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Friday 8 May 2020

Love of Learning Group - 'When the Adults Change Everything Changes'

Tiff Partridge kindly writes: 

I have been reading, ‘When the Adults Change Everything Changes’ by Paul Dix ( The book first came to my attention through my children’s primary school. The head teacher there had introduced some changes to whole school policy as a direct result of reading the book. My children came home excited about ‘fantastic walking’ (one of Dix’s strategies), and so my interest was spiked.

The main premise of the book is that if you want to improve the culture of a school you need to first look at the adults in the school - their behaviour is the only thing over which we have absolute control. It’s an entertaining read which is easy to follow and has many strategies that you can take away and use in the classroom. 
The book focuses on behaviour management but by doing so it provides readers with tried and tested approaches to engage learners in the classroom. It makes the link that once learners feel safe, respected and understand the boundaries set out by adults they can truly begin to develop their love of learning.

This book appeals to me because it takes an issue that is relevant to every teacher and every school. I often work with teachers in a coaching capacity and this book shares best practice in a way that is positive, non-judgemental and insightful. The book gives a real insight into how developing a positive ethos and culture across the school, whereby adults treat behaviour with consistency and kindness, can have huge impacts on the quality of learning that takes place. 
  1. Visible Consistency, Visible Kindness: In summary the idea that what every teacher/adult in the school does matters. In order for shifts in school behaviour to take place, everyone has to play their part in a consistent approach.
  2. A recognition board: Choosing the behaviour you want to focus on in the lesson. When you see the student using that behaviour you write their name on the board. The aim is to have everyone’s name on the board at the end of the lesson. No prize, over recognition - just a realisation that the class are a team where everyone’s behaviour matters.
  3. Parent on the shoulder: I loved this expression that was given as an anecdote in the book from a deputy head teacher, it went...if you want to regulate your response to poor behaviour from the students then just imagine the child’s parent on your shoulder and you won’t go far wrong. This was in relation to a chapter that focused on the way adults speak to children and a reminder that as adults we need to not get over emotional! 

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