LISTEN: 'We seem to be arguing for no excuses for students, so we can have excuses for teachers' argues professor Linda Graham

20th September 2017 at 10:15

Schools are moving towards "no excuses" policies to compensate for "poor teaching", a leading academic has claimed in the Tes Podagogy podcast. 

In the third episode of the series, Linda Graham, a professor in the faculty of education at Queensland University of Technology, describes what her research suggests effective behaviour management should look like and she states that the most troubling trend she has witnessed is the growth of "no excuses" behaviour policies being imported from the US. 

Click here to listen to the first two episodes on the series on growth mindset, cognitive load and the role of research in your classroom and What does effective school assessment look like?

"I have heard this line that 'no excuses' is necessary so all teachers can teach," Graham says. "I'm thinking, so we need no excuses for students so we can have excuses for teachers? I am not going be popular for saying that, but I don't care. In the research we are doing the teacher is a variable in disruptive behaviour and I don't think that gets talked about enough."

She says the tendency to try and adopt policies from elsewhere without properly considering where that policy has come from and why it was adopted in that context is highly damaging. 

“People don’t look at the DNA of the policy, at where it has come from and the different cultural context in which it may have arisen,” she says. “Also, what will be tolerated by parents in one school will not be tolerated in another.”

In the interview, she also touches on the need for “productive discipline”, having a policy where support not punishment is central and the fact ineffective behaviour strategies 'hard-bake'  students to be disruptive. 

You can listen for free by downloading the podcast from iTunes or listening below.


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