Careful what you wish for

March 22, 2009 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

On my last placement I found myself getting stressed when it took ‘too long’ to get the children’s attention. On reflection I realised I wanted an attentive hush to descend immediately when I used one of the agreed signals, but this is not how people behave. One of our lecturers pointed out how frustrating it can be for people engaged in group work to be stopped by the teacher, and at the very least it’s respectful to give a short warning – he suggested something like, “Can I have you back in 5-4-3-2-1”.

Watching adults as learners, we do many of the things we find frustrating in pupils: in uni there are countless instances of talking when the teacher is talking, skipping lectures, doodling and fiddling with objects, going off topic in group work, not listening to instructions…

I think there might be a tricky balance to find here: I’ve no doubt I need to work on my skills in maintaining learning behaviour, and I don’t intend to do that by lowering my expectations of what pupils can achieve. However, I’m resolving to monitor my expectations more carefully from now on – I think time pressure and other stressors can lead me to having unreasonable expectations, which lead to more stress! In future, I’m going to check more carefully: what’s my issue, what’s their issue, and what’s outwith all of our control.

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Entry filed under: behaviour. Tags: .

“Sit still and be quiet” Hanging on

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