The hidden pedagogy (14 Mar 2012)


The hidden pedagogy
(remember on prac you’ll adopt what your mentor does as it is their class, you’ll get to experiment with aspects of these but perhaps not all)
(You'll see that every tip has a link to the theory you have been looking at in Education Foundations)
Phil’s Explanation
Get them in ready to learn
How students enter the room matters. Firstly students shouldn’t be in a room without the teacher so should wait outside. It’s best to get them lining up and relatively calm before they come in.
Sometimes, I might even use the time outside to remind students very quickly of the first thing that they will need to do as they enter the room; this means that they are able to come in and get organised very quickly and purposefully. (Valerie)
Be there
You should be there at the door when they arrive – no excuses. None at all.

Greet them
As students enter greet them, good if you know their names but even a ‘hello’ or ‘good morning’ matters
I used to make it part of my routine to ask a question at the door, sometimes personal, sometimes lighthearted, sometimes related to the homework or the previous lesson. (Steve)

Students love being acknowledged; this is an excellent strategy to use as students are entering the room.(Valerie)
It's great to see them
It's always great to see every kid - be happy that each one is there, at that time, in your class. It makes a difference for kids to feel welcome and safe. If you have to act a little it's worth it, teaching is a 'performance art' and you need to reach your audience.
I think it's really important to let students know that each time they enter the room, is a new time. I make it explicit that whatever happened yesterday, on the playground, (good or bad behaviours) does not impact on the way I, and others will treat them during this class time. (Regi)

All it takes is a smile to hook them in, to show them you care about them and their work – and your work too. (Valerie)
Have a settling activity
Have a quick 2 minute activity written on the board (in the same spot every class) that students are to do as soon as they enter. This ensures they get books and pens out as a matter of routine and there is no ‘dead’ time as they wait for others to sit down and you to start.
In my Maths classes , we had an ongoing ‘problem’ that was related to the use of the digits in the date each day – it always got kids thinking and focusing as they came in. This is useful if you need to get the roll taken at the start of the lesson, as required by some schools (Valerie)
The beginning doesn’t need to be about you
You don’t need to start every lesson with you, an activity on the board that is simple and clear can get them going as you walk around and direct them to it.

Link to the last lesson & earlier
Start every lesson by linking it to the last lesson, and / or where it fits in the unit you are covering. Students need to know how everything goes together and why they are doing things.
Yes! (Valerie)
Have key lesson steps on the board
Have the key Aim of the lesson, an overview of what you’ll be doing and any homework on the board before you begin (or very soon after).
Students really like this. It gives messages (you know where you're going, the lesson is purposeful) as well as giving specific information. (Steve)
I think this step also allows for cultural equality- there are no 'hidden' or assumed understandings of the role and place of the lesson. (Regi)
Wrap up, Pre-empt the next & later lessons
At the end always wrap up what’s been achieved and where it will go next lesson.

Link to assessment
Link the lesson to the class assessment, show how it is working towards the assessment.
Yes, let them know how the assessment exists to give them a chance to demonstrate that they're getting this stuff, that they're learning. Sometimes I found it helpful to give the message that the assessment is less a goal than a means to an end. (Steve)
Be clear on the outcomes
Be clear and open about how the lesson links to the course outcomes, especially in senior years as these are what is assessed.

2-3 distinct activities in a 1hr lesson
20 minutes on one task or type of task is enough, you need to do at least two things in a 40 minute lesson and 3 in an hour lesson to keep things moving and students attention. Students listening attentions roughly equals their age.
- This is about traditional classes, the same applies for theory in practical classes. Practical classes where students are making / doing have different needs here so consult your tutor / mentor.
And think about having two or three different kinds of activity. This is one way of catering for the fact that you'll have some students who learn by listening, others who learn by discussing in groups, others who learn by doing something with their bodies, etc (Steve)

Remember that even streamed classes will have a range of abilities and interests in them, so it is essential to have variety. (Valerie)
Kids can’t guess what is in the teacher's head
Often we expect kids to just know – but they don’t. Just because you think it is obvious doesn’t mean it is. When it comes to explanations, or expectations about tasks and work kids simply cannot guess what is in your head.
Consider the differences in worldviews and experiences of your students; foster, support and value them. (Regi).

