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Week 1: Developing a positive learning environment

This week the ECT will have focused on developing a positive learning environment and explored the research and evidence around the importance of creating a positive learning environment, explored differing learning environments within the school and to reflected upon and adapted their own learning environment as a result.

It will be useful to hold this mentor meeting in the ECT's classroom, or if this is not possible, take time to visit their classroom during your mentor meeting.

Evidence and Research:

Explore with your ECT the evidence and research they have engaged with this week.  You may want to frame your discussion using the following questions:

  • Why is the creation of a positive learning environment important?

  • Why is environment especially important for learners with SEN, in particular autism?

  • What do you understand to be the difference between physical and social environments?  

  • What do you feel are your strengths with regards to your knowledge and understanding of learning environments and the impact that these have upon behaviour and outcomes?

  • What are the challenges in creating a positive learning environment?

  • What areas would you like/need to develop further?

  • What resources might you need/access in order to do this?

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

The ECT will have visited the different learning environments in the school and evaluated these.  Invite your ECT to share their learning from this exercise.  The following questions may help frame this discussion:

  • What examples of a positive learning environment did you see around the school, both physical and social?

  • What makes these good examples?

  • Did you see opportunities for improvement in the learning environments you visited and what were these areas for development?

Reflection and Discussion

Finally, encourage your ECT to reflect upon how their learning and exploration of their setting impacted their practice.  You may want to ask:

  • What have you done as a result of this week's learning and activities?

  • Did you utilise a reflective framework to support you with critical reflection of your own practice and learning environment?  Was this useful?

Invite the ECT to share with you the changes they have made to their learning environment (it is useful to be in the ECT's classroom for this element of the meeting).  You may want to use the following questions:

  • What changes have you made to your learning environment, physical or social?

  • Based upon what evidence/research have you made these changes?

  • What has the initial impact of the changes been?

Finally, you may want to offer some feedback on the ECT's learning environment.

Week 2: Building positive relationships within your class and becoming a role model.

This week focused on the importance of developing positive relationships within the classroom and how it is vital that the class teacher are a role model to their pupils and colleagues both within and beyond the classroom.  The ECT explored the evidence linked to this as well as having the opportunity to try some 'getting to know you' activities with their class reflecting upon the impact of these and their next steps for their own development.

Evidence and Research:

Explore with your ECT the evidence and research they have engaged with this week.  You may want to frame your discussion using the following questions:

  • How does getting to know your pupils impact upon learning and teaching and ultimately outcomes?

  • What things are important to know about your pupils?

  • Why is it important that a teacher is a positive role model?

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

The ECT engaged with a range of activities this week.  The following questions may scaffold an exploration of what they have learnt and how they have adapted their practice as a result of these activities:

  • How well did you know your pupils prior to this week's learning?  How well do you know them now?

  • What activities did you try with regards to getting to know your pupils?  How did these work?

  • How might you use a social story as part of the induction of new pupils to your class? Can you show me the social story and/or the other resources you have developed? (You may want to offer some informal feedback on these).

  • What did you discover with regards to the values of the school and the expectations of the Headteacher and how do these link to your behaviour and attitudes? 

Reflection and Discussion

Finally encourage your ECT to critically reflect upon their learning and the impact of this on their practice as well as the areas they need to develop further.  Some questions may include:

  • How has getting to know your pupils impacted upon your approaches to teaching and learning?  How have you adapted your practice?

  • Are there areas that you need to further develop in order to be a positive role model?  How can I support your with this or what resources do you think you need?

Week 3: Establishing Rituals and Routines

This week the ECT will focus on the importance of developing rituals and routines within their classroom and how these will support the creation of a positive and effective learning environment as well as supporting behaviour management.  The ECT will be invited to consider the routines and rituals that they have established within their own classroom and consider their role in creating a positive learning environment and the creation of a psychologically safe classroom.

Evidence and Research:

Discuss, with your ECT, the importance of establishing rituals and routines within the classroom and invite them to share with you some of the strategies they have learnt about.  You may wish to use the following questions to frame your discussion:

  • Why is the creation of rituals and routines important?

  • Why are they particularly important for pupils with autism?

  • What are some of the strategies you have learnt about this week?  How might these work in your classroom or when might you use these?

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

This week your ECT will have looked at 'Steps for Implementation' which you can access below.  They have been asked to consider the routines and rituals that they have in place for each of the steps contained within the document.

Invite the ECT to share this document with you and lead a discussion on this.  As they share and discuss their document ask questions to ascertain their thinking behind each routine and challenge their thinking where appropraite.

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Reflection and Discussion

Invite your ECT to reflect upon the routines and rituals they have established within their classroom so far and the impact that these are having.  Questions that could frame this discussion might include:

  • What rituals and routines have you put into place this year in your classroom?

  • What has gone well? 

  • Are there any amendments or adaptions that you feel you need to or will make as a result of this week's induction programme learning?

