10th August 2012 at 01:00

The problem

I am starting a new job soon, teaching secondary languages. I would like to plan a rules lesson with each class and wondered how you would suggest introducing the rules. If possible, I would like to fill a full lesson, to try to demonstrate how important I think this is.

What you said

I didn't bother with a rules lesson when I started as an NQT, as I started midway through the year. I just told pupils very quickly that they were to listen and to respect me and each other, then got on with it, but I was very firm in my lessons. It worked.


The expert view

If you want to do a "rules lesson" (and I always do with an entirely new class), here is what to do:

1. Make sure the room is prepared and as close to perfect as you can get. All equipment should be ready.

2. I put tables and chairs in rows and columns: this is the best way to create implicit authority.

3. Greet pupils at the door; keep it polite and a little formal. Direct them to the back of the room.

4. When they are all in, direct them to their seats, as per your seating plan. Have a seating plan.

5. If anyone fusses about this, take their names quietly.

6. Introduce yourself and explain what you want to achieve with them.

7. Rules. Hand them out, have them on the board - whatever works for you.

You could use the rules I put on the resources section of the TES website (bit.lyLceRxi). Go through them one by one, explaining them.

8. Then get them to stick the rules in their books. At the bottom of mine, there is a contract section that they and their parents have to sign. That is their first homework.

9. The rest of the lesson could be a mini-lesson introducing the topic. But feel no fear about starting the year as a didactic prescriptivist. They need to see that you value order and good behaviour.

10. If anyone mucks about, take names and detain. Do not forget to do this.

Tom Bennett is author of The Behaviour Guru and Not Quite a Teacher. His latest book, Teacher, is out now.

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