We didn’t used to talk about a “climate for learning”. I think we just called it behaviour, or discipline, or keeping control. But climate for learning isn’t a bad phrase, and perhaps it tells us a bit more than we realised.
Through the various incarnations of my teaching career, I have always been fascinated by those classroom elements that are most intangible – in particular, the sense of magic when watching great teachers at work.
When I trained in Leicester all those years ago, I remember my tutor, Bryan Palin, taking the class that, by common-room consent, was deemed the toughest group in year 8. I looked on from the sidelines as he coaxed and chivvied, encouraged and cajoled, and then, with apparently effortless self-belief, looked wordlessly at the pupils and brought them to hushed order.
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