Week 4: Setting and Maintaining High Expectations for Behaviour

This week focusses on setting and maintaining high expectations for behaviour in the classroom. The ECT will have considered the importance of establishing clear expectations around behaviour and explore different mechanisms in order to maintain the desired expectations.  This week makes links to the previous weeks learning in this module as the ECT should begin to see the synergy between environment, routines and behaviour.

Evidence and Research:

Explore with your ECT their understanding of the importance of effective behaviour management within the classroom and how this impacts pupils' learning and outcomes.  Bring together the previous weeks' learning around positive learning environments, getting to know pupils and developing rituals and routines to discuss the ECT's awareness of how each of these elements contribute to positive behaviour.  Some questions to frame your discussion might include:

  • Why is it important to effectively manage behaviour in your classroom?

  • What impact does positive behaviour have upon learning and pupil outcomes?

  • Talk to me about how environment, knowing your pupils and establishing rituals and routines support positive behaviour.

  • Tell me about other elements that can support positive behaviour e.g. self-regulation, motivation, positive reinforcement.

  • Is there any specific advise offered in the DfE Advise for Behaviour in Schools that is pertinent to our setting e.g. regarding behaviour and pupils with SEND?

  • What did you take from the video you watched and Behaviour Challenges and Autistic Students?

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

Discuss the school behaviour policy and the behaviour expectations that you ECT has established with their class and how their practice may have adapted or developed as a result of their learning.  Key questions might include:

  • Do you have any questions relating to the school behaviour policy?

  • How do you apply to the school behaviour policy to your practice?

  • Have you adapted your practice in anyway since taking time to consider how the policy aligns to your practice?  If so, how? and what impact has this had?

  • What are the behaviour expectations in your classroom? Do invite the ECT to show you these as they should have them displayed in a visual format.

  • How were these developed?

  • Have you adapted or amended these, or even introduced them as a result of your learning?  and what impact have you seen?

Reflection and Discussion

There has been a lot for your ECT to consider and reflect upon this week.  Use this element of the discussion to invite them to consider how they might apply their learning to practice and any support that they may require.  Here are a couple of questions to support this discussion:

  • What elements of this week's learning have you applied to your practice?  How have you found this?  Do you have plans to embed these practices?

  • How confident do you feel about your behaviour management?

  • Do you feel you need any support in any way?  What might this look like?

Week 5: Behaviour for Learning & Creating an Empathy Based Classroom Environment that Supports Positive Behaviour

This week the focus was on exploring the difference between behaviour management and behaviour for learning and considers the importance of re-framing language, the use of praise and reward and creating an empathy based learning environment in order to support positive behaviours. 

Evidence and Research:

This week the ECT was introduced to the Behaviour for Learning Framework (Ellis and Tod) and the EEF Guidance on Improving Behaviour in Schools (2019 & 2021). They also explored the role of giving reward and praise and how to do this wisely. Invite the ECT to share what they have learned.  

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Some questions to frame you discussion may include:

  • What do understand to be the difference between behaviour management and behaviour for learning?

  • How do you think the behaviour for learning framework and EEF guidance applied to your practice?

  • What might you change or develop as a result of this learning?

  • Are there any key 'rules' to consider when giving praise and reward?  Have you shaped your own practice as a result of reading the Association of Educational Psychologists handout?

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

The ECT has been trying out some of the approaches and strategies relating to positive behaviour management and behaviour for learning.  Invite them to share what they decided they wanted to try and ask them to explain why they chose these particular approaches and strategies.

Reflection and Discussion

From the strategies and approaches introduced the ECT has critically reflected upon two they have chosen to trial in their classrooms.  It was suggested that they might find using Gibbs' Reflective Cycle useful in scaffolding these reflections.

Invite the ECT to share their reflections with you.  As they do so ask relevant and pertinent questions to extend their thinking or offer advise and suggestions.

Week 6: Creating an Accessible Learning Environment

This week will draw together the learning from module one and explores how to create an accessible learning environment.

This week mentor support and development will focus on how the ECT has embedded their learning into practice, with the key focus being a lesson observation followed by using the mentor meeting time to hold a post observation professional learning conversation.

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

Arrange to observe the ECT.  The focus on this observation should be around their ability to create a positive and accessible learning environment.

When observing, consider:

  • The learning environment: is a positive and accessible learning environment created?

  • Teacher - Pupil relationships: has the ECT developed relationships with their pupils that support learning?

  • The teacher as a role model: is the teacher modelling the behaviours, attitudes and working practices they expect of their pupils?

  • Routines and Rituals: are clear routines and rituals established?  Are they modelled? Are they reinforced? Are they re-taught when needed?

  • Behaviour Management: How effective are the approaches to creating a positive learning environment? Is the ECT embedding into their practice positive approaches to behaviour for learning? 

Reflection and Discussion

Use your mentor meeting to hold a professional learning conversation based upon the lesson observation.

A professional learning conversation is a coaching style approach.  Rather than offering and delivering feedback, a professional learning conversation does not 'tell' the ECT what is positive and what needs addressing but uses effective questioning to scaffold the ECT in critically evaluating their practice and identifying the most appropriate targets to support their development.

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