What can you do to help pupils stay on task after an interruption?
Ways To Wait
A parent is hovering at the door, a colleague pops in to ask a question – pupils often ‘forget themselves’ whenever there is an unexpected interruption and find it the perfect opportunity to go off-task!!
- Get yourself a push lamp (Ikea have these!) or a touch lamp of some kind is great.
- Explain to the class that interruptions WILL occur from time to time. Ask them to share ideas about what they think they should do if an interruption occurs – call these ‘Ways to Wait’.
- Explain that when an interruption occurs, you will turn on the lamp. When the lamp is on, the pupils should remember the ‘Ways to Wait’.
- Put it into practice, praise success and enjoy a feeling of pride when an interruption happens, and your class doesn’t descend into chaos!
Why is it a good strategy?
- Pupils often WANT to please, but if they don’t realise how important it is to keep focussed (even when your attention is taken for a moment) they won’t even consider it!
- This strategy builds class rapport, helping pupils to feel a sense of collective pride achieved by acting respectfully.
When you first embark on this strategy, ask a colleague to spontaneously pop in or call, so you can practise just after you’ve introduced the idea. This will provide pupils a chance to show off their understanding of the strategy.