Nurturing Effective Classroom Leadership

Staff development network

Dr Mark Dowley January 17th, 2024 · 2min read

The evidence

The evidence this week is from Behaviour Guru, Bill Rogers, who has worked in schools all over the world for many decades. I confess, I’m a huge fan because when I was struggling with behaviour management in my first year of teaching, Bill Rogers’ books literally saved my career.

Key points:

  • The main concern in addressing behaviour is the rise of an approach to leadership in the classroom that’s more inclined to appease students rather than lead them in their behaviour.
  • Schools and classrooms need to have established sensible, age-appropriate classroom routines and rules, based on core rights and responsibilities.
  • We need to craft our behaviour leadership language as carefully and thoughtfully as we would any other aspect of our teaching.
  • The least helpful teachers are the ones who try to overprotect children, even well-meaningly, by not giving them clear direction about their behaviour, as well as crucial affirmation and encouragement.
  • The best work being done in the literature – by good people, who are on the ground doing research – is helping children through programs that teach them to be behaviourally aware and socially aware in relation to their behaviour and teaching them how to behave through modelling and rehearsing the behaviors in a one-to-one context. 

Read the full article here

What this means

The first staff days of the year are essential to your colleagues having a productive start with their students.

  • Allocate time during your staff days to talk about how to begin their lessons. These sessions could include:
    • Share the article from Bill Rogers for your staff to read.
    • Ask the question ‘How do you begin your first lesson of the year?’ (Turn and talk).
    • What common behaviour problems do you face and how to do you manage them?
    • Share video of high performing teachers, teaching their starting routines.
    • Ask teachers to rehearse the language they will use during their first class.
  • Pro tip – Tell your staff to avoid starting their lesson with a “how was your holidays?”, activity. Begin with a seating plan, starter activity and instruction. You can spend five minutes having a culture building discussion about holidays and interests but save it for the end of class. It’s harder to refocus students on learning if they’ve just spent 5-10 minutes comparing fun holidays.

Happy coaching,


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