Getting to know you

31st October 2003 at 00:00
Your forum for practical tips and ideas

Do you remember the first class you welcomed as "your" pupils? For me it was a P1 (reception) class. I have to admit that I only really got to know the children who fitted into my rules.

Over the past 15 years, I have learned to involve them in decision-making and they have taught me much. Recently introducing a new movement programme for P2 in a mainstream setting I envisaged a whole-class involvement. Class teachers visualised taking out a language support group for the programme.

I asked the children. "Let us do it first and then we can do it with the class," was their conclusion. It's true that rehearsal promotes success.

Thank you for such wise heads on young shoulders.

"Getting to know" our pupils and creating a nurturing environment hinges on getting to know ourselves. Talk with colleagues, support staff, parents and pupils to create a broader view. Take groups on visits to the classes and staff "down the corridor". This helps foster a sense of belonging to the wider school.

An important getting-to-know-you moment was when I started to share my lunch times with a P1 class I was having difficulty with. Sitting down to lunch together was like a fresh start. The pattern of frustrations was broken. It wasn't fixed over night (or over lunch), but a step was taken towards a better understanding.

Sandra Aird, network support teacher, Glasgow

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