By Denis Hayes
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Additional resources for Learning and Teaching in Primary Schools (Achieving Qts)
On the first morning I was literally trembling with anticipation. I was a shy girl and had never had a male teacher before, so I did not really know what to expect. My mum sensed that I was unsettled but assumed that it was just ‘new term nerves’. I said nothing to her. I walked into the classroom as quietly as possible. Mr Clerk was chatting to a few pupils in the corridor and I slipped past like a ghost, hoping that he wouldn’t see me. After we had all settled he strolled around the room and tried to remember everyone’s name.
A characteristic of effective teachers is their ability to evaluate the position and adjust their teaching accordingly. Some groups of pupils are invariably attentive, bright-eyed and eager to learn; others are much harder to involve. Yet even the hardiest learners are capable of losing interest and becoming distracted. To ensure that every pupil is participating, the use of ‘wake up’ strategies is sometimes appropriate, including a short song or recitation, read my lips, Simon Says, etc. It has also been claimed that what has become popularly known as ‘brain gym’ (using specific physical movements to clear neural pathways and improve mental and physical coordination) is useful to stimulate pupils’ minds.
3 Enhancing the adult–child relationship Brown and McIntyre (1993) summarised their research on pupil perspectives by suggesting that the best teachers: 22 Characteristics of effective teachers . . . . . create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere; retain control; present work in a way that interests and motivates pupils; provide conditions so pupils understand the work; make clear what pupils are to do and achieve; judge what can be expected of a pupil; help pupils with difficulties; encourage pupils to raise their expectations of themselves; develop personal, mature relationships with pupils; utilise personal talents in teaching.
Learning and Teaching in Primary Schools (Achieving Qts) by Denis Hayes