Book Review – Josh Lack

Book Review

This is a review of  ‘100 + Ideas for Managing Behaviour’ by Johnnie Young; Section 01: Getting to know your learners

by Josh Lack, Mechanical Engineering Lecturer, Lincoln College.

Johnnie starts by mentioning that he came into teaching after leaving a management position he had a local bank for 16 years however he states that his true passion always lied in teaching and that he wanted to inspire a whole new generation of students.

He describes his lessons as a “battleground” where:

             He has bored students

             He has to raise his voice on multiple occasions

             He has to instigate disciplinary procedures

             He has considered other lines of work due to managing bad behaviour

Johnnie mentions that he has noticed with regret “that a lot of staff in education have given up the ghost and left the profession feeling disillusioned”.

Johnnie’s book is therefore an extract of the best 120 ideas from his personal notebooks for dealing with students with challenging behaviour and that the beauty of these ideas are that they all tried and tested in a classroom environment. Some examples within this book include vocabulary a teacher may use in a particular situation and these comments are designed to make teachers aware of the risks and how best to implement strategies as to overcome this challenging behaviour.

In getting to know his learners, Johnnie uses 9 different ideas, ranging from idea 01 through to idea 09, in that order, in building up a profile of students interests. Now although as you can appreciate getting to know your learners through 9 different means will take time, patience and  perseverance however the investment into student lives pays huge dividends here note only for Johnnie’s students but also all our individual learners as a whole.

One example Johnnie uses which I would like to make special note of is, if for example, you ask your learners to write a story, students will often complain they can’t think what to write about. Johnnie’s response in this section is that many teachers in this scenario may suggest several options, none of which inspire the learners; however in getting to know the student, if for instance you know this particular learner loves ‘football’, you may say that:

“Imagine you’re playing football and you score a crucial goal. When the game restarts, you find all of the ascendancy is now with your team, what may happen next? And how may this affect the atmosphere of the game?”

Now although this is only a generic example, it is much more effective than a ‘blanket’ ‘write about anything’ approach.

Following on from this, Johnnie then uses these first 2 ideas in “knowing their names and interests” as to build a profile which uses their life targets as to motivate and elevate the importance of their work as to provide a meaningful way for the student to learn.

He then goes onto mention a section I am particular fond of in looking at student value and the worth of their work.

It is important to remember that students with challenging behavioural characteristics will often have low self – esteem and little regard for their learning, self – worth or quality of their work.

Johnnie targets this by highlighting that when a student produces a piece of work it is important to be honest and specific about how this can be improved. However I believe that we should all always remember to value our learners’ efforts and make note of the things they have done well. After all you may be the only person in that student’s life who has the chance to provide positive feedback.

Other ideas include using humour, having the correct attitude and becoming a shining example however in using these ideas it is important to remember that humour shouldn’t be used until full control has been achieved and that a comment made in jest against a learner could have disastrous consequences. Safe ground is to stick to the subject matter or simply just make fun of yourself.

One last idea I would like to make note is Johnnie’s idea of using ‘friend or foe’, he mentions that there is a tendency, especially with new teachers to be too friendly with students. Perhaps something I am honest enough to admit, I have fallen foul of.

However it is important to remember you are not a friend to the learner, you are their teacher. It is both your job and my job to lead and organise their learning environment.

I therefore believe there is happy medium here to ensure that a) you are not too strict as this will cause confrontation however b) you should ensure that you are not too friendly as students may see you as a ‘soft touch’.

In conclusion to this review, it is therefore best to work out your own rules of engagement. Develop your own classroom personality and try to pitch it towards the 9 ideas set out in Johnnie’s book of getting to know your learners. The student will prefer this because like my learners they clearly know where they stand with you and what to expect.

J Lack – 25/10/2018


High Expectations

High Expectations

As we open the doors to the new academic year, that very first meeting with your new learners offers you the chance to set high and clear expectations.

Our learners will live up (or down!) to our expectations. A plethora of research indicates that learner achievement is strongly affected by what the teacher expects. The first and most famous experiment is known as the Pygmalion effect. Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson conducted research in the 1960s which revealed that when teachers expected an enhanced performance from their students, their students’ performance was indeed enhanced.  The opposite of the Pygmalion Effect is the Golem Effect – if we expect our students to perform badly, chances are they will.

The effect of high expectations is most pronounced at the start of the academic year. This is because students tend to start a new journey with an open mind about how they will fare – and they are looking for guidance on what it is possible for them to achieve. It is our collective responsibility to make sure they hear a positive voice – full of belief and conviction that they can succeed. Moreover, it will help them to develop high expectations of themselves, and if they believe in themselves they are more likely to succeed.