Questioning techniques need to be varied; ‘read’ the responses of the class, and adapt as necessary. (Valerie)
Break every task down into each required step
Every task, activity, assignment needs to be clearly broken down into its constituent parts. Including open your workbook to… any ‘expectation’ not articulated will become the block for some students.

Body position matters
Where you stand and move matters. The classroom is more than the area near the board so use it all. As you move about students will ‘feel’ your presence and change behaviour if needed or ask you the question they were too shy to put their hand up about. If distractions come from the back corner walk over there, there is no rule that you should always speak from the front. Standing in the doorway at the end is not great either as you become a threat to those trying to leave. Be mindful of personal space.
Yes! (Valerie)
Speech maters
Clear, slow and good volume. Imagine a spot high on the back wall and talk to that. Make sure it’s over the kids heads that way all will hear you. Use Tone changes to signal importance or frustration.

Writing & text volume matters
The kid at the back with poor eyesight needs to read what you put up. Make it large enough and keep it straight, a good tip is to put little green dots on the whiteboard with a permanent overhead pen to guide you on size and direction, you can only see the dots right up at the board. On slides make sure the font is big enough and the side not too busy or distracting. It’s not a work of art.

Why are they copying
Copying from the board is a waste of time, it’s main goal is to get students working quietly and looking busy. What they do with the material is what matters. If they are copying from slides that’s just weird, why not give it to them electronically or on paper.
Yes! (Steve)
The whiteboard doesn’t need your explanation
Don’t talk to the board, it doesn’t need to learn and students can’t hear you. When you are writing a note or drawing as you explain something there is no need to talk, wait till it’s done then talk to it, or face the students as you write.

What will the kids be doing while…
Whenever you are talking, answering one student, sorting sheets etc etc always think ahead – what will the students be doing. They won’t sit still and just listen for an entire lesson. If you don’t occupy them they’ll do it themselves.

What did they do last lesson
Think about what they had before your class. After PE they may be tired and ‘hyped’. Have they just had three lessons of teachers talking at them, doing worksheets or textbooks – how would you feel?
This is crucial in a secondary school – always be mindful of the nature of the day your students are having: what was their last lesson; is an assembly coming up; did the weather prevent them going out to play football; is a special occasion coming up? Just taking a moment or two to articulate that and empathise is really useful - having validated their feelings will often allow you and them to work more productively than otherwise. (Valerie)
For every negative have 3 positives.
Positive reinforcement works better than constant criticism. Turn what you want to say into a positive sentence about what you’d like to see in students work rather than what you don’t want to see. Be vigilant, you may not be aware that what you are saying may come across as a criticism.

Rooms have furniture
Some activities may require you to move the furniture, plan for this and how you will get the students attention back and then back on task. Also plan about putting it back. Always leave a room as you find it.

Managing movement
If you are changing locations plan for, and clearly tell students, how you will move and the route you will take. Give a responsible student the responsibility of being ‘last’, ensure you can see everyone as you move. (PE has particular approaches here)

Instructions must be clear
Crystal, ambiguity can be a problem and will cause trouble in your lesson. If you know you have students who struggle aim your instructions at them.
Keep sentences short when giving instructions, and give only two or three at a time for those lower ability students. (Valerie)
How much you know doesn’t matter
The lesson isn’t about what you know from 3 years of university study, it’s about what students at that age can understand and what you will effectively teach them.

Be aware of your culture
Your culture has certain interpretations and assumed knowledge – not all students will share it (we’re talking SES and ethnicity here). Be mindful of any expectations of hidden meaning and explicitly explain them. On the other side don’t assume others cultural knowledge – always ask.

Each lesson is a distinct cycle
Every lesson is a mini unit plan, see it as a cycle from introducing the ideas, activities to help students understand them, checking the understanding, adjusting, clarifying and concluding.

