The most important teacher behaviours of any lesson

07th Nov 2017

November is known as the most miserable month of the year, summer feels like a distant memory and Christmas is yet to really sprout forth from the telly boxes.

For schools however November is easily the most important month in the calendar. There are no significant holidays to break things up, most teachers are well and truly into the meat of their courses and children are fully used to the new routines of the "year-above".

So with an unpopular month coinciding with the most important few weeks of the academic year I thought it might be useful to highlight what I consider are the three most important teacher behaviours of any lesson:

1) Relationships - these need to be positive and conducted in a purposeful and professional manner. Children learn best when they like their teacher, perhaps an obvious observation but one supported by the research.

2) Visible learning - great teachers seem to have an ability to look inside the brains of children to really "see" when a new idea takes root. Just like a sprouting seedling, a new idea needs to be nurtured to make sure the child really grasps it, for this to take place the teacher needs to understand how well the idea has been absorbed. Convincing ourselves that children grasp something is vital therefore and the best teachers are always slightly sceptical that learning has taken place and are always questioning and prodding to make sure that what is reflected back to them is correct.

3) Feedback - once we've developed a strong relationship and made the learning visible we then need to provide almost constant feedback as the student starts experimenting with the new idea.

Imagine teaching someone to drive, to make good progress the instructor provides regular feedback to improve their driving skill. The same is true of algebra, poetry or any other cerebral topic - to really make progress teachers need to provide regular commentary to the student throughout the lesson.

Have fun and keep warm on these chilly but important November days.