, tiring, or uncomfortable in any way, then we reach for it again. And again. So kids perhaps get into this habit of being disengaged, it feels much nicer and more comfortable than doing the work or being bored or finding things too challenging.

Simon Currigan  11:08  

Can I just pick up on one thing? I think boredom actually is a really interesting one that you've highlighted there. Because how often are children bored nowadays, or adults bored? If you look at a queue of people in a shop, what's the first thing they do, they don't just stand there, they take their phone out, and they're being constantly stimulated, as you say. And if kids aren't used to the experience of being a little bit bored, even on a car journey, then they find it difficult to cope with, because it's an unnatural feeling for them. And yet boredom, lots of researchers will say is where creativity starts, where great ideas start.

Rob Plevin  11:40  

Exactly, exactly. I think we've got to address these internal factors. Yes, certainly, as well as if not, before we look at the external factors to the relevance and the technology. I think it all goes hand in hand, really.

Simon Currigan  11:50  

So can you tell us the story of what prompted you to develop your needs focused approach to supporting kids in the classroom?

Rob Plevin  11:56  

I can, and I will, are you sitting comfortably?

Simon Currigan  11:59  

I am 

Rob Plevin  11:59  

Good, then I'll begin. So I was a behaviour management geek. Well, actually, even before I started teaching, I was working in the outdoors, I was working with young offenders and youth groups. And I was really passionate, really, really, absolutely passionate about behaviour and the factors that influence behaviour and what I could do as a trainer or as a teacher, to manage behaviour. So I had this very much behaviourist approach I was following psychologists like Skinner, and Lee Canter assertive discipline, both believed that behaviour is shaped by consequences. And that positive reinforcement is the most effective way to change behaviour. And at the time, I was working with some tremendous psychologists early on in my career, too. So I saw all this stuff working. And I understood the relevance of it and all the science and the psychology behind it. And there was no doubt that it got results. But I gradually became more interested in how kids felt, you know, you can make a child do anything with a significant reward or a bribe or a nasty punishment. But what's actually going on inside? How are they really feeling? We know kids who are motivated purely to gain of merit or a gift of some sort, they lose interest in the task. It's just about the gift, the reward, and kids whose behaviour is controlled externally with threats or punishments. Well, we only too well how they must feel, or perhaps we forget how they might feel. But what really made me question this behaviourist approach was using it at home with my teenage son, my son was 15, 16 at the time, and he was a little on the wild side. And when I took the behaviourist approach home, the bribes and the consequences, I noticed that it was driving us further and further apart, it created more problems than it solves, you know, he felt very aggrieved that I was applying these consequences. And I think he played the game with regard to the gifts and the rewards, you know, and the treats. So we were moving further apart and I knew what he desperately needed was more connection, there's a deeper approach needed. So I came across the work of William Glasser choice theory. And that blew my mind. He talked about real motivation, intrinsic motivation and how our behaviour is largely dictated by our needs. Were basically hardwired to avoid that discomfort that I was talking about earlier. All that discomfort and unpleasantness. We're hardwired to avoid that through the satisfaction of key psychological needs. So if a child feels alone or fearful, or unheard or unseen, they've got a need for attention and connection. If they feel they're lacking control or choice or freedom in their life, then they've got a need for empowerment. And that made total sense to me. So I moved away from the control methods, you know, basically treating kids like Pavlov's dogs, and into the realm of connecting more deeply with them. The need to be long been one of our most powerful needs, and providing an environment in which those needs can be met in appropriate ways. I'll just apologise for the dog making an appearance Simon, as usual.

Simon Currigan  14:59  

Star of the show. There's a cat in this room. Mittens always likes to sit in for a recording. So yeah, You know how it is?

Rob Plevin  15:05  

I do.

Simon Currigan  15:06  

You say when three key needs are met, children are more engaged and teachers see fewer behaviour incidents in the classroom. And there's an improvement in the overall quality of those adult pupil relationships yet. And the first need you talk about in your books and your teaching is empowerment, which you've already sort of touched on, what does that actually look like in the classroom? And why is it so important?

