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5 Ways for Teachers to Develop Positive Relationships With Boys

Matt Pinkett and Mark Roberts share 5 top tips for teachers looking to develop better working relationships with male students.


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  1. Don’t make it public - keep your cool and avoid being confrontational. Tackle poor behaviour discreetly wherever possible. Shouting is ineffective and harms long-term relationships 
  2. Depersonalise behaviour - use non-verbal instructions to avoid stooping the flow of lessons and drawing attention to problematic behaviour. Try to avoid using names when addressing poor behaviour in class
  3. Find quick wins - ensure students taste success in your lesson, then praise them by calling home. Positive phone calls home are universally effective
  4. Focus on productivity – expect that students will work hard and have clear consequences for poor effort.Treat students not trying as an act of defiance 
  5. Display confidence and humility – continue to develop your understanding of your subject, displaying your passion and knowledge. Deploy humour with caution – it can build a rapport but can also distract and backfire

About the Authors

headshot photo of Matt Pinkett

Matt Pinkett is a Head of English in Surrey with a personal and professional interest in gender in schools. Matt has written for a number of publications on this topic – and others – and also writes a blog in which he discusses teaching and masculinity.



headshot photo of Mark RobertsMark Roberts is Assistant Principal at a mixed 11–18 comprehensive school in Devon. Previously, he worked at an inner-city comprehensive for boys in