Course notes

19th September 2003 at 01:00
Merian Bestel, an English teacher at the Malling school, Kent, has learned to control her class

Course Managing Classroom Behaviour, led by Owen Booker.

Provider SfE (

Venue Novotel, west London.

Cost pound;225, plus VAT, paid by her school.

Why did you go?

I'm South African and came to teach in the UK about 18 months ago. The children here are very different; they don't have the same level of discipline and it was causing me problems. A colleague, also new to the UK, found out about it, and felt it would be useful.

What did it promise?

"Over 80 practical strategies and techniques that can prevent confrontation in the classroom."

Did it deliver?

Yes. There were helpful ideas about organising seating plans to give you maximum control. And good advice about getting to know your pupils outside the classroom, and making the most of support structures in your school.

Highs and lows Discovering that other people face the same difficulties. There were also excellent resources to take away. But we were pushed for time. The low point was realising that I could have gone on it a year ago and saved myself a lot of trouble.

Course leader

I liked his style. He knew his stuff, but let us do most of the talking. We came up with our own ideas - usually working in groups.

Message, motto or mantra

You are in charge. You just need to assert your authority.

Best advice

If you want a class to quieten down, start counting aloud. Don't tell them why. By the time you get to four there won't be a sound.

Has it made a difference?

Absolutely. I now spend my time teaching, not battling discipline.

Coming your way?

SfE plans to hold further such courses in the spring, with venues to be decided. They also organise training days for groups or LEAs.

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