Don’t let ‘em out of your sight
The teacher scheduled for a period has legal responsibility for the students, it’s called ‘duty of care’. Leaving the room unsupervised is not a good idea. Putting a student outside and out of sight is also not a good idea, if you can’t see them they can wander elsewhere and disrupt others or other harm.

You can cheat with a seating plan
Students will generally sit in the same spot or nearby, writing their names on a sheet with where they sit (a seating plan) can help you learn names.

Why are you sitting
There is no excuse for sitting during a lesson. You should be walking about seeing how students are working
I cannot agree more! (Valerie)
Is it really misbehavior
(not referring to broader classroom management issues) Students not working may be a symptom of them not understanding what to do, the work being too hard or perhaps they have finished

More is less
Always have more activities and material prepared. Some students may finish early or be working at a level above the others, always have meaningful work or activities for them.

The signature in the margin.
A good way to check students work is to initial the margin of their book and put the time. Then you can see if they are working.

Give students time warnings towards the end of an activity, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute. (electronic whiteboards also have digital countdown aps as well). This way students will unconsciously work towards stopping and expecting you to begin something. Stick to your countdown. Don’t just expect them to stop the instant you say to without this as they may be mid conversation or sentence – would you stop?

The slow sentence beginning.
To get students attention start talking slowly one or two words and a big pause, about 30 seconds and a few words will often then have them naturally coaxed into quieting and this gives them time to finish their sentence.

Volume down, not up.
Softer is more effective than louder, and saves your voice.

The middle is just that
The students working in the academic middle are just that, by definition there are students above it and below it. Make sure you have activities and explanations for all students.

You don’t know everything.
If you don’t know don’t make it up. Instead model how we learn, ask the student to find out if appropriate and to report back, or say you’ll find out – make sure you do and report back.
It’s not just good modelling, it’s very empowering for students, and makes them feel valued. (Valerie)
Formative assessment
Every question, quizzical look, tilted head, nod, smile, link to something else, yawn, etc is evidence of student understanding. Be alert and responsive to these.
Learn to read your students: their body language, and tone of voice – the ‘small’ behaviours – as well as the ‘big’ behaviours. (Valerie)
If you start a practice stick to it, kids like consistency and knowing what to expect.

Class Rules
With the schools welfare and discipline policies in mind negotiate class rules with the students and write them in the front of their workbooks. Also negotiate punishments and rewards with students. This gives them ownership (and therefore no recourse to argue it is unfair).

Warning systems
Stick to a consistent approach for warning about poor behaivour, such as students initials in the right hand side of the board and three ticks etc. You need not yell it out each time, just note it and tick it – they’ll know.

Reward systems
Have a consistent reward system for good work and behaivour. Have a mix of public systems to model what you want and private acknowledgement.

Stamps n’ stickers
No matter how old students always love stamps and stickers on their books for good work, even that big ‘cool’ bloke in the corner.

These are great tips, Phil! As I read them through, I kept seeing concrete suggestions that come out of the research which says that learning needs to be active, collaborative and reflective, and teaching needs to be challenging, structured and connected. (Steve)

Use a range of entry channels
Make sure your class activities use a range of entry channels, text, pictures, auditory. This breaks up monotony and meets a range of learning styles

Questioning Blooms
Make sure your questioning builds on the levels in Blooms (and reaches the top)

Using Multiple Intelligences
We often use only 1 or two ‘intelligences in classrooms’ that leaves quite a few dormant. Why not change this.

Blooms – MI Grid
Use a blooms – MI grid to map what you are doing, or give kids a choice f which tasks they do.
- see below.

Integrating technology
Will technology help out? If so use it, if not – don’t.

Planning the integration
If using technology, plan to turn it on etc, it may take time to warm up. Always have a back up plan, always!.

Have you HBMI’s
Make sure that over a series of lessons you cover the 4 quadrants of the HBMI

Not all kids need to do the same work
It is OK, and quite appropriate, for students to be doing different activities.

Additional resources:

Blooms - MI Grid: here is one I stole from Parks ACT as I figured the content:
Intelligences & Taxonomies resources
Other Blooms -MI Grids
Blooms & MI Grid blank
Toolkit Teaching