Running the Room: The Teacher’s Guide to Behaviour

By Tom Bennett

Recommended on: 21st September 2022

Running the Room: The Teacher’s Guide to Behaviour, by Tom Bennett. This book is a masterpiece of specific advice about how to handle a classroom, written by a former nightclub manager turned teacher who has become one of the world’s leading experts on classroom management. It’s virtually impossible to summarize the many pithy insights of this extraordinary book, but this snippet gives a sense of the approach:

 “I once saw behaviour deteriorate from excellent to terrible in a matter of a few weeks. The school had a challenging demographic, but the behaviour was good because the senior staff led a team of motivated teachers in a rigorous way. Then along came a new head, whose first words to the students were, ‘I want you to see me as a friend,’ and ‘I will always give you another chance.’ Within a week, the most ambitious of students had tested his word and found that he would indeed permit anything as long as they thought he was a nice guy. Within a second week, the change in behaviour was palpable. A month later, with little support, teachers started to give up. The school went into a terminal nose spin. But it was OK: the school head moved on after a few years to another school, and no one was hurt apart from thousands of children who had their futures shredded by naivety, incompetence and the fairy tales we tell ourselves to feel good.”

Tom’s book, along with his company’s training, provides critical information that should be taught in every pedagogical program:

  • How to deal with students who are late
  • What are the best ways to work with parents?
  • Managing cover lessons successfully
  • How to tame smartphones
  • The best way to design a seating plan
  • How to start the lesson for the first time
  • Dealing with low-level disruption
  • Getting the class quiet when you – and they – need it most

Whatever your approach to teaching (or parenting), you will almost certainly benefit from this book. A bonus is that Tom is a funny, insightful writeryou’ll enjoy even as you are learning.

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