In the classrooms of the past, it was clear that the teacher was in control and no talking or movement would be tolerated. However, this should not be the case in modern day classrooms. Teachers should be open and enthusiastic, and group discussions are promoted rather than seen as a nuisance.
In terms of behaviour management, the following video analyses the way in which 5 teachers engage and control their class without any need for forceful language or gestures.
How do they help maintain the attention of the children? – The teachers all make use of movement and hand gestures to engage their class and keep them focused on the task at hand. They move around the classroom in order to keep engagement across the class, which ensures that those sitting at the back listen and contribute as they know the teacher will come over to them. The hand gestures they use are very open and keep the children’s attention.
How do they show respect for the children? – It is clear that all of the teacher’s respect their children. They do not raise their voice or shout at the children, and they use positive praise, smiling when the children answer a question correctly. In particular in this video, the history teacher is given wrong answers, however, he does not make the children feel bad about these answers, he simply helps them to work through the wrong answer as to why it is not what he is looking for.
How do they show the authority of the teacher? – All of the teachers in the video show a commanding presence in the classroom, although it is warm and inviting at the same time. They refuse to talk over children, as demonstrated by the geography teacher, and use their authority to move around the class, ensuring that all children are involved and engaged.
How do the teachers manage the movement of the children? – As shown by the PSHE teacher, the children enter the class in single file rather than in bunches, which calms the children down after any high energy occurrences that may have happened outside the classroom. This is also reinforcing the teachers authority. At the end of the lesson, shown by the geography teacher, it is important to let the children go in groups/tables as this avoids a chaotic scramble towards the door.
I believe that the ideas in this video, while based in a high school, will work well in the primary school setting. The need to include positive praise is essential, especially with younger children, who have a shorter attention span, and need some form of constant engagement. It is also useful to note how your stance as a teacher can either invite pupils to learn with you, or switch them off completely. For example, folding your arms creates a barrier which the children may feel they need to fight or break in order to form a good relationship with their teacher, which is the first step to effective learning. This can lead to poor behaviour in the class, and the teacher may not understand why without this knowledge of effective stance and body language.