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Hey, Mr Tambourine Man!

Guest post by PGCE trainee

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Trial and Error

I’m a trainee teacher, two thirds of the way through my PGCE year.
I am engaging in a trial and error process of classroom management strategies, quickly realising there is no “one size fits all” approach.

I don’t want to shout

My own personal preference is to avoid using my voice if I can, however my petite stature doesn’t always give the impression of an authoritarian and so the magical stare that we’re encouraged to try is, at times, redundant. I decided to try out my own style, using something which particularly appeals to me…music.

I’m not just playing a CD

I have used music in several different ways; to immerse my pupils in a fantasy world during descriptive writing activities, to speed them up during tidy-up time etc. and so why not try it when you want to grab their attention?

Enter my new best friend, the tambourine!

One shake and you can hear a pin drop!
Now I’m not saying this will work with any group of children. It happens that some of my class were already familiar with a similar technique and those that weren’t quickly followed suit.

Set out the expectations to make it work

However by simply setting out how it would be used and what I expect of the group when they hear it, I believe I could have achieved this almost instantaneous effect without much trouble at all!
Give it a try!
For a more eccentric, boisterous class, why not go the whole hog and bring in some full-sized cymbals!
I love the satisfaction of overhearing children in my group tell others to be quiet when they see me just reach for the tambourine.

Just call me Pavlov!

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