100 Percent

Teach Like a Champion Technique 36: 100 Percent

There’s one acceptable percentage of students following a direction: 100 percent. Less, and your authority is subject to interpretation, situation and motivation.

  • To achieve this requires discipline that is positive and invisible i.e. a matter of habit.
  • The first step is to notice how many and which students respond to your direction.
  • The second step is not to tolerate partial compliance.
    • The follow on from this is to ensure that the compliance you are asking for is just and necessary for learning.
  • Three principles help to achieve 100 percent:
    • Use the least invasive form of intervention
    • Rely on firm, calm finesse
      • Make clear that you are commanding obedience because it serves your students, not because you require it.
      • Be strategically universal and impersonal
      • Catch it early
    • Emphasise compliance you can see
      • e.g. asking for pens down and eyes on your is good because you can see whether students have done it
      • Be seen looking, and narrate your scan of the room
      • Avoid partial compliance
      • Use unacknowledged behavioural opportunities (such as call and respose) to embed compliance without students recognising it.


Teach Like a Champion Technique 35: Props

Public praise (e.g. two claps) for students who take risks or do something good in the class.

  • The key is investing time at the outset to teach students to give public praise the right way. It should be:
    • Quick
    • Visceral (no words)
    • Universal – everyone does it
    • Enthusiastic (perhaps let students decide which one it is?)
    • Evolving – let students develop the props
  • e.g. Hot Pepper (imaginary pepper in mouth, then a sizzle sound)

Seat signals

Teach Like a Champion Technique 34: Seat signals

Have non-verbal signals clearly displayed that students can use when they need to leave their seat.

  • Examples:
    • Hand up, two fingers crossed for bathroom
    • Hold pencil/pen up, wait for exchange, for a duff pencil/pen
    • Left hand pinching nose: I need a tissue
    • One finger held up and rotated in a circular motion: I need to get up out of my seat to pick something up

On your mark

Teach Like a Champion Technique 33: On your mark

Show students how to prepare effectively for each class with pen, paper etc., and expect them to do so every day.

  • Be explicit about what students need to start class
  • Set a time limit
  • Use a standard consequence
  • Provide tools without consequence (pens, pencils etc) to those who recognise the need before class
  • Include homework

Tight transitions

Teach Like a Champion Technique 30: Tight transitions

Having quick and routine movements from place to place or activity to activity without extensive narration by the teacher.

  • Achieving this requires investing time early in the school year to practice the transitions.
  • Effective ways to teach transitions include:
    • Numbering each step in a transition and practicing it
    • Having point-to-point transitions
  • Need to focus on speed and consistent enforcement.
  • Generally pass materials across rows not up, and distribute in groups e.g. each row.