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Inside Teaching : June 2010
www.atra.edu.au | firstname.lastname@example.org 21 10 THINGS I'VE LEARNED... of respectful, or disrespectful, behaviour they come across inside or outside school. Setting the social climate is also about creating a guided democracy in the classroom by adopting collaboratively agreed class rules. Again, the teaching must be explicit by showing how the rules guide behaviour. Use them to guide behaviour management strategies. Develop strategies for students to solve conflicts through negotiation. It's also about developing positive relationships in the class and with each of the students. Never patronise. Model respect and expect it in return. Let your students know what your values are by your behaviour. Try to remember what it was like to be their age and tell them about it. 4Know your content and plan thoroughly, even if sometimes you have to throw what you've planned out the window because learning has taken off in another direction! Whether your teaching strategies involve direct instruction, constructivism, or collaborative, experiential, or enquiry learning, having a wide knowledge and deep understanding of the content of the curriculum being taught and the concepts, skills and attitudes you want students to learn is essential. There's nothing more disengaging for students than teaching directly from a textbook. This is when behaviour management problems surface. If students are engaged and interested, Become a learner and ask your students to help you: 'James, I really like what you've done here. Can you show me how to do it, please?' Set your teaching within the context of what you want the class and each individual to achieve, taking into account the characteristics and prior learning of each individual. 3Set the social climate. Social and emotional skills are as important as cognitive skills in achieving success in life. Every interaction every day counts. Build trust to allow confidence to grow and so that students feel safe enough to take risks, to use mistakes as a learning tool, to exchange ideas, to work effectively in groups and to develop a critical approach to learning. Children will feel more secure if they know the parameters of their learning environment -- or what to expect. Setting the social climate is about setting the parameters that will facilitate the class operating as an inclusive, collaborative community of learners. Include values such as respect and trust when creating your collaborative culture and be very explicit about what they mean by teaching through role-play, demonstration, role modelling and such like. For instance, what does respectful behaviour look like? Demonstrate it with eye contact, morning handshake, greeting, smile, and active listening to other views. Reinforce the value by referring back to it constantly and getting students to recognise examples