Behaviour can improve with greet expectations

30th November 2018, 12:00am
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Behaviour can improve with greet expectations

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/behaviour-can-improve-greet-expectations

It's quiz time, teachers. Which of the following lesson starts is better? Is it...

A. The class jostle at the door, and then melt into a line as the teacher approaches. A pile of books under her arm, the teacher greets each student: "Morning, Callum. Hello, Faye. Wait, tie ...that's better. Nice to see you, Femi. Good essay!"

The students head to their places and begin the work that the teacher has left displayed on the board.

OR

B. Gathered outside the door, the class call out, "Can we come in yet?" while a distracted teacher stoops over her computer, replying to an email that has just appeared marked "urgent".

The students make the most of her distracted state and start taking out their phones and Snapchatting each other. The teacher looks up, and then tries to calm them down and usher them into their seats.

Did you answer A? Give yourself a pat on the back and a slice of cake, according to English teacher Grainne Hallahan. B? It's the dunce's hat for you, I'm afraid.

When you greet kids at the door, she says, you can tick off many admin duties - giving books back to students, collecting homework and telling Billy Smith ONCE AGAIN that chewing gum is banned.

But, Hallahan has found, greeting pupils is also a really handy behaviour management tool.

She spoke to Clayton Cook, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Minnesota. He conducted a study which assessed the effects that greeting students at the door had on behaviour. He found that over two months, behaviour improved for those students who were greeted with a friendly "hello" as they entered the classroom.

Why should a simple welcome have such an impact? Well, it's simple. "Teacher-student relationships are critical to creating a positive classroom climate in which students feel a sense of belonging," Cook says. "People who care about one another make a point of greeting one another."

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