Rob Plevin  15:27  

Okay, so obviously, there are lots of psychological needs and needs that we all share as human beings. Now I've highlighted three of them, empowerment, belonging and fun, because they're really the broad categories, and they encompass a lot of needs, the kind of umbrella terms. So when I talk about power, I'm also including things like acknowledgement, choice, autonomy, even achievement. And this empowerment. It's a very powerful motivator. It's an inbuilt human need kids crave, and they need elements of control and freedom in their lives. Well, we all do. Nobody wants to feel like they're in prison. But if you look at it, from their perspective, in school, and in home, actually, how much control do they really have in their world, not that much. Because we call the shots, we tell them when they can eat, when they can go to the toilet, what kind of pen they've got to use, when they can take a break, all the decisions are made, or most of the decisions are made by us, and in a bid to keep them under control will take away more and more of the freedom. So to me, it makes total sense that they get frustrated, and they tried to assert their need for power. So when they do that, they do it in what we would call inappropriate ways. When they don't get a sense of freedom and control, they'll act up to get it it's hardwired, as I said. So essentially, they'll push our buttons, they're locked out, they'll refuse to work, work on their terms wandering around the classroom talking over us ignoring us that kind of thing, we basically get a power struggle on our hands, and we can either fight them, or we can help them meet that need in more appropriate ways. So it might be we're giving them an element of choice in the way they do the work or the work that they do giving them a responsibility of some sort, making sure that we acknowledge their efforts, that kind of thing.

Simon Currigan  17:13  

How do you walk the line in the classroom between giving children choices and responsibilities about how they're working, and something that looks a bit like chaos? Because I can imagine, in some classrooms, if children were given too much empowerment before they were ready for it, maybe their behaviour would be the go off task to do different things. So how do we manage that tension?

Rob Plevin  17:38  

You're quite right there, if you're going too much too quick, then it can blow kids minds, you know, suddenly they've got every freedom in the world. And it's small steps with anything really that is going to make a sustainable changes. But in terms of choice, for example, I mean, we talk about limited choices, so wouldn't be just a case of do what you want, it will be a case of okay, there are five tasks on the board, they all meet the same working target, but you have a choice in which one you do first, or which three you do or which one you do. There are ways of giving choice without giving everything. And I think when teachers know, their, their students, and they know their class, they can really make a pretty informed decision as to how much choice they give them, you know, choice can be brought in, in all kinds of ways the way they do the work, the amount of work, the type of work, the type of task, probably there's a whole session on that, really. But hopefully that covers it to some extent.

Simon Currigan  18:32  

Yeah, definitely. It makes total sense. And I think because when people have choice, they feel they've got agency and they become more invested in the outcome as well, don't they? Because they feel like well, I've chosen this, so I'm going to commit to it more. The next key you talk about is belonging, then, and people talk about children needing attention, but often what they're searching for is connection rather than attention itself. How does belonging affect pupil engagement? And what can we do sort of practically as adults in the classroom to foster belonging with our children in our schools and in our classrooms?

