Incredible Years Teacher Training Session 1 - 3
In February I attended session one of the Incredible Years Training course. A course I had heard a lot about through friends, colleagues, my parents, and RTLB. It came highly recommended and I knew that it would be something that I would learn a lot from, as a beginning teacher.
I was right. Session One focused largely on the importance of building positive relationships with students as well as parents.. This could be done in a number of ways:
- Modelling positive behaviour as a teacher
- Simple things such as daily greetings and farewells- something you often overlook yet it is so simple.
- Developing trust and responsibility
- Having special one on one time with students who may need that extra support and care.
- Positive phone calls home to parents.
This was super inspiring to me, and I couldn’t wait to get started using a few of these techniques. I knew I had strong relationships with my students. But I knew I could do more. After session one I began being aware of just how important that parent teacher partnership is. I made an effort to call home for the good things, and am beginning to use things such as happy grams to send positive notes home to parents when their children have done something extra special at school. I have also made a warm fuzzy notebook for each student where each week I write something positive in which I have noticed for that week. Eventually hopefully I will get parents on board too and they can write something. The smiles on the students faces when they read these each week make the couple of hours spent writing the night before worth it! In Ngakaunui we also began implementing a ‘What’s on Top’ daily circle time. This gives all students a chance to share how they are feeling in the morning before school. It is nice to know what they are thinking about and if anything is bothering them. Again, building those positive relationships.
In Session One we also spent time discussing how to be a proactive teacher. This covered things such as:
- Classroom/hub rules being displayed and referred back to constantly
- Schedules and routines kept consistent
- Having clear commands and reminders
- Preparing students for transitions
- Arranging your classroom in a way that sets students up for success.
When reflecting on this I realised that although we had made a class treaty together, this was not displayed so that it could be referred back to. Mel and I also discussed the need for consistent rules throughout our hub rather than individual class ones. This meant that we would all be speaking the same language. There is also great need to follow through with praise as well as consequences. If there is no follow through then students are neither reinforced for compliance nor held accountable for non-compliance.
I knew that I would get a lot from this course and was already looking forward to session 2!
Giving Attention- Encouragement and Praise
- Promoting self esteem
- Social, Persistence, Academic and Emotional Coaching
- Proximal Praise
- Specific and labelled praise
After this session I became conscious of the fact that more often than not the majority of attention is given to that of negative behaviour rather than positive behaviour. This therefore then reinforces the negative. We discusses having visual prompts around the classroom to remind us as teachers to be constantly praising those students displaying desired behaviour. Something that doesn’t always feel natural but is so important. Children learn what behaviours are expected through what we give attention to.
I also learned about coaching. There are many different types and we an use it depending on the situation and outcome that we may want. Two types that I am wanting to try in the classroom are:
Academic Coaching: Often as teachers we want to be asking students a lot of questions. Yet when coaching the importance is on using descriptive comments rather than questioning. Kind of like a running sports commentary. We describe their actions, and model words or language for them to expand vocabulary.
Persistence Coaching: Here we describe when students are working hard, concentrating, being calm, or staying patient when working on an activity. We describe persistence with a frustrating activity by trying again, sticking with it and staying focused. Encourage students problem solving skills rather than giving the solution ourselves- as we so often do when we see students struggling and needing help.
My goals to work on after session two were:
1. Use persistence coaching when students are finding learning tasks hard- help guide them through it
2. Social coaching can be used out on the playgroup and during lunchtime games
3. Continue to be contacting parents for positives.
Motivating students through incentives
- Individual incentives
- Sharing success with parents
- Working as a team to earn class rewards
Last Thursday at the latest IYT session we spent the day talking about how to implement successful incentive schemes in the classroom. There was discussion around incentives vs bribes. The key difference here is that incentives after given AFTER the behaviour, whereas bribes are given BEFORE. Therefore usually after bribes are received the behaviour is more like to reoccur as they are given straight away without being earned.
After spending session two discussing the benefits of praise, our team leaders then stated that praise alone may not be strong enough for our students. Especially if praise is infrequent at home, it may make the students uncomfortable at school. This is where incentives come in.
The first thing we as teachers need to do is identify one or two positives behaviour we want to increaser, This could be as a class, or with an individual according to particular needs. We must work together to select the reward and it is important to know that not all students have the same currency. This is where your knowledge of your students comes in. Not one shoe fits all. If you are unsure what incentive your student(s) may respond to, converse with the parents, they know them best!
At Gilberthorpe we as a school use fish tickets as an incentive when students display our school values. The reward is being drawn out of the fish bowl to earn a reward such as free time. At the end of the term the Top fish in each class gets a special lunch. After talking about what other schools use as an incentive programme, ours seems like a pretty strong one. Our students respond well. But sometimes they may need more,. As said before, not all students will respond in the same way. This is where individualised incentive programs come in, or spontaneous rewards for whole classes.
An important aspect of incentive programmes are to not confuse them with consequences. Eg Give a student a fish ticket, and then take it off them.
My Goals after session 3 are to:
1. Let parents know when students are getting assembly awards
2. Students vote on which student gets our class values award
3. spontaneous rewards in our classroom.
Bring on session 4 in June!