Timperley and Phillips (2003) report that teachers’ expectations for student achievement become their goals for the students and shape their daily classroom decisions and actions.

Robert Marzano (2007) found that when we have high expectations of students we act differently. We call on them more often, wait longer for their answers, and give them more opportunities to succeed. For more on the Art and Science of high expectations for students, read here

my behave

How can we set high expectations in our classrooms?

Here are a few suggestions…

Convey confidence in your learners. Let them know that you believe in them and speak positively about learners to other staff.

Develop rapport with learners – greeting our learners with a smile and a hello, is very simple, but extremely effective tool. Make connections with your learners; take time to learn about their personal lives and interests

shake hands

Language is an exceedingly powerful tool.  Whether we communicate orally, or in written form, the way we express ourselves will affect whether our message is received positively or negatively

Give opportunities for all learners to contribute

Ask your learners to set their own class expectations. Have these displayed in classrooms


Doug Lemov (2015) shares further suggestions in his book, Teach Like a Champion.

Lemov suggests that teachers who have high expectations use simple positive language to express their appreciation of what a learner has done and to express their expectation that he or she will now complete the task. For example: “You’re almost there. Can you find the last piece?”

Lemov says that teachers who have high expectations “Stretch it”. In other words, a sequence of learning does not end with a right answer; these teachers reward right answers with follow-up questions that extend knowledge and test for reliability.


In this together

It is important to remember ‘we are all in this together’. Therefore, as a collective, we are tasked with making sure high expectations are met. With that in mind you might consider these questions:

What do high expectations look like in my class?

What do high expectations look like around the campus?

What do high expectations look like when teachers and learners talk?

Finally, for high expectations to have impact and value, learners need to know what they are and why they exist. The Big Welcome week is the perfect opportunity to do this. However, just doing this during the early stages won’t automatically make us world beaters.

Ensure high expectations are a relentless routine.



Dusek, J. B., & Gail, J. (1983). The bases of teacher expectations: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 75(3), 327–346.

Lemov, Doug, 1967-. (2015). Teach like a champion 2.0 : 62 techniques that put students on the path to college. San Francisco :Jossey-Bass,

Rosenthal, R. & Jacobson, L. Urban Rev (1968) 3: 16.






Reviewing Revision


As the sun comes out and the end of another (yikes!) academic year draws ever closer, our learners will be revisiting their previous work and achievements. Many will be preparing for summative assessments and referring back to their formative feedback as guidance. Many will be finding it very hard to concentrate with the warmer weather and the pressure of completing a qualification.

Whilst the dreaded word EXAMS is synonymous with revision, we all know that the reviewing of previous learning opportunities and the progress demonstrated so far is a fundamental element of learner preparation for assessments of all types.

With this in mind, your scheme of work may well include sessions set aside for revision as a means for you to review performance, gauge chances of success and work alongside learners to improve their confidence and capacity to improve. What techniques and activities do you use? And what do the experts suggest? Here is a quick overview of various perspectives on this highly relevant hot topic.

Have you tried these techniques already? Are you inspired to do something differently? Do you have more questions? Let us know via the Learning Community and let’s talk revision!


Train the Brain

Learning from psychology: how can a greater understanding of how the brain works allow us to plan more effective research strategies for our learners?

Retrieval Practice

Do you teach your learners how to remember?

Quality, Not Quantity

How much time should we be devoting to revision as teachers and learners?

What Not To Do!

Ever done lots of revision in a certain way and still not got the results you wanted?

‘APpy Christmas Day Twelve

Our final entry is a bit different from all the others, a collection of the festive events that have been taking place across the campus these past two weeks. The common denominator is that these are learner activities, most of them planned and delivered by learners and often designed in order to make a contribution to the wider community.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this series as much as we have relished putting it together. So much awesome stuff goes on around our campuses on a daily basis and these entries have been just a snapshot. Have a lovely Christmas, a restful break and here’s to more successes in the New Year! – The AP Team

Day Twelve – Merry Christmas!

Lincoln Christmas Market

Performing Arts students performing in the cathedral:

Lincoln Art students running a very successful pop-up shop:


Newark Christmas Market

Newark Art learners selling their wares to raise money for the Children’s Bereavement Centre:


Business students also had a stall, raising money for a masquerade ball in honour of Lewis Harrison Hopewell:


Fiddle Race

Where 6 teams of students compete to build a working violin in just three days. This year’s theme is “Arts Movements”:


Christmas Jumper Day

Our very own personalised video in celebration of our fundraising efforts for Christmas Jumper Day:

Newark College Musical Performance


And Finally…

The Lincoln Foundations Skills for Working in Creative Arts students filmed this for us just before going on stage to perform their Christmas panto.

