When English mentors comment on student teachers’ behaviour management in their reports it’s helpful if these comments make the connections between behaviour and learning really explicit. This helps student teachers to see exactly how they have improved and what they need to work on, at the same time as ensuring that student teachers remember that the goal of each lesson is not to have a room full of perfectly behaved pupils but to ensure that these pupils are really learning and making progress.
Here are some extracts from student teachers’ reports that make this connection clear:
Professor Snape established himself as a confident presence in the classroom right from the beginning of his placement. What has really developed this term is his sense of what he wants pupils to learn in particular lessons and over sequences of lessons. It has been interesting to see his focus shifting from what he needs to do towards thinking about what he wants pupils to learn. His early lesson plans were a little thin in terms of teaching and learning objectives; once he began thinking more carefully about framing learning objectives precisely it was interesting to see how this transformed his teaching, as well as his behaviour management.
When lessons don’t go according to plan, Madam Hooch is very good at reflecting on what happened and then trying to address this in her planning for the following lesson. This was noticeable when she responded to an observation that her Year 7 pupils were becoming restless while she was teaching from the front of the room by devising more carefully structured worksheets that pupils could get on with without too much explanation. She is keen that pupils should enjoy English lessons, and has extended her repertoire of interactive and engaging teaching methods this term.
Professor Dumbledore is now planning further ahead, thinking about building variety into schemes of work and guiding pupils towards particular outcomes. Following a scheme of work he has written on The Other Side of Truth is enabling him to learn a lot about how much time particular tasks take, and about how to build flexibility into medium term planning
Professor McGonagall thinks carefully about the structure of her lessons, and the relationship between lesson planning and behaviour management. After her Year 8 class were noisy and uncooperative in one particular lesson, she planned the next one particularly carefully, deliberately setting tasks that would encourage pupils to work quietly and independently so that she could re-establish her authority with the class before moving on to small group work in the next lesson.
Professor Flitwick communicates his own enthusiasm well, which helps to generate a good working atmosphere in his classroom. In his first few lessons with Year 8 he recognised that the pupils’ lively enthusiasm had the potential to become difficult to control, but I was impressed with the way he then thought carefully about how to manage both whole class discussions and small group work in such a way as to keep their enthusiasm while still maintaining a sense of orderliness. He has learnt to wait longer for silence, to insist on routines such as ‘hands up’ during whole class discussions, and to give out instructions before organising pupils into small groups.