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During my training year many moons ago, I recall one particularly engaging and popular teacher within the school meting out consequences to a student – let’s call him Leon – who had significantly disrupted a group task by not waiting his turn to speak, not attending to anyone else’s comments and by dragging the group off task at every opportunity.

Spend lunch time with me for the next two days to understand respectful, helpful conversation.”

She wasn’t joking. For the next two days Leon sat with her and ate sandwiches and gamely chatted about his interests, his experience of school, and how his behaviour towards others impacted learning and could be improved.

While the term would have been unknown to this teacher, what she had done through her own insights was to respond to Leon’s need to be taught effective learning behaviours – in this case, turn-taking in conversation, active listening, and so on.

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