Make the curriculum relevant!
Have you ever been in a PD or staff meeting where you weren’t interested or the subjects being discussed didn’t apply to you and you started looking through your phone or talking to the person next to you?
If adults can be so easily distracted, it makes sense that students who are bored and disinterested, and presumably have less self-control than adults, become disruptive. Much off-task behaviour in the classroom can be avoided when you make the content relevant and meaningful to the students.
Prevent inappropriate behaviour and make the curriculum relevant by:
1. Finding out what your students already know so that you are not re-teaching what they already know or teaching content that is way too difficult.
2. Building upon prior knowledge and making this evident to the students. Connect the new learning with information or understandings they already have.
3. Linking new learning to your students’ backgrounds. Personalise the learning, for example, ‘If we went to war now and had conscription as they did in WW2, who do you know that may be called up and how would that affect families?’
4. Asking open-ended questions that have more than one answer and allowing time for students to think and process. Invite multiple opinions without indicating right or wrong answers and ask students to provide reasons for their opinions.
5. Using ‘thank you’ after student contribution rather than ‘great’ or ‘well done’ or ‘love that idea’. This response shows students that you value what they have to say allowing them to feel safe and able to take risks with their learning.
6. Incorporating processing time during the lesson. Following an information session, give students opportunities to think, discuss, write, or draw in order to consolidate the learning.
7. Differentiating the curriculum by deciding how and what to adapt in:
c) product, and
d) learning environment
8. Using formative assessment to inform your teaching and to be responsive to student need.
Remember, education is about the student, not about the teacher. It is what the student learns that is of value, not what the teacher teaches.