Primary Blogging

Collecting blogs about primary education

Touchpaper problem #5: How can I start a lesson well?

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Improving Teaching

A bad beginning makes a bad ending.
Euripedes, Aeolus

I have demonstrated my epigram more times than I like to remember; almost every unsuccessful lesson I’ve taught has started badly.  Whatever the cause: a disorderly entrance (latecomers, a fight at breaktime, my being distracted), a poorly pitched hook (inaccessible, uninspiring or poorly connected to the lesson), or my own disorganisation (inability to connect the computer, missing worksheets, lost books) the result is the same: a gradual, collective realisation that the lesson is spiralling out of my control.

In the hope of diminishing the incidence of such lessons, the fifth of Laura McInerney’s seven touchpaper problems runs: what are the necessary and sufficient conditions under which students will enter a classroom and most speedily engage in productive problem-solving?

At next Saturday’s touchpaper problems party I will be facilitating the group tackling this problem.  I’d planned to avoid pre-empting discussions and synthesise what I’d learned by blogging subsequently.  However, having…

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