Naming of Parts

‘Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday We had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning, We shall have what to do after firing. But today, Today we have naming of parts. Japonica Glistens like coral in all the neighbouring gardens, And today we have naming of parts. This is the lower sling swivel. And this Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see, When […]

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Dr. Who? Behaviour, science and the sonic screwdriver.

“Science, however, is not just a matter of making mistakes, but of making mistakes in public. Making mistakes for all to see, in the hopes of getting the others to help with the corrections.” ― Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life   A couple of weeks ago I wrote the idea that It Takes A Village To Raise A […]

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Behaviour. Fibs, lies and statistics

The most recent Teenschooling blog began: ‘The latest annual DfE statistical release on exclusions, which reported an increase for the second consecutive year, divided opinion. Whilst many were alarmed by the increase from 5,795 permanent exclusions in 2014/15 to 6,685 in 2015/16, others felt that, at thirty five pupils a day, there should be no real cause for concern. “Equivalent to a third of a […]

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Bad behaviour? All you need is ……..

My first full-time teaching job was at a private 5 to 16 residential special school for children with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties. The year was 1995, I was 45 and taken on to teach Key Stage 3 and 4 science. When I first read the job advert I didn’t know this type of school existed but I soon found out. ‘EBD’ meant ‘too difficult for […]

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Why focusing on children’s strengths is vital for their mental health

  Every week is mental health awareness week Last year ago I wrote about the importance of relationship in promoting mental health. In mental health awareness week 2017 I published the article again as my contribution, specifically about what practical support for children to add to our general awareness of their need for support. In schools we need to critically examine what we do to […]

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Behaviour management: myth or monster?

  Myth Children’s behaviour must be externally managed by one psychological approach – reward them when they get it right, punish them when they get it wrong. Behaviour has to be managed from the outside, children can’t be trusted to make their own futures and they have to be pushed, extrinsically motivated. The worse the behaviour, the more forceful and unpleasant the punishment required. Children […]

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Solutions for behaviour – Treadmills and tracks

You’re a teacher. It’s a new year and the old routines from last term are there, waiting for you like comfortable slippers. The routines to get children ready for learning every day and the ones for behaviour, ready to make life and learning in your classroom buzz with energy and enjoyment. Behaviour is good, stress is low. Except. There’s one student, you don’t know what […]

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Why hearing isn’t the same as listening

In the doctor’s surgery I took my five year old son to hospital yesterday. He sat on my knee. In the room were a doctor, two medical students, two parents, a little brother and the patient himself. We talked about him, over his head. After a while the doctor said to him; ‘I’m going to ask you something, because I think you know about this […]

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What you give you get back

#kindbehaviour – a message in a bottle Now It is obvious that we should punish children who don’t behave isn’t it? We call it by different names but sanctioning is punishment is intended to be unpleasant otherwise it won’t work. Behaviour expert Mr. Bennett said in his Top Ten Behaviour Tips (TES June 21 2015) ‘The idea of sanctioning against behaviour we’re seeking to discourage, […]

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When is enough enough?

How can I tell if I am writing a blog or tweet or an essay or…You see once I get writing I seem to get carried away with it and it tends to go on and on and. (160 characters – a tweet) My friend and guide Tim Taylor told me a blog I’m writing is too long at 1600 words. ‘It’s a blog!’ he […]

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Getting behaviour under control 2

  Getting behaviour under control I wonder who thought this one up? You’ve got a thirteen year old boy in your class who thinks he’s the teenaged Alan Alda. His class is his audience and he knows how to catch their attention with a throwaway line. You like him, he’s clever and funny but he messes up your best-laid plans, he’s irrepressible and in your […]

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Getting Behaviour under Control 1: Deporting disruptive students – the new guidelines.

 The newly established Office for Population Control (Opcon) has announced the publication of guidelines for schools and education authorities in England on the deportation of permanently excluded students (academy chains are encouraged to continue using their own internal security services which can buy into the scheme). This is part of the government’s initiative ‘Cracking down on bad behaviour in schools’. Des tinations have been secured in […]

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A flipping academic

This graphic from was posted on twitter recently by Mr. Bennett, the new behaviour tsar. Mr Bennett’s comment? ‘Oh God, the future’s run by an idiot’ I asked him via Twitter; ‘Is that a balanced critique of the knowledgeworks programme over the last fifteen years in Ohio? Evidence informed?’ He promptly replied; ‘No, it’s a criticism of witless speculative futurism and faux prognostication.’ Fine […]

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Marching to the sound of a distant drum – Behaviour, behaviour, Behaviour, obedience, dis-obedience

Marching to the sound of a distant drum   I am cautious about blog discussions on about the behaviour of students in schools. Tim Taylor  has the same sense of caution; “I, rather regretfully now, joined in: regretfully, because behaviour is an emotive subject amongst teachers and one of the few that is truly divisive. I wrote a blog once about behaviour on the […]

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Being effectual is better than being right

  Some children and young people are hard to teach. If we could put this group of students to one side and just keep the ones who are easy to teach, it would make teaching much more simple. Some schools have strict selection processes to ensure the entry of the ‘easy and clever’ ones and regularly assess students’ performance so they can advise the parents […]

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Why are some students hard to teach?

Two questions: Why are some students hard to teach? Does it matter?  Working with children and making a difference in their lives are two major factors in drawing people towards school teaching as a career. Student indiscipline and teacher stress and burnout are consistently reported as factors pushing teachers away from teaching. Teachers report that the burden of paperwork, performance management, long working hours contribute […]

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Observation: It’s science. It’s obvious. It’s observable.

What are teachers? Well, they’re teachers, obviously. What do they do? Hmm. That’s a bit more tricky. Work in schools? Spend a long time in classrooms? Do the best they can? Meet lots of different people, most of them from the future. Talk. Listen. Make plans. Have a life. Spend too much time worrying. Have long holidays. Blog a bit. I don’t know……… How do […]

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Behaviour and Tough Young Teachers – the other way of looking at it

Part 2 of the new BBC Three documentary series ‘Tough Young Teachers’ was shown last week, its production supported by Teach First. Their mission is to ‘end inequality in schools’, the aim of the series ‘to show the sometimes gruelling, often life-changing journey of a new teacher on screen for the very first time.’ Part 2 was all about behaviour. Is ‘Tough Young Teachers’ a […]

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