6.5 Implementing Friendly & Fair Teaching across the school
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The initiative to implement Friendly and Fair Teaching (FFT) can come from teachers, supervisors, students, teacher educators or parents.
Friendly and Fair Teaching (FFT) makes me reflect on different approaches to teaching and enables me to collaborate with a senior member of staff in reinforcing positive behaviour. I can apply FFT myself, also my school can encourage the team applying FFT.
Whoever implements something must ensure that it is embraced.” Ellen van Kooten – HvA
So how do we ensure a good learning environment in our school?
In the future, how do we ensure a good learning environment in our school?
With a collaborative approach, you achieve more. The initiative for Friendly and Fair Teaching can come from a variety of sources: teachers, senior members of staff, educational support staff. The initiative to start working with FFT can also come from parents, students or from teacher training programs. We address these questions:
- Who among all these stakeholders takes the initiative?
- What are the advantages of FFT?
- How do you work together school-wide?
Opportunities for everyone to develop
In FFT, the educational goals are formulated to include teachers and all other staff in a school (school-wide). The three domains (educational goals) defined by Gert Biesta: Qualification, Socialization and Subjectivation, apply to everyone. Not only do students emerge from education as unique individuals, teachers also gradually become qualified as educators, and learn to deal with group processes and develop their own style of teaching. When you start teaching, the exploration of teaching practice begins with your own reflecting on teaching.
This quote by Biesta from this article shows that adults are also evolving:
By viewing maturity as a quality of being and not as the outcome of developmental processes, we can move away both from the idea that people with big bodies are always in the world in a mature way, and from the idea that people with small bodies would necessarily be incapable of it. The opposite is often the case.”
Advantages of FFT
Teachers have the opportunity to adapt their teaching methods as they go along by focusing on one of FFT’s five perspectives: Establishing a friendly tone, Establishing fairness, Planning lessons, Observing learning, and Behaviour management strategies. When students and teachers continue to develop, education remains worthwhile.
Opportunities for all is not the only benefit of FFT. Different forms of collaboration also provide benefits. Reinforcing positive behaviour is more successful when adults are aligned and working together. Collaboration between teachers, senior members of staff and training provides opportunities for all parties.
FFT focuses primarily on student-teacher collaboration. As an addition in the area of collaboration, FFT recommends schools to check out the website sociocracy.com. This website contains a number of examples of schools working with the sociocracy method. In doing so, they improve cooperation between all school levels.
1. Collaboration between teacher and senior member of staff
At FFT, teachers reinforce positive behaviour with a ‘Future behaviour letter’. When handing out this assignment, the teacher indicates when the student will turn in the assignment or asks the student to return after class to complete the assignment under supervision.
A student who does not turn in the assignment at the appointed time, or who does not complete the assignment to the satisfaction of the teacher, will have to turn it the assignment to a senior member of staff. This collaboration between teacher and senior member of staff ensures that a student always hands in the assignment. Before a teacher can start with FFT, this collaboration has to be agreed upon.
Together, the senior member of staff and teacher reinforce positive behaviour with a student in a friendly and fair manner. The teacher informs students of this collaboration in advance and then consistently acts in an agreed-upon manner.
The first three steps a teacher takes: Using body language, giving a Tip and handing out a Future behaviour letter, involve teacher-student interaction. If those first three steps do not produce the desired results, the teacher asks the senior member of staff for assistance. If students know that they will eventually have to turn in the assignment to the supervisor, it is not rewarding for them to ignore a Future behaviour letter.
This cooperation has the advantage for the teacher that conflicts do not arise with a student who does not turn in the assignment. The benefit to the senior member of staff is that teachers who work with FFT send fewer students out of class. The supervisor now gets more time for doing staff duties.
2. Cooperation between teacher and parents
Parents can also support the teacher in handing in the Future behaviour letter if a student does not show up at the appointed time to hand in the assignment. Teachers can use this option if there is enough time between the time of handing it in and the next lesson. They then call the parents and tell them that their son/daughter did not hand in the assignment. The teacher asks the parents to urge their son/daughter to hand in the assignment the next lesson. Usually parents value this contact with the teacher.
3. Collaboration FFT with HPO and University
In the Netherland FFT (vriendelijkordehouden.nl) has been collaborating with Higher Professional Education and University to support their teacher training programs.
4. Engaging colleagues in FFT.
By taking the ‘Friendly and Fair Teaching’ course, reading our course book or using our site through self-study, you as a teacher are touch with FFT. If you use FFT’s approach successfully, you can put your colleagues on the trail of FFT or you can contact FFT to guide that process at your school. If you find two colleagues who are interested, it is already possible to organise an online course.
When you allready started using FFT and you colleagues are going to do so as well, they can count on the cooperation with a senior member of staff. In this aspect you paved the way for them. Their start is easier, and in the case of overlapping groups, students already know what they can expect with FFT: a friendly and fair teacher.
5. School leadership promotes working with FFT
If senior members of staff find that teachers who work with FFT send fewer students out of class, they have more time left for teaching and content-related tasks.
As a senior member of staff, you can then encourage teachers to take the FFT course with the goal of becoming a friendly and fair teacher with focus on the lesson. You offer your team the opportunity to enroll in a course. Teachers then take advantage of this on a voluntary basis.
5.1 Policy plan
In august 2023 a school in the Netherlands (Leeuwenhorst in Noordwijkerhout) hands out to all new teachers the course book of FFT. During the year teachers participate in two FFT workshops. The intention is to do this annually so that gradually all teachers will profit from this approach to teaching.
Part of the team is already using FFT. A senior member of staff introduces FFT to all colleagues on a seminar day at the beginning of the school year. On this seminar one of teachers with FFT experience tell the team about what the implemented form the website, book or course material. During the year FFT staff members provide support
When a teacher, who starts as a new teacher on the school announces working with FFT, halfway through the school year, the students know that they are expected to behave well, just like with other teachers working with FFT. For a new teacher this must be very helpful.
6. Certificate for a teacher – hallmark for a school
If a teacher indicates that aspects of FFT have a big impact on their teaching, a staff member of FFT visits this teacher. If the lesson is successful, the teacher gets a certificate.
If a school collaborates with FFT successfully, A hallmark may be awarded by FFT