Freeze! Stop talking! Listen!
What's going on?
All in good time. I need your rapt attention. Only then will I start to explain what we're doing next.
Ah-ha! I see you're practising giving instructions to an unruly class. May I join in?
I will not respond until I have your full attention. I am being calm and reasonable, with an even tone of voice. I will neither shout nor scream. I will simply employ my teacher's stare and my infinite patience. Do you understand?
Do not interrupt - or we will have to start again. Follow me. I am the focus of your attention. These waving arms, raised eyebrows, this board with animated graphics, are all here to grab your attention.
Now I will explain our objectives, give examples of final products and evaluations in line with the national curriculum.
But can I...
No! I have here a detailed worksheet explaining the task showing clearly where you might find answers, giving examples of what is permitted and what is not.
Is there anyone who does not understand?
Good. Now I'll give you an example of what I'm looking for based on your prior learning and experience before inviting final questions.
Not yet! I will give you a minute to settle down while strolling among you in a firm, reassuring, yet faintly patronising fashion.
Finally I will impose a studious silence.
Now you may start your creative writing.
Duncan Grey is author of 100+ Essential Lists for Teachers and Getting the Buggers to Learn (Continuum)