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What Teachers Tapped This Week #53 - 1st October 2018

30 September 2018

Folks, a new week is here! Will you be one of the 45% tappers who have technology fail on any given day. Or are you among the 10% who attend assembly every day? (1 down, 4 more to go!)

As ever, it’s Monday so we have all the usual learning goodness from your answers this week….

1.Hypothetical Choices for Hypothetical Children

We’ve been asking lots of hypothetical questions to try and elicit your preferences for the kinds of schools you’d like to work in or send your (hypothetical) children to.

A simple way to figure out preferences is to ask people if they would send children to the school where they currently work.

Teachers seem reasonably in favour of the schools where they teach, BUT there are big differences depending on the FSM and Ofsted rating of the school. 

Remember these two things are correlated so whilst it tells us that teachers are concerned about the quality of student experience at high FSM and poorly-rated schools, it doesn’t necessarily ‘prove’ that Ofsted is identifying true problems.


Behaviour or Workload?

Where teachers want their children to attend might be different to where they choose to work, however. We therefore set up a test between two schools. One with a low workload culture, but disruptive behaviour; and one which had longer hours but impeccable behaviour. 

Points of note:

First, people who are currently experiencing a lot disruption in their own classes don’t seem to be any different in this choice compared to other teachers, which was a surprise.

Second, we presumed that new teachers would be desperate for better behaviour in their classes. Actually, they were the least likely to choose impeccable behaviour! Is this part of a millennial preference for shorter working days?! One for us to watch…

Younger teachers have tended to crowd into schools with more challenging behaviours. In part it was felt this happened because the schools couldn’t attract more experienced teachers. It is possible this is true, given that a preference for good behaviour appears to grow over time, but it may also be that younger teachers simply prefer working in those schools too!


2.The First Month of Behaviour

As part of our continued quest to look at the way behaviour patterns work in schools, we are now on Week 4 of the Big Friday Question:

It looks like things got a bit better last week

At Teacher Tapp we’ve been discussing how we think the trends might play out. One hypothesis is that more experienced teachers will always recover better from bad weeks and will tend to converge towards a more consistent pattern, while newer teachers remain spikier.

The graph below shows how many teachers have struggled with bad behaviour every week (dark red, on the right) and those who have had good behaviour every week (dark green, on the left).

This shows again the differing likelihood of behaviour disruptions in classrooms. Note that no group gets away without any disruptive behaviour – but the consistency of smooth-running lessons increases with experience. 

We are going to carry on asking this question and tracking across the weeks. Please do get colleagues to sign up and be answering each Friday so we can make the data as rich as possible.


3.Does anyone leave teaching because of behaviour?

Since Laura wrote a column for Schools Week about the possible impact of behaviour on retention, TT fans have been debating the likelihood that teachers really do leave because they can no longer cope with pupil behaviour (especially if they are not supported to cope). 

Several teachers pointed out they didn’t know anyone who had left teaching because of pupil behaviour. We wanted to find out how common this was. 

Of course, we are dealing here with what one group of people recall about what other teachers told them. This data is not necessarily great at telling us what’s really affecting decisions (the day-by-day data we are collecting is better for that) – but it shows that a majority of teachers (65%) at least believe colleagues have left due to behaviour. It’s therefore no surprise that so many teachers flag behaviour as an issue affecting retention. 

Not all teachers are equally likely to know someone who left due to behaviour.  

Most primary teachers in wealthier areas have never worked with someone who left because of behaviour issues (60% picked ‘none’). The opposite is true in secondary schools in the poorest areas (76% said at least one)

Again, we see an Ofsted correlation here too:

Although note how even Outstanding secondary schools still appear to lose staff due to behaviour at higher rates than poorly-rated primary schools. 


4.Is teaching for extroverts?

Teaching involves an awful lot of interaction with an awful lot of people for several hours every day. For that reason, it can seem like a job that suits extroverts – i.e. the personlity type who are energised by the external world rather than their own thoughts. 

BUT when Becky looked at personality traits in a social survey a while ago, teachers didn’t seem more likely to be extroverts than the general population.

Research has also shown extroverts are not more likely to be effective teachers AND introverts not more likely to quit teaching.

Nevertheless, the myth persists…

Although less so at primary…

And less so among more experienced teachers, who are the ones responsible for hiring. 

So at least there’s that!

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5. Finally, as ever, we learned that you really love our daily tips, so here are the links for last week:

Five tips for managing behaviour

9 common cognitive biases

Effect sizes: are people using them correctly?

Stop and shirt school leadership

The 4 messages pupils need to receive

Marginal learning losses

Handling your NQT year

Right folks – over and out for another week…

In the meantime, keep sharing what we are doing. Here’s a powerpoint slide (with script), a PDF, and a black-and-white one-pager to help. 

Remember, we need more of you before we can do the really exciting and detailed analysis!

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