Blog Archive

Friday 22 May 2020

'When the adults change, everything changes' - let's revisit and retrieve!

Isn't it wonderful when a plan comes together? When posts that have been written, prompt further discussion, questioning and research. This week, Gemma Gilpin has taken up the baton (had to include a PE teacher metaphor somewhere) and has offered further insight into this wonderful book by Paul Dix, that Tiff Partridge kindly reviewed for us two weeks ago. This spiraling and revisiting of knowledge and discussing is retrieval practice at its best! Look at Mangotsfield go!

Gemma expertly writes:
“If you want to create an inclusive school where children’s behaviour is not only managed but it is changed as well, then you should not miss out on reading this book.” Sue Crowley, Teacher and Education Author. This quote alone sums up the reasons why I chose to read When the adults change everything changes: Seismic shifts in school behaviour by Paul Dix. Published 2017. The book consists of 11 easy to read chapters each including a ‘watch out for’ ‘testing’ and ‘Nuggets’ section.  Which gives an easy reference of things to be aware of and things to try out in your own classes.

I selected this book to read as it interested me to read about how our behaviours (as teachers and parents)impact upon the behaviours of our children in our presence. This is because I believe the relationship you have with students is key to unlocking their full potential and empowering them with the confidence to create and then chase their dreams.

Very well put Gemma! Gemma has then provided very useful chapter summaries. I particularly enjoy her approach to providing this synopsis as for me it allows a quick identification of which chapters might be most applicable to my CPD right now.

Gemma summarises:
  1. Chapter 1 looks at challenging the thinking that respect for teachers should be given rather than earned.  It examines the importance of meet and greet and how consistency from all members of staff is key in maintaining expected behaviours that demonstrate respect for others as well as property/surroundings. 
  2. Chapter 2 investigates behaviour sanctions and rewards and explores the benefits that can be achieved from having a single behaviour based goal for the class.
  3. Chapter 3 questions the value of an electronic reward token compared with deliberate effort such as a thoughtful remark.  It advocates the use of positive notes to recognise behaviour that is above and beyond, and how sharing this with parents and other key adults (HOD/HOH/SLT) can maximise their impact. 
  4. Chapter 4 surmises that the good behaviour seen in the classrooms of the teachers that make it look easy is gained as a result of students knowing that good behaviour over and above will be noticed and rewarded and that poor behaviour will be addressed with a non-emotional and appropriate response.
  5. Chapter 5 recommends the combination of classroom routines and use of positive encouragement is key to behaviour management.  Stating that in fact those teachers who seem to have something you don’t, that can magically improve a class's behaviour have actually spent time on having clear routines.
  6. Chapter 6 outlines the benefits of having a script when dealing with students that are being especially challenging/digging their heels in.  The writer concludes that having scripts keeps conversations short, not allowing the student to take more time from learners and helps you remain calm and avoid outburst which undermine your efforts.
  7. Chapter 7 explores sanctions and the punishment system.  It encourages teachers to avoid ‘chasing secondary behaviours’ and this either escalates the initial issue or allows the student to avoid being accountable for the first behaviour. The writer challenges the reader to remove lengthy detentions with restorative meetings instead (
  8. Chapter 8 gives champions the benefit of restorative conversations adding a walk and talk can be as powerful/beneficial as holding it in a more formal setting.  It highlights that the focus should not be on gaining an apology.
  9. Chapter 9 proposes that kindness is sometimes the best way to deal with angry learners (and parents). Reminding the reader of some of the trauma suffered by students and how that links to their behaviour.
  10. Chapter 10 maintains the need for everyone to know the rules and concludes this is achieved by them living every day in conversations between the adults and learners rather than being on posters.  It recommends having 3 simple rules that are interwoven with the school values and emphasises that the key to the chosen rules are that they have been formed through sincere collaboration with all stakeholders.
  11. Chapter 11 invites the reader to make a 30 day pledge and that sharing these pledges with others will make them easier to achieve.
Thank you so much Gemma for taking the time to provide such a clear synopsis. I particularly took time to reflect on the 30 day pledge and considered what it might involve for me. Following a particularly difficult conversation with my six year old yesterday, whose facing home learning burn-out, my pledge is to 'Consider his frustrations at the monotony of the situation and to provide variety and creativity in his days to ensure the main focus is fun and happiness'. By sharing it with you all, you can hold me accountable! This is a great 3 minute read on what your 30 day pledge could be if you wish for further reading over half term:

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