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Great Expectations

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Summary

A secondary English teacher is seeking greater participation from quiet pupils in her Year 9 class. Behaviour management expert John Bayley provides coaching and mentoring assistance in this pedagogy resource.

Working with Year 9 on Stone Cold, a novel about a homeless boy, Debra Robinson is trying to get verbal reactions from her literature pupils. But despite her promptings and encouragement she gets few responses, especially from the African-Caribbean boys in her class at Highgate Wood School in north London.

John suggests practical classroom strategies designed to build pupils' speaking and listening confidence, but he agrees with Debra that the problems may be more deep-rooted. He shows the classroom footage to Paul Gabriel, who works as learning mentor and is also black.

Paul is convinced the pupils are experiencing low self-confidence, caused partly by their lack of meaningful role models as second- and third-generation immigrants. Debra tries some of John's inclusion techniques, which prove successful, but with Paul she embarks on a longer-term teaching strategy to encourage greater participation from the silent boys.

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