16. Managing transitions within lessons Perspective 2 (Alison)









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Transition between tasks is a time when disruption can occur. As pupils complete one activity and prepare for the next, there can be opportunities for movement and for noise levels to increase. Pupils can become distracted and teachers can lose their focus on teaching and learning as the emphasis shifts to managing behaviour issues. Pupils do need opportunities for 'brain breaks', but following a transition, effective teachers re-settle pupils quickly and move them briskly on to the next part of the lesson.




  • How much of Kath's communication with 8PT is linked to maths? How much time do you estimate is taken up in giving and repeating instructions for the task?
  • How much learning and teaching time do you estimate is lost in this lesson? Why?
  • How does Kath promote the behaviour skills she expects to see from pupils in this part of the lesson? Describe the behaviour for learning you expect from the pupils you teach.
  • What is the task that 8PT have been set? How do you know?
  • What is getting in the way of pupils starting the task?
  • Kath does not appear to be using routine's to support the smooth running of the lesson. Describe to a colleague the routines you have developed for: - managing resources - pupils' failure to bring equipment - gaining the attention of the class you are teaching
  • In this section, what might be the explanation for David, Jason and Sally moving seats? Describe specific circumstances within your lessons when you would direct pupils to change seats. How do you use seating plans to promote effective learning in particular situations?
  • What do you think might be the ratio of positive to negative statements from Kath in this scene? How is this impacting on: - climate for learning? - dynamics? - learning? - pupils' behaviour? Are you aware of your positive:negative ratio? How could you find out? How did Kath's response to perceived misbehaviour affect the flow of the lesson? Which of these pupil behaviours would have prompted you to react? In what way(s) would you have reacted? Compare your responses to Kath's.
  • In this section, what examples of pupils supporting each other do you notice? Describe them in detail - what does this tell you about the skills 8PT already possess. How do you think Kath's - volume and tone of voice - choice of language - body language and facial expressions - impact upon the relationship between her and 8PT?
  • How would you support Kath to establish a more positive climate for learning in her classroom? What do you think would help Kath provide more positive feedback to 8PT when they are doing well?
  • What skills might Billy need to manage his learning in this classroom and how might Mrs Latimer help him in developing these?
  • How does Kath monitor pupils' behaviour during this period of the lesson? In what ways is this effective or ineffective?
  • What are your most effective and efficient ways of dealing with pupils' lack of equipment? Share these with a colleague.
  • How do you use 'rule reminders' to support the development of positive behaviour skills in your pupils?
  • How would you decide which specific behaviours need an immediate response and which you could tactically ignore, following up later or outside the lesson? Describe the behaviours and discuss with a colleague.
  • How consistent is your thinking when compared to: - your department - the whole school?


Pupils' perceptions


Pupils are most likely to behave in a manner that is most congruent with the way that they perceive adults regard them. If they believe adults have a poor opinion of them then they are likely to behave in a way this is consistent with this belief. If pupils believe that the adult has a high opinion of them then they are likely to seek to fulfil these expectations. This view does not relate to every pupil in a class but is a reasonable basis for planning teaching and learning activities. Think about the teaching styles presented in the series of films and consider: - teachers' perceptions of the pupils - pupils' perceptions of the teachers - the resulting pupil behaviour, including engagement, participation and motivation In your school, what do you feel are pupils' perceptions of themselves as learners? Does this vary between groups of pupils, what are the relevant factors? How far are pupils' perception related to in the relationships between staff and pupils in schools?




The kind of language staff use when giving feedback to pupils about their behaviour makes a significant difference to whether positive behaviour is promoted or poor behaviour escalates. In 'Settling the class (Tina)' Kath gives feedback about how patiently the class have waited in the corridor. What was it about this feedback that would make it more likely that the class would wait appropriately the next time she was late. Consider the language used, the volume and tone of voice, body language and facial expression. How does Kath combine these aspects of communication.

Look at section 'Ending the Lesson (Alison)'. How does Kath respond when Jason swears? What might be the effect on Jason of this form of verbal feedback? What impact might Kath's reaction have on the rest of the class? Research has suggested that staff are three times more likely to respond to inappropriate behaviour than to good behaviour. How would this figure compare with your school? Why do you think this figure is so weighted in favour of the negative? What steps might you take to improve such a ratio if it applied in? 1) your school; 2) your teaching.


Staff development


  • Which of the skills in this section would you suggest Kath works on first?
  • What do you feel are the most effective ways of helping her?
  • Which member of staff might be the most appropriate to support Kath - a friend on the staff, a member of her department, her Head of Department, a member of the senior management team, a member of the outside support service?
  • Discuss with colleagues the kind of staff development activities that are most helpful to you. How would you like to see Staff Support and Professional Development opportunities extended or improved in your school?



Transition, Respectful Tone, Communication

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