When the trouble starts

Staff development network

Dr Mark Dowley February 20th, 2024 · 2min read

The evidence

Mid-term is generally the week that student disruptions begin to increase during classes. Often it takes a bit of time for students to test boundaries in class and for the reported disruption to reach parents and pastoral leaders.

Often at this time, a teacher will (or should) seek the support of a coach to help. If a teacher has a challenging class, the first place we support them is with the starting routine.

With that in mind, the evidence this week is a short article from Author of Motivated Teaching- Peps Mccrea. It combines two important topics in education – routines and attention.

Key points

  • A routine is a chain of actions that gets executed on a cue, with minimal cognitive effort or conscious control
  • When a routine is established, students think less about the how of their learning, and more about the what of your teaching
  • This is powerful because human attention is limited, and attention leads to learning

Routines redeploy attention, allowing the student to focus on what matters.

Link: Routines redeploy attention (pepsmccrea.com)

What you can do:

  • Create clear routines across year levels or faculties:
    • 7-9 English classes might start with 10minutes of silent, wide reading.
    • Year 4 classes begin with a mindfulness activity after lunch every day.
    • All mathematics classes begin with a 10-minute retrieval practice activity.
  • Explicitly teach the importance of routines to your students.
  • Give parents recommendations on how to develop routines in their child (see Routine – Crowther Centre)
  • Explicitly teach the power of routines to your colleagues Practical Classroom Management and Behaviour Management (thinkific.com)

In your next meeting, ask your team to share:

  1. Their morning routine and see how it frees up attention
  2. What a starting routine might look like in their classes
  3. Are there any consistent routines we might want to move towards as a team?

 

Happy coaching,
Mark

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Resources

The Impact of Student Engagement on Academic Achievement and Wellbeing

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Unlocking the Science of Learning

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