Take the punches, and smile back.

I first came across Phil Beadle years ago on YouTube. Phil is an English teacher, education consultant, author, teacher trainer and speaker. Nowadays, I regularly check in on his blog, particularly to see his journalism for The Guardian.

As an English teacher, Phil is really innovative and has a history of achieving ‘transformational’ results with students in working class areas and who experience challenging circumstances. He’s also very charismatic, and brings a rock-star quality to his teaching. I’ve watched a full lesson he gave on punctuation, and if you think commas are boring then think again! Phil was also part of a British TV show called ‘The Unteachables’ – a reality show where some of Britain’s best teachers work to improve the results and engagement of some seriously at-risk kids. This is way more appealing to me than Dance Moms.

The video I’ve posted below was one that really struck me because he just seemed to have such a cool, calm attitude towards teaching and behaviour management. Particularly for first year teachers, or just as a reminder to more experienced teachers, this overview of tips from his book “How To Teach” is a great intro to Phil’s style. His tips on how to manage a transition in a lesson and using praise effectively are excellent. I also love his quote about homework, in which he describes a father saying to his son, “You know what son, if they can’t teach you everything you need to learn during the day, they’re not very good at their jobs, are they?” (Stay tuned for a post about homework!)

What about when it all just goes wrong? I love Phil’s advice on the class that is just plain horrible. Firstly, he says, “don’t take it personally…secondly, you have to take the punches and smile back. What they are seeking is some kind of negative reaction from you.” The last thing the class needs is a teacher who loses control. In fact, Phil stresses, “The horribler they get, the nicer you are to them.”

Enjoy Phil!

Check out his full website here.

2 thoughts on “Take the punches, and smile back.

  1. This is great, but it has taken me a long time to learn it. I call it “going in unarmed”, and I believe it works every time.


    1. Hi Barb!
      Cheers for the comment! I like this ‘armoury’ metaphor! Unarmed is always the best way to go, because then the students sense no reason to take up arms! (We hope!).


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