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If you want to watch the full video with all of these segments in one go, you can find it here. And there are loads more of Sue Cowley’s behaviour management videos to be found on our YouTube Channel Tips for Teachers.
What stops students listening to teachers? All manner of things. Are you droning on? Say something once, and say it clearly. Have you got the children focused before you start to talk? Make sure everyone is looking and listening before you begin. Are they easily distracted? Encourage them to be still and focus visually on you or whoever is speaking.
So after you’ve learned more about how you should get children’s attention, how shouldn’t you go about it? Teachers spend a lot of energy calling out to a busy class to get children to focus on them, so how about getting them to do the work in turning their attention to you?
How can teachers quickly get a class focused and paying attention? Often, teachers find one technique that works, and stick with it. But children can soon get bored of it, and its effectiveness wanes. Instead, keep changing things up every few weeks, from silent signals to oral cues and physical movements.
When speaking to young children, your tone of voice and volume are big elements in getting your students to focus. Sue explains that you need to overexaggerate the tone so that children clearly read your meaning, and that louder isn’t always better when it comes to getting them to listen.
Whether it’s overzealously shouting out the answer first, or saying something completely off topic, children are very prone to interrupting. So how can you stop it? There’s no easy fix, it takes time and patience and involves not acknowledging (though not ignoring) interruptions. Here, Sue’s tips will help you condition interuptions out of your children’s everyday behaviour patterns.
What role does the layout of your classroom play in getting students to listen to you? Are you able to move around the classroom easily in order to interact with all of the children? Or do you have dark corners where misbehaviour and inattentiveness are free to grow? These tips will help you get the best possible classroom layout, and help group activities run smoothly by positioning children who are prone to shouting out closer to you.
Increase the chances that students retain the information you’re giving them, by keeping instructions clear and simple, and using cues to let children know when they can begin a task (otherwise they’ll try to start before you’ve even finished explaining the first part). Then it’s repetition, repetition, repetition. Don’t assume because you’ve said something once, that everyone gets it. Say it again, get children to say it back to you, just make sure everyone is on the right page.
What’s a good long-term strategy for establishing that when you’re talking, students are listening? What happens when one child refuses to listen? These simple tips can help make sure that your lessons, or that child’s learning, aren’t disrupted.
What happens when you have one particular student who is determined not to listen? There can be many reasons for this, but often it’s because they don’t understand why what you’re teaching them is relevant. So make sure they know how any piece of work is relevant to the real world, how it will help them later on, and always make it topical and engaging.
There’s no magic formula to getting every child to want to pay attention to what they are being taught, but when children have a relationship with their teacher, when they trust that what they are being taught is good for them to learn, then they’re more likely to listen. So try to build that unique relationship with every child to get the best from them.
Everything you need for every subject across Key Stages 1 and 2.