Covid 19 and Classroom Management
Covid 19 and Classroom Management
I know…what an interesting topic you are thinking! Just bear with me…..hang on in there. There might be something for you.
Do you know what one of the main concerns is for the Government at present? (Apart from the obvious!). It is to do with compliance. How to make the nation obey the rules without coercive measures which impact on everyone and negatively affect the nations well being and mental health. They want to govern with consent. So now you might see a parallel with your classroom? More later.
The problem the Government has it that it has squandered a lot of the trust we had in it. They no longer have the authority to issue rules and expect they will automatically be followed. This is much more noticeable now than in the previous lockdown. Why? Well perhaps because we have seen our politicians and their advisers squabbling about who sits where at meetings, flouting their own rules and generally lowering the confidence we have in their authority. Do they know what they are doing? we ask ourselves. We have all seen the endless news conferences/briefings with new rules and regulations and they no longer have the dramatic impact of earlier. When Boris or Michael or Dominic or Matt speaks to us now, they receive a more cynical reception than in March. We seem to have more respect for the scientists but confidence levels in our elected representatives are lower. It might be significant that in the USA, where they face more serious issues than us, the administration has taken a fairly cavalier attitude to the pandemic and there is a less compliant population. The more carefree attitude to Covid is a reflection of their leaders’ attitude.
Just imagine if tomorrow’s briefing was given by a figure of great authority in the nation-someone we trusted and respected. It would mean more to us listening and a greater likelihood of us obeying the rules without being forced to do so. Even in local areas there will be people who can engage with their local area and pass on a message which would be listened to.
I hope you can see some parallels with the way we teach. In a survey conducted among Secondary pupils a few years ago, they were asked- ‘what makes a good teacher?’. Here are some of the responses-
‘Someone we can trust’—TRUST.
‘They know their subject’—AUTHORITY.
‘They are honest about their weaknesses’—HONEST.
‘They talk to us without condescension’—OPENNESS.
‘They want the best for us’—ASPIRATION.
They went on talk about how the best teachers link work to life and go the extra mile to encourage their charges. The result of a relationship like this is a compliant and busy classroom where the pupils see the point of being there and want to get on. Although there have to be rules and systems in place, there is less need for coercion. They are more self-motivated, and the critical thing is that they want to please their teacher because they know he or she is working hard for them. A good teacher knows what they are doing and this breeds confidence in the classroom. We all work in different settings, some more difficult than others, but I believe these underlying principles can serve us all well. As any teacher develops confidence and trust among their pupils, they increase their own authority and make their job easier.
My advice to Mr. Johnson and others is to go back to first principles to reestablish a positive relationship with the nation. To be consistent and honest and not be afraid to admit the occasional mistake. That is more likely to make the ordinary man and woman work with the state to reduce transmission.
Produced by Michael Mckeever, 1/12/2020