About Dan Whittaker:
- Lecturer in primary initial teacher education, University of Worcester specialising in computing.
- Over 10 years experience working in some of Birmingham’s most challenging and economically deprived schools.
- Doctoral researcher at University of Birmingham – researching pupil-teacher relationships.
- Expert in ADHD and Tourette’s Syndrome in schools. Mentored teachers and families across a range of contexts.
- Delivers CPD and lectures to undergraduate and postgraduate trainee teachers.
- Won the HSBC Link2Learn International School of the Year Award 2012/13 while international leader at Jervoise School.
Why this blog?
You can’t teach anything if you haven’t nailed good behaviour. You can’t have good behaviour without good relationships. And ‘don’t smile until Christmas’ isn’t good for your mental health.
British education today is focused so much on statistical outcomes that concentrating on the relationships isn’t a sustainable option for most time-pressed teachers.
Teachers get piecemeal support in developing classroom relationships. It’s often either ad hoc, mantra-ridden advice such as ‘zero tolerance approach’, ‘model expected behaviour’, and the aforementioned ‘don’t smile until Christmas’ or a full on ‘we’ve got a growth mindset / SEAL / character education scheme of work’ that is offered. While the former is too vague to be useful, the latter is too overpowering and time-consuming to be sustainable.
That’s where this blog hopes to help. Building good pupil relationships and behaviour doesn’t take huge amounts of time and planning and it can be developed one layer at a time, as bricks would be laid when building a house. Layers of techniques, scripted responses and snippets of communication make these relationships tall and stable. This blog will seek to give practical ideas (backed up by science and evidence where possible) that can be drip fed into your practice without any pain.
My doctoral research and network of international schools that I travel to and work with allow me to tap into the newest, bravest and wildest ideas in education. My vast experience working in some of Birmingham’s most economically deprived schools helps me to focus them on the context we teach in. I hope this results in a blend of coherent, exciting ideas that are adopted easily in your classroom.
Above all, I write this blog to help other teachers develop happy, successful class climates. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy researching and writing.