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Tips for Teachers newsletter #2
Ban the word “easy”, sharing work & Tom Bennett
Hello, and welcome to the Tips for Teachers newsletter. For over 400 ideas to try out the very next time you step into the classroom, check out my Tips for Teacher book.
💡 A quick tip to try in class this week 💡
I am obsessed with habits and routines at the moment. One particular habit I am trying to shake off is my use of words like easy when describing work:
Okay, let's start with an easy question
The first task should be pretty straightforward
This work is fairly routine, so let's get onto something more challenging
Describing a topic or problem in this way makes it clear in your students’ eyes that you expect them to have no difficulty with the topic, or answer the question correctly. The positive is this means you have high expectations for students. But the flip-side is that if a child struggles they will feel pretty bad about themselves. Worse still, they will probably take steps to cover up their struggle either by opting out of the class discussion, copying, or hiding their work.
Primary literacy expert, Chris Such, suggests instead we approach most topics and problems from the angle that they are inherently difficult. With practice and hard work, we may find them easier, but don’t panic if they then get hard again.
If you find you cannot stop saying things like easy, straightforward or routine in lessons, one sure-fire way is to use the classroom equivalent of a swear jar. Tell your students to watch out for any mention of whatever words you are trying to cut out. Write these down on the board. And then, any time you say one and your students notice (which they inevitably will), you need to do something, like put £1 in a charity jar.
What would you need to change to make this tip work for you?
When could you try it for the first time?
View all the Tips for Teachers shared so far
📺 A video to discuss with a colleague 📺
Jake Gordon has an incredible way of sharing students' work with the rest of the class. This one will blow your mind, whatever subject you teach.
If the video doesn't play when you click on it, click here
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👂 A podcast episode to listen to on your way home 👂
Behaviour expert, Tom Bennett, shares his five tips:
Use the school behaviour policy
Teach students what to do when they are stuck
Teach students how to behave in a supply or cover lesson
Teach students how to have the right equipment
Students need to know you are in charge of the classroom
Listen to the podcast here.
😎 Final bits and bobs 😎
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