Fighting fires or Thinking Slowly

With older students I revel in and wrestle with infinity. With younger students I am currently sucked into the reality of day-to-day behaviour management. I want to distill for myself a few thoughts.


  1. Some are fairly obvious, but weren’t originally obvious to me.
  2. These might be useful for me but useless to you.

Some things I have learnt to avoid

  • Patiently waiting for silence
  • Behaviour reflections on their own have little impact due to poor memory
  • I too often have the tendency of ignoring small things – a student has their head on the table but I just want to talk to this engaged student about what a variable is. Long-term I am shooting my aim of thinking about the learning in the foot by allowing small things to grow into big things.

Some things I have learnt to repeat:

  • I need to be enthused with the content of the lesson – this enthusiasm is infectious
  • Constant visual reminder of behaviour targets is empowering for SACs, and useful for students

    Culture board: hard to maintain but essential.
  • Students should move around lots. Even if this is switching between working at tables and then sitting around the board for class discussions, it breaks up the feeling of a monotonous lesson.
  • Assign students as experts – great boost
  • Counting down works best when in conjunction with little interjections of praise (thanks Jess for this one), “3…. Great proof of listening Abde, 2…. Lovely from Nick… 1…. 0”.
  • Start with learning aims and build activities around this
  • Students realise you care when you mark their work with care.
  • Start the lesson with rough informal ideas and gradually weave in the formal mathematical approach. If there is enough in-built support then everyone in the group can go on the same journey to abstraction.
  • Focus on successes rather than failures, to keep yourself chipper


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