‘APpy Christmas Day Eleven

We are nearing the end of our festive fiesta of celebration, and our penultimate entry presents a recap on the highlights from the day that inspired this series – #feelgoodfriday. We hope you have enjoyed this series and look forward to one final post on Monday.

Day Eleven – Feel Good Friday

fgf logo

There’s nothing quite like a Friday as I’m sure we all agree. The perfect day to celebrate the successes of the week, reflect on our practice and look ahead to the next week with a spring in our step. If you love Fridays and love learning, please consider whether or not you are a member of our Learning Community.

If so, you will already know about #feelgoodfriday.

If not, you can remedy this immediately by clicking on the following link and pressing the ‘Join’ button:

Here is a recap on some of the many highlights shared by our community of 88 (and growing all the time). A reminder for those of you who have read and contributed all year and a record of what you may have been missing out on!


Credit for the first ever entry must go to Hannah Dytam, whose post inspired first Gemma Whitelock and then Sally Reeve to firmly establish Fridays as our day for celebration:

I wanted to share a very proud moment with you. I’ve struggled with one of my FS maths groups at Newark because 90% of them were very naughty and called themselves the “Retard Group”. The class consists of the E3 construction; sport; hair and electrical students. I took over the group from another tutor in late November and they all had very negative attitudes and were convinced they would never pass (E3 – L2) so weren’t even going to attend the exam nor try in the lesson. Well they sat their retake exam on Wednesday and I don’t have the results yet but they all stayed in the exam for at least an hour, having previously only stayed for 15mins. One student even travelled from Newcastle that morning. In fact, he got the 6am train, (having never got a train before) changed at York (on his own) and then on to Newark in time for his revision session and the exam. I’m hopeful they will pass but at this moment I have never been prouder of them. Paul Staples has played a big part in helping to build their confidence and attitudes and has recently supported them on a one to one basis. I’m obviously very grateful for his recent help with them. Just wanted to share.

The next week was our first official #feelgoodfriday and some fantastic stories were shared by Jacqueline Burr, Gav Knox and Chris Newboult-Robinson who said:

I have a student at Gainsborough who was very challenging when I took the group over. He would refuse to do any work and was frequently difficult in class. We did a refresher session this morning and then moved on to some practical Carpentry and Joinery. This learner was telling the whole group all the names of the tools we would use and then did some peer training with another learner. Massive progress and a very proud moment!

Sporting Success

Michelle McGill and Gav Knox’s proud moments in a sporting context:




Sally Reeve from June:

On Wednesday a learner brought me a slice of cake. This may not seem significant to some but it is to this Entry to Education and Employment learner who a few months ago wouldn’t have had the confidence to do this and certainly wouldn’t have looked me in the eyes and told me it was his birthday.

I then went into his class and was blown away by the group who told me all about the Queens speech that was happening that day and other major current affairs.

I came away feeling inspired and proud of what happens in classrooms/learning areas here at Lincoln College. Thank you teacher – you know who you are.

Jeff Masterton from October:

I’m not a Teacher per se but support students as best I can. I have one student that has had a particularly difficult life and who recently experienced a very traumatic event that they are still suffering significantly from. As part of supporting this student I looked at the course they were enrolled on and identified an alternative I believed they would gain more from as well as giving them enjoyment. I went with the student when they met with the LSL who offered them a place on the course. As I walked with them afterwards the student couldn’t stop smiling and made the comment to me: “This is the start of my life”. I know people think I’m a big tough retired Detective but it made my heart melt and I felt very humble to have made a change in their life.

JC’s farewell at Newark College:


Glenn Cowlan with Quizziz:


Paul Staples and Kahoot:


Andy McGill using chalk pens:


Festive Fun

Donna Bright’s Christmas celebrations at Newark with her Skills for Independence learners:


And that’s just some of the posts! What a 6 months we’ve had! Thanks for reading, contributing and celebrating in our Learning Community, here’s to many more #feelgoodfridays in 2018!

‘APpy Christmas Day Ten

A short but sweet entry from Level 3 Creative Media Production at Newark College as we head towards the conclusion of our festive bonanza…

Day Ten – Joe Draghi

Joe joined the college back in 2012 and spent his first year being expertly guided through his Entry Level 3 and Level 1 qualification in Skills for Progression by Donna Bright and Penny Taylor. Sue Fairfax and Lynn Baker supported him with his Functional Skills and Julie Hallam with 1:1 sessions to aid his progress. They remember him as:

“Initially a very scared young man who needed to be met by Julie in order for him to even make it into the classroom. He was a lovely young man with excellent manners and a keen interest in comic books and Art”.

