Good Behaviour or Good Teaching and Learning?

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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Which comes first, good behaviour or good teaching and learning?

This is a question I posed to my professional network, a question which had quite a lot of teachers divided about the conditions required for learning…

The Chicken or the Egg question…

Whilst we must accept that the classroom is incredibly nuanced and that it is very difficult to choose between behaviour or teaching and learning, what would you say is more important to help the other thrive? Is it possible to just choose one influence over the other, or are they synonymous? If we accept that any teacher has the required subject knowledge, what next? What skill must the teacher now master?

Take a look at the results.

As much as I love everything to do with teaching and learning and all of its complexities, no teacher cannot unlock learning without good teaching, and one cannot deliver good teaching without good behaviour from the class.

Therefore, behaviour is a precursor for learning.

The wise among us would then add that a good curriculum helps to underpin all of the above; great subject content to engage students. If a new teacher can master all of the above in their formative years, a developing teacher continues to enhance their subject knowledge alongside a widening teaching and learning repertoire.

Where to get help?

I do believe the guidance from Evidence Based Education (2020) and the latest 14 stages of effective professional development from the Education Endowment Foundation (2021) both provide a super route map for teachers and schools. If these recommendations are embedded practice, any classroom teacher will find themselves operating in a very productive space.

If you’re looking for a little help, sustaining good behaviour alongside a teaching and learning strategy will guide you. Then? For those who have all these conditions secure and embedded, learning more about memory, cognitive load and a range of retrieval practice strategies can really enhance a teacher’s classroom. The crux at this stage is the individual’s desire to keep learning, not just rely on the CPD a school decides to provide…

You can be the teacher who knows the most about your subject and every teaching and learning strategy ‘under the Sun’, but if you can’t control the class, your efforts will be fruitless…


7 thoughts on “Good Behaviour or Good Teaching and Learning?

  1. The quote at the end: “You can be the teacher who knows the most about your subject and every teaching and learning strategy ‘under the Sun’, but if you can’t control the class, your efforts will be fruitless–.” This really stood out to me that you can be smart and know what you are talking about but if your class controls the environment, then your knowledge won’t get through to them.

    1. It’s the art and science of teaching. You can know everything, but not deliver it very well. You can have the loveliest curriculum plans on paper, but little wisdom about how to bring it all to life…

  2. I believe that good behaviour is important as good behaviour will help enable good teaching. There would be an element of respect and the lessons will therefore flow. You would be able to also meet the needs of the learners throughout.

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