Yesterday I went to the TES North Education Show. I’d never been to an education show before, despite teaching for more years than I care to remember! I wasn’t sure what to expect, I hoped that there would be some useful stuff to acquire on the company stands and I hoped the speakers would be inspirational and give me some ideas that I could try in school.
First the free stuff – there were loads of companies there giving out post-it notes, pens, cloth bags, key rings, bouncy balls, stress toys,bookmarks, notebooks pencils, etc all emblazoned with their logo and catalogues – so heavy! But actual useful stuff that I could use in the classroom – very little. I personally would rather that they reduced their prices for their merchandise rather than gave me free stuff that I’ll probably never use… well, I’ll probably put all the fun stuff in my prize bag at school!
I saw four speakers in various seminars and workshops. The first was about ‘Kumon’ and it was fairly useless; I go to workshops and seminars to give me ideas on what I could use in the classroom. This workshop quoted lots of famous authors at me but never actually showed me what the product was or how I could use it at school. As the lady next to me said ‘At least we had a sit down!’ I had to agree with her – I got nothing out of it… other than a free pen, a highlighter, some postcards and half a tree of literature telling me exactly what he had said in the workshop – i.e. nothing useful!
I then went to a seminar entitles ‘A Kit-bag for Behaviour Management’, This one definitely lived up to its title. The speaker gave us a structured way of dealing with behaviour in school and as a senior teacher I’ll definitely be using her ideas and training others in her approach – I particularly liked the SAS approach!
Making playtimes better was the title of the next seminar. I’d picked this one as, along with lunchtime, it’s my least favourite part of the day at school. She made some really good points and inspired me to do some training with our midday staff. The speaker pointed out that lunchtime is the least structured part of our day in school and as a result is going to be the time when the most problems occur; we then put the lowest paid, least trained members of our staff in charge of more children than we ever have to deal with at any one time. Is it any wonder we have problems?!
By now it was late into the afternoon and I was beginning to start thinking about my long fight with the M6 to get home!
The last seminar was called ‘M for Mood and Motivation’. He certainly kept us awake – he kept interjecting little games to keep our minds and bodies awake – this could have been the ‘death slot’ of the day as most people had had enough wandering around and just wanted to get home! He made the point that many of the behaviour problems we have in school are actually caused by the mood and motivation of the children and those around them. We can tell if a child is having a bad day just by looking at their face as they walk into the classroom in the morning. We need to ensure that the work is at the right level of challenge to motivate at exactly the right level so it doesn’t become stressful or boring.
They all seemed to be saying that when children misbehave they are trying to communicate something to us – they just haven’t got the right vocabulary to do it, so they act in a way that gains them attention for doing the wrong thing rather than the right thing. It’s like a small baby initially cries for everything as it has no way of actually expressing what is wrong.
I’m definitely going to take these ideas back to school and use them – definitely a good day out. Right, I’m off to use some of my free post-it notes to write a shopping list – I’ve got my nephew coming to cook with me later!