Strategies for Reshaping Practice: The habits of the classroom #4

Embody the class ethos and outlook in concrete forms

Developing a class ethos is about by embodying values in concrete forms. This may take the form of expectations of behaviour that are on display, or the teaching of some basic sign language so that learners can say a silent ‘thank you’ to each other without disturbing others. It could include the arrangement of desks and the expectation of certain expressions of respect such as raising hands rather than interrupting each other.

  • Teachers can develop a collaborative community in maths so that all can achieve. This can include high expectations of behaviour and work, and supporting each other. It involves an acceptance that it is OK to make mistakes, ask questions and make suggestions. Seating can be changed to facilitate this shift.
  • Teachers can display a class photo frame where work that shows effort is put on display and its author is applauded and a certificate sent home to encourage and acknowledge progress.

These examples include some basic expressions of ethos. They show that it is important to be intentional, making sure ethos is embodied in some way rather than leaving it as something that is just assumed.