10. The first part of the lesson Perspective 2 (Alison)









What's this?

It is important that pupils understand the objectives of the lesson and the behaviour needed for learning to take place. Teachers who communicate this clearly and confidently at the start of the lesson use a range of skills that establish an authoritative 'presence', including signals for gaining the attention of the class, clear verbal and non-verbal communication, and effective use of language to explain and question. When the start of the lesson lacks clarity and structure, teachers can lose teaching and learning time by having to repeat instructions and respond to pupils' requests for clarification.




  • Kath is keen to ensure that the pace of the lesson is maintained and that pupils stay engaged. How far do you feel she achieves this in this part of the lesson? What specific techniques do you see her use?
  • Try to identify the elements of - body language - choice of words - facial expression that are contributing to the climate being set in this part of the lesson. Try to identify moments in this part of the lesson when Kath could have used a positive statement or praise to support pupils in developing behaviour for learning.
  • If you were taking the role of the teacher-coach, how would you help Kath build more positive relationships with this class? Identify a series of steps that could be taken.
  • Try to identify particular features of Kath's verbal and non-verbal language that have an impact on the learning in this classroom. In what ways do you and other colleagues in your school model the behaviour you expect from your pupils? Focus on - body language and facial expression - use of language, including volume and tone.
  • How does Kath ensure that pupils are able to concentrate on the learning in this part of the lesson? How well do the pupils that you teach concentrate? What factors might be contributing to a lack of concentration and attention in the classroom? You might find it useful to refer to Maslow's Hierarchy of Need to focus your responses. (Behaviour and Attendance Training Materials: Core Day 2 Developing the Effective Practice Across the School DfES0055/2003)
  • List some of the questions and feedback Kath uses in this part of the lesson. Consider the choice of words, tone and facial expressions she uses. What impact do you feel this kind of approach has on pupils' motivation and engagement? Try to rephrase her questions and feedback in a way that will have a more positive impact on learning.
  • Feeling able to make mistakes and learn from them is an important aspect of learning. How does Kath respond to pupils' mistakes? Put yourself in the position of Anita as she tried to define a 2- dimensional shape, or Ryan as he was unexpectedly asked a question. What might they be thinking and feeling following Kath's response? Consider your responses to pupils who make genuine mistakes. What do you find to be most effective in building confidence and encouraging future risk taking in learning.
  • David Howe, the headteacher, takes some of the blame for Kath's mood. How far do you think the phone call that made her late has an impact on her behaviour towards 8PT? What do you think are the most effective ways that teachers can maintain a professional demeanour and approach when they are feeling stressed, angry or upset?
    Billy appears to be unsettled by this teaching style. Mr Dhillon (SENCO), Mrs Latimer, and Kath will be meeting to review Billy's progress. In a group of 3, each take on one of these roles and role-play this SEN review meeting. What do you think the outcomes will be for: - Billy ? - Mrs Latimer? - Kath? - Mr Dhillon?
  • The headteacher is worried about Kath's stress levels. Do you think she is stressed? How do you think she feels at the end of the day? Imagine you are Kath, what is your typical evening routine?
  • It is well documented that teaching can be stressful. It is essential to maintain the energy and enthusiasm levels necessary for this job. What are your most effective ways of relaxing at the end of each day, at weekends and in the holidays? What could you do more of? What do you need to do less of? How does your school ensure that staff are supported through difficult times, personally and professionally? What suggestions could you make that you think might improve staff (and pupil) health and well-being in your school? Has your school signed up with National Healthy Schools Scheme? What benefits does this bring?
  • The consultant feels that 8PT 'gain praise, encouragement and reassurance from each other, rather than from the teacher.' Do you agree with this comment? If you do agree, how do you feel that this could have an impact on the dynamics in the classroom and on pupils' cooperation with the class rules and routines?
  • Consider the rights and responsibilities of both the pupils and adults in this classroom. List them, and for each describe how it is demonstrated in this part of the lesson.
    Kath feels that the pupils in 8PT 'don't like maths'. How far would you agree with this statement? What are your reasons for agreeing or disagreeing?
  • Identify the times Kath uses sarcasm. What might she be trying to achieve or demonstrate to the group? What impact does this type of adult language have on pupils?
  • Teachers and other adults have significant influence in the classroom and around school. What kind of influence will Kath be having on pupils' learning and relationships with colleagues?
  • What impact might the use of questions such as those below have on the general atmosphere and learning in this lesson? - 'Did I tell you to write it down?' - 'How can you expect to learn if you don't pay attention?' - 'Did anyone understand a word of that?' What might you have said?


Planning for hot spots


Identifying potential hot spots in the classroom or around school enables staff to plan responses that are more likely to defuse than exacerbate problems. Planning to manage recurring problems can help maintain the focus on learning.

Outcomes - to encourage staff to recognise situations which have the potential for escalating out of control. - to encourage staff to consider alternative responses to pupils' misbehaviour, which will defuse potentially explosive situations. - to enable staff to consider whether hot spots could be prevented by the development of an appropriate routine.


Behaviour for learning


'Behaviour for Learning' places value on behaving in ways that enable and maximise learning. Effective behaviour for learning can range form high-level listening or collaborative learning skills, to remaining seated for two minutes. It is important to focus on the kind of approaches that are most likely to increase learning behaviour. Evidence strongly suggests that these will be ones that are characterised by the promotion of positive relationships and the development of an appropriate emotional climate in the classroom.


  • Which of the behaviours seen in this classroom can be said to enable and maximise learning?
  • How does Kath encourage her pupils to develop appropriate behaviours for learning?
  • How does she recognise and value these behaviours?
  • What is the impact on the kind of classroom climate Kath establishes on the pupils' motivational levels?



Authoritative, Verbal Communication, Non-Verbal Communication,

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