‘Wait for it – GO’ (or ‘ready-set-go’ to some) is a simple yet highly effective way of ensuring activities have a highly-controlled start and finish procedure. Just like the beginning of a race, all participants start at precisely the same time – when the gun goes off. This concept works wonders in the classroom setting because it provides a clean, crisp and controlled start or end for learning activities. Once every student has ‘eyes to the front’, the teacher first begins by saying, ‘nobody move until I say GO’ and then proceeds to give a set of instructions (pack up books, get this out, get that out, sit up straight etc.). Once instructions have been provided, the teacher says, ‘okay when I say go…GO’ and students are away. This technique ensures that all students move in unison and do not begin before you finish giving instructions. It is primarily used for transitions.
When the next activity is particularly exciting, students will slowly start closing folders, zipping up bags and even standing up. The ripple effect will mean a few students start the trend and many more follow. It is very annoying and distracting, and the teacher knows that students are only pretending to listen. To stop this and to prevent issues being caused by students not really paying attention to the instructions, they are instructed to not move a muscle until they hear the word ‘GO’. The time just before the GO command is a window of peak attention where 2 or 3 key instructions can be provided and reiterated.
This concept works wonders in the classroom setting because it provides a clean, crisp and controlled start or end for learning activities.
Teachers can also employ this technique in conjunction with timers and countdowns to add a sense of excitement and urgency. For example, the teacher might wait for the exact second that the clock turns 9:45 and then allow students to begin the activity. Students have precisely 15 minutes (until the strike of 10:00).
Hint: Teachers can make a game of this technique. Once the teacher has finished talking, some of the class will assume that they can now begin – they are sorely mistaken. The teacher calls everyone back and says ‘I didn’t say GO yet – come back and sit down (insert a smile or 2) – back (pointing to the seat) – come on, sit down…okay wait for it – Start (students move) – ah-huh tricked you – okay GO’.
Adam Green is an advisor to government, a registered teacher, an instructional designer and a #1 best selling author. He is completing a Doctor of Education and was previously head of department for one of the country’s largest SAER (students at educational risk) schools. Adam is managing director of ITAC, an accredited training provider for thousands of teacher aides every year.
Source: Behaviour Management Skills and Strategies for the Modern Classroom: 100+ research-based strategies for both novice and experienced practitioners.
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