Rob Plevin  19:02  

Okay, so I think one of the main ways this shows up this need for belonging is kids trying to get attention, attention from us, and indeed attention from their peers and kids repeat behaviours that work for them. They repeat behaviours that get them what they want. So if being silly or messing around, makes them popular with other kids, then they'll do it and do it again. They meet their need for attention, connection and belonging that way, what we've got to do here is twofold. I think, one, we've got to build those powerful one to one relationships with them. And the second is to create a sense of community and camaraderie in the classroom and get these kids to have a sense of how rewarding and supportive it feels being part of that, instead of being part of these offshoots, part of these little splinter groups that they set up. You know, this is why gangs are so important that need for belonging is so prevalent, it's so important to kids, they'll get it from wherever they can, and if their little splinter group  is more rewarding and more more supportive and more exciting than the rest of the class cohort, then they're gonna go for that. So we've got to really create a community in which it's highly supportive. All kids look out for each other, it's safe, and it's rewarding, you know, they get a bit of fun from it, and they get that sense of team spirit and helping each other. And then there's less need for them to seek that attention outside the group. So in terms of the class community, I mean, I talk about this a lot in one of the books connect with your students, it's things like team meetings, you know, having a class meeting, it's things like cooperative and active work, where they can be working on tasks together in little teams, basically, just creating that situation where everyone is part of that big team. In terms of one to one relationships, the two things that have always stood out for me since I since I was teaching have been to show kids you care about them. And to communicate that as frequently as possible. If you look at any of your relationships in your life, the positive relationships in your life, those two factors are present. We communicate frequently with those that we love and care about. And we show those people that we love and care about that we care about them. There are different ways of communicating with kids, not just the transferring of knowledge during the lesson. That's one way of communicating. But it's a very one way communication, it's very one sided. Communicating with them outside the classroom. asking them questions about themselves, is obviously a major part of it. Doing those two things with kids can bring about immediate improvements in relationships. So communicating frequently with them, it doesn't have to just take place in the classroom. In fact, classroom conversations tend to be one sided, it tends to be just as transferring knowledge to kids. So we need to make that little bit more two way, inviting them to contribute more to the conversation having these little private conversations with them during the class, but also conversations outside the classroom as well. So communicating frequently is important. And obviously, there are other ways of doing it, not just speaking face to face, you know, you can send them little messages, you can leave messages in their books. I don't mean sending messages by SMS, by the way, I'm talking about written messages

Simon Currigan  22:20  

That could go down a dark alleyway can't it? 

Rob Plevin  22:22  

Exactly. Kids that are disengaged kids that are struggling in school, there's almost certainly an element of I don't belong here. I'm not appreciated, I'm not heard, I'm not seen. They just don't feel that there's anyone really looking out for them. So if we can be the person who shows that we really are looking out for them, we really do want to support them, we really do care about them, then I think that goes a long way to bringing them on site and building those one to one relationships.

Simon Currigan  22:51  

Okay, so we've looked at empowerment, we've looked at the need for belonging, the last need you sort of identify is fun. So what is the best way of incorporating fun into lessons to create a positive environment positive engagement? And I am aware the irony of talking about you know, planning it and preparing for it when fun is usually spontaneous. But how do you do that practically?

Rob Plevin  23:16  

Okay, well, we all have that need for some excitement and stimulation. And importantly, that looks very different for different people. You know, some people like jumping out of aeroplanes, and some like knitting and doing jigsaws, each to their own. The bottom line is we're hardwired to seek something which entertains us and occupies our mind something we find stimulating. What that means in the classroom is that if kids are bored or unchallenged, they'll seek fun in less than appropriate ways. So that's when we get things like messages being passed around the room and paper aeroplanes, and getting up and wandering around and digging each other and chatting in the corner and doing anything other than being engaged in the task. Because what they're seeing is that anything that I do other than this task is going to be more enjoyable and more entertaining. So we need to meet this need in basically the kind of activities and tasks we give to our students. And indeed, the way we present those tasks and activities. It has to be at the right challenge level. So no use giving something that's too easy, because there's no challenge there. It's no use given something that's too difficult because it's too challenging, and they get frustrated with it. So boredom and frustration need to be ironed out. And one way of doing that is with the level of challenge. The other is with the type of activity and if we look at Gardner's model, different types of intelligence, I think that having some kinesthetic activities in there goes a long way to bringing on buy in from those students who would normally opt out read this somewhere that the bottom 20% of learners the 20% that are disengaged tend to be our kinesthetic learners. So we want hands on tasks of some kind. So quick example of a kinesthetic activity. A very simple example would be a keystage two task to create a bar chart. Now, we might give them a textbook and their writing book and get them to draw a bar chart on paper, or we could get them to create one. So we give them some coloured paper, a pair of scissors, a data sheet, and everything, they need to create a hands on bar chart. And I would present that to them in what I call a Learning Kit. So it's an envelope that they get, when they're standing outside the classroom lined up or on their way into the classroom. It's got their name on, and it's got top secret written on, and they sit down, and then they get to open this this little kit. And it's got everything in the coloured pens, the scissors, the pencil, the ruler, the datasheet, everything else. So we're creating a hands on task and interesting fun hands on task. And importantly, that little learning kit that you give them, it's something that's tangible, it's something that they can hold and feel, and it creates immediate curiosity. Curiosity is one of the best ways to get kids to buy in to a lesson right at the start. And you just say to them, that you can open this, when you're all sat quietly. And then we've got a great way of getting them into that first task. So kinesthetic work, all the different types of intelligences that Gardner talks about variety really is what we're looking at in terms of fun, but also having little breaks, you know, little brain breaks, team activities, fun, basically, we're talking about fun!

