Time without pressure

15th February 2008 at 00:00
There's 60 minutes in a hour lesson, or was that 45? Sue Cowley recommends your own time and motion study in class.

Timing lessons is a tricky skill to master, with plenty of margin for error required. Children are contrary creatures - if you assume they need 10 minutes for a task, it's guaranteed they'll complete it in two.

Some lessons are a sprint through several activities; others a slog through a single task. Many new teachers try to fit in too much, with an unseemly dash to include it all. With experience you get a "feel" for what can be covered in the available time.

Be realistic about how much lesson time you have. Knock off five minutes to get everyone settled, a bit more for admin, some for a plenary and setting homework.

Before you know it, an hour's lesson has dwindled to a paltry 45 minutes. And that's assuming you don't have to wait for the pupils to be quiet.

Worst is when the bell goes while you're trying to squeeze in one last activity. Do your pupils wait meekly or does the entire class scarper? That's a good measure of your classroom management skills.

And the best advice? Buy an accurate watch with a large face. Be aware of the time, and of how quickly it can run out.

- Sue Cowley is an author, trainer and presenter. Her latest book is Getting the Buggers into Drama (Continuum). For more information, visit www.suecowley.co.uk.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today