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Behaviour bites – Transform your classroom transitions

School science class watching a demonstration being given by their teacher

Exercise better class control with this series of bite-sized behaviour tips from Robin Launder…

Robin Launder
by Robin Launder
diagram of a triangle with centimetre measurements
DOWNLOAD A FREE RESOURCE! KS3 Geometry – ‘Pythagoras’ theorem’ Task sheet

As every teacher knows, periods of transition have the potential to trash your lesson.

All that lovely calm and focus can go in an instant, replaced by students wanting to chat to their mates, swing on their chairs, check their phones – the list goes on.

Even in the absence of any misbehaviour, transitions are still dead time. The longer they take, the less time there is for teaching and learning.

It follows that transitions deserve special attention. In fact, the trick with transitions is to view them as activities in their own right.

We wouldn’t let students perform an activity without some planning on our part – likewise, we should pre-plan our transitions. At the very least, do this:

  • End the previous activity crisply, and instantly start the transition
  • Have your own resources organised and ready to use
  • Have the students’ resources organised and ready to use
  • Hand out resources when students are engaged in work – they’re not to be touched until you say so
  • Issue instructions clearly and succinctly (rehearse them beforehand)
  • Teach routines for giving out and collecting in work, items of equipment, etc.
  • Begin the next part of the lesson promptly

By viewing transitions as activities in their own right, you can rid your classes of dead time for good.

Robin Launder (@BehaviourBuddy) is a behaviour management consultant and speaker; find more tips in his weekly Better Behaviour online course – see for more details

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