Simon Currigan  26:24  

Rob, your new book ties in nicely with this, isn't it?  Change the mood of the noisy class, and you've been good enough to give me a preview, actually, and I've got to say, it's really good, the depth in there and the range of activities, it gives teachers, you know, a range of things to do with our kids to harness their energy in a positive way, which is going to be necessary if you're having fun activity. So So can you tell us more about the book, so our listeners can find out more about what you've got to share with them?

Rob Plevin  26:50  

Absolutely. And you've been very kind enough to write a review for that book, which, if anyone buys the book, they will see it right there on the back cover. So thank you very much changed the mood of the noisy class. Now, I had been wanting to put a book together on a collection of activities basically, that meet needs in the classroom that need for fun, the need for connection, the need for empowerment, and also activities that will change the energy in the classroom. So sometimes you want activities that will raise the energy, you know, got a flagging group or a group that's bored stiff, you need to inject something to enliven the group. And also, we want to calm a group down now. And again, you know, if you've got a group has just come in from PE, or they've come from break and the upper high, then we need to calm them down. So I wanted to create this collection of activities that could change energy levels, and change the mood. Basically, the premise is helping kids feel good, basically put them in a good mood, hence, the title change the mood of the noisy class, how often do you see a happy content, child creating havoc in lessons, it just doesn't happen? So the book is essentially collection activities to help kids feel good by meeting those key needs. A lot of the activities in fact, the majority of activities were in a different book by two NLP trainers. And the book was called Invisible teaching. Although I'd wanted to put together a book like this for years, I've just never had time, the project just kept getting pushed further and further back. And then I came across this book, invisible teaching. And I approached the publishers, Crown House Publishing, who incidentally used to be my publishers. And I asked if I could buy the rights to it, which they allowed. So we bought the rights, we swapped out some of the activities changed the overall philosophy, making it in line with needs focused. And then I think the activities fit perfectly. The feedback that we've had from people has been tremendous, you know, if you go on Amazon, and you look at the reviews, really great examples of people applying these in the classroom, and actually been very surprised at how effective the activities are, in terms of changing energy in terms of changing mood. Quite a lot of teachers have put reviews on saying that they they were shocked at how well received they were by the kids, you know, the kids said, Please, can we do that Again, please? Can we do it again? And it's done what I wanted it to it's given teachers a load of really fast, easy to set up. They don't require any equipment, really fun activities that they can put in the classroom. Some of them take a couple of minutes, some of them take five or 10 minutes. They've all got different kinds of theme. And yeah, it really works for people. So the themes the categories are, we've got how to increase or decrease energy we've got how to evoke a sense of calm, creative thinking, connection, focus, meeting all those needs, basically, within those categories,

Simon Currigan  29:41  

Listening to you talk them actually made me think that what you're actually doing with the book, and the activities is regulating the energy levels of your class, if they come in too excitable for the activity, you're regulating them downwards. If they need energy for a task and the bit less, less, you're regulating them upwards. So you're actually You're helping the kids to learn to regulate as part of your lesson