A chance meeting with Justin Day saw a discussion around his potential progression onto the Level 2 Diploma in Art & Design. Joe ended up spending two years developing his drawing and animation skills and his determination and sheer work ethic were a joy to behold. His final project was a short animated monster film that became the first ever Level 2 entry in the end of year Media Production showcase. The work in this instance is shown at the Odeon cinema and Joe’s ‘Crasber Brasber Ghost’ was too good to ignore and it did not look out of place when screened alongside the Level 3 Year Two submissions. You can see Part One (!) here:

Crasber Brasber Ghost

Joe wrote, performed, drew and animated every element of the short film and he continued his fascination with animation into his Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production. He completed the course with a Distinction grade and after a bit of cajoling his media tutors were able to get him on an open day at Confetti Studios in Nottingham. His journey from Entry Level 3 to a Distinction grade Level 3 student was finally marked by his acceptance of a place to study a Visual Effects degree at Confetti, a subsidiary of Nottingham Trent University.

It was a pleasure to see Joe rewarded for his awesome work ethic and personal progression at the recent Lincoln College Awards ceremony and Joe commented on the night that “university is hard but good fun and I wouldn’t have managed to get there without the help from my college tutors. I’ve never won a trophy before and now I have two, I will definitely be taking them to show my new classmates on Monday!”

Joe 1

Certainly a popular award winner and his development and progression is a credit to himself and all those that have helped him along the way. His final project for us (‘Old Timer Bruce’) can be found here and is a real festive feelgood film. We look forward to great things from Joe in the future!

Old Timer Bruce

‘APpy Christmas Day Nine

Our ninth entry comes from ‘A’ Levels. Enjoy…

Day Nine – Emily O’Leary

Emily O’Leary

I first joined Lincoln College in 2014 after leaving school to study the BTEC Level 3 Sport Science course alongside AS Maths and Psychology. I chose this course because it gave me the option to study A Levels as well as Sport, however I realised after a few weeks that this wasn’t the course for me. The college were fantastic at sorting out my alternate options and Steve Horsfield, my tutor at the time, arranged that day for me to see a Sociology tutor and after taking the time to listen to my reasons, I was enrolled on to the AS Sociology course instead of Sport by the end of that same day.

My first year of A Levels at Lincoln was fantastic, I had brilliant tutors and lessons and made friends that I still talk to now. The tutors throughout my two years of A Level study, as well as the consistency of expectations and course/lesson structures, contributed significantly to my academic achievement at AS and my predicted A2 grades (A,B,C). Unfortunately, during my second year I became ill and for reasons beyond my control I was unable to complete my exams. I couldn’t have asked any more of the college in terms of how they dealt with this and the support they provided. Although the college has clear expectations regarding attendance, my A2 tutor Adam Jones was exceptionally understanding of any appointments or absences that occurred during my timetable, and asked simply that he and the college be kept informed of my situation. When it came to my absence during my exams due to my health deteriorating further, tutors such as Adam and Emma Innesbeer were quick to contact me to assess the situation and see what the best course of action was for me to take. This was without any negativity whatsoever. Emma Innesbeer especially provided me with all my options from resitting my exams at a later date, applying to university through clearing or doing an access course.

 I decided to take a year out of education to focus on my health, however throughout this time I was able to keep in contact with the college and Emma, who gave me guidance on what to do in my time off and how to enrol onto the Access course in terms of loans and applications, with no bias in the decision that I was to make. The decision to come back to Lincoln College to study Access to Higher Education (Social Sciences) was a very easy one and almost without question.

From my experience of excellent teaching from Psychology tutors such as Pete Goddard and Sociology tutor Jemma Horsfield, as well as the support they provided both academically and personally throughout the my second year, I knew that this college’s environment is the one in which I am most likely to achieve my full potential. It’s for these reasons I’m also considering applying for the Social Sciences undergraduate degree at the college, a decision of which is largely influenced by Jemma Horsfield who made Sociology a fantastic subject to be a part of and inspired me to study it further.

Being back in college after my time off was initially a hard thing to do due to associating it with my ill health, however the college is just as supportive as it was before with great lessons, tutors and students, and my former tutors such as Rachel Tottenham, Pete and Jemma ensuring I feel welcomed and am getting on okay.