The Form of Classroom Culture: 3 Essential Strategies (Threshold, Do Now and STAR Sitting)

In my last two posts (found here and here) , I’ve tried to be clear about the essence and form of classroom culture. In this post, I will outline three key strategies (Threshold, Do Now and STAR Sitting) for developing classroom culture, why they matter and how I have led whole school change to embed… Continue reading The Form of Classroom Culture: 3 Essential Strategies (Threshold, Do Now and STAR Sitting)


The Essence of ‘Classroom Culture’: Five Elements

We can't find good answers in education unless we ask the right questions. These five elements of classroom culture have helped me ask the right questions about what makes highly effective learning environments day in day out.

The Essence of ‘Classroom Culture’

What does it feel like for students to be part of our classrooms? Is it a safe place for them to be themselves? I mean really be themselves, in a place where learning is the most important thing, not compliance; a place where rules and expectations you set make sense all the way down and… Continue reading The Essence of ‘Classroom Culture’

One year of blogging…

I actually didn’t want anyone to find this blog when I first started writing it. To be honest, I just wanted a place to organise my thoughts about being a young teacher in England who was attempting to make sense of the complexity of the classroom.  It’s now humbling to see that my blog is… Continue reading One year of blogging…

Working with children who ‘hurt’ inside

I was on duty at break time. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a little boy hobbling across the playground. It was Leo in Year 2. He reminded me of a footballer hobbling off the pitch to see the physio (me) for treatment. I turned to look at him. “Sir, I’ve… Continue reading Working with children who ‘hurt’ inside

On Defiant Behaviour

  Defiant behaviour - we’ve all had to deal with it as teachers. I want to offer one humble insight here, building upon a few experiences i've had over the past few years. To do this, I’ve amalgamated a few stories into the one I’m going to share… A critical moment... Mr Blake takes his rambunctious… Continue reading On Defiant Behaviour

(3) Classroom Relationships and The Power of Warm/Strict

This comic has been used with kind permission from Scott Hubeny. My last two posts (found here and here) have been a bit too theoretical. Here's for something a bit more practical... Stretching over three decades, research conducted by Wubbels (2013) suggests that teachers who combine maintaining high expectations for learning with ‘friendly’ characteristics (such… Continue reading (3) Classroom Relationships and The Power of Warm/Strict

(2) What makes a great teacher – pupil relationship?

In my previous post, I discussed whether teacher pupil relationships have an impact on learning outcomes. What was evident from some of the research out there is that it is essential for productive student engagement, which leads to high motivation in pupils to learn. In a nutshell, it is a fundamental component of the ‘precondition(s) for… Continue reading (2) What makes a great teacher – pupil relationship?

(1) Teacher – Pupil Relationships: How important are they?

Image from If my school was defined by it’s socio-economic context, it would be destined for poor results, dreadful behaviour and high staff turnover. On the contrary, it is none of these things. The children are polite, kind and they enjoy school (of course there are always a few exceptions). Many members of staff… Continue reading (1) Teacher – Pupil Relationships: How important are they?

Mister Tom the Master Teacher

This post follows on from two previous posts, found here and here about teaching metaphors. This is by no means a new metaphor but I think this character allows a great perspective on our role as primary teachers. Writing about where the story of ‘Goodnight Mister Tom’ came from, Michelle Magorian described how she started… Continue reading Mister Tom the Master Teacher