Rob Plevin  30:04  

Exactly. And more than that, we're changing their attitude towards learning their attitude towards perhaps a particular teacher and their attitude towards a particular class. Because if you give them a positive experience, if they're if they're in a good mood, when they're in that class environment, that lesson, they want to repeat that. So you get a situation where they leave with a smile, and they come back with a smile, because they've had some enjoyment, you know, so changing that attitude towards learning, giving them a taste of how fun the classroom can be. That all goes towards increasing engagement, improving motivation, and getting them excited about the learning process. And yes, a lot of these tasks, not all of them, but a lot of them are not curriculum related. So some teachers may frown at that some educators may frown at that, but I believe it's so important to get them in the right mind state first, about the classroom about learning, then we can teach, you know, they've got to be in the right mind state first and the right energy level,

Simon Currigan  31:05  

That is so true. If they're not in the right physical state, then trying to shove the learning down their throat is not a recipe for success. How do we get hold of the book, Rob?

Rob Plevin  31:12  

So it's on Amazon, I've put it on a platform called in Ingram. So it should be filtering into book shops as well. But certainly, it's on Amazon at the moment. It's available in Kindle form, and it's available in paperback form.

Simon Currigan  31:24  

And if you're a teacher or a school leader, listening to this podcast and you want to know more about the needs focused approach you've started talking about today, you know, meeting those key needs of belonging and empowerment font, how can I find out more about your approach?

Rob Plevin  31:37  

Okay, so step one will be to go to my website and have a look around there, we've got various freebies, there's a few free books that people can just opt in for and download. And there's a really good free web class, which goes through the whole needs focus teaching method explains it all in pretty good detail. It's a great web class, actually, I'm sure people enjoy it. And that is all it all one word www.needs focused And then step two, if you add a little link to the end of that URL, you'll get all the details about my book. So it is, all one word, forward slash changemoodbonuses. And what I've put together, there is a collection of bonus materials. There's one of our courses on there. And lots of resources from colleagues in the teaching world, including you, Simon, there's one of yours on there, too. And people will get that bundle of resources if they buy a copy or two of the book.

Simon Currigan  32:40  

Rob, it's been an absolute pleasure. You've been insightful. As always, thanks for being on the show.

Rob Plevin  32:46  

Tremendous Simon. I'm really chuffed. It went all right. And I'm glad to have contributed thanks so much.

Emma Shackleton  32:51  

Ah, okay. So I can really see how those elements of belonging fun and relationships are absolutely key to improving student engagement in the classroom. And it's always a pleasure to listen to Rob, he shares so many practical strategies that you can go away and start using right away.

Simon Currigan  33:11  

I know I know. If you want to learn more, I put direct links to Rob's website and his new book in the episode description.

Emma Shackleton  33:20  

Great. And if you're seeing difficult behaviour during lesson time, the truth is, there may be some other small changes that you could make to the way that you've organised your environment, for example, or the format of your lessons, and little changes can make all the difference.

Simon Currigan  33:36  

If that sounds interesting to you, we've got a completely free download that goes with this episode called the classroom management score sheet. Inside the score sheet, you'll find a list of 37 factors that have an impact on classroom behaviour. The score sheet has a list of things that you're clearly doing or not doing in the classroom. Think of it as a clear roadmap to improve your presence with your students. It's based on 1000s of observations that Emma and I have conducted between us. So you know, it's based on sound classroom practice.

Emma Shackleton  34:09  

And actually, if you're supporting a colleague with their classroom management, this tool can really help to make your feedback and action points even more clear and objective. Get your score sheet now by going to clicking on the free resources tab in the menu, and you'll find it near the top of the page. It's completely free. So go and get yours today. We've also put a direct link to the school sheet in the episode description. 

Simon Currigan  34:37  

And if you haven't done so already, remember to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss another episode. All you have to do is open up your podcast app and hit the subscribe button. It's easy, and subscribing will make you feel as happy as an Aardvark that's just stumbled across an all you can eat ant buffet. Hmmm I can feel their little legs wriggling down now.

Emma Shackleton  35:00  

No and that's enough. Moving right on. I just want to finish by saying thank you for listening today. We wish you a brilliant week and look forward to seeing you next week on school behaviour. Bye for now. 

Simon Currigan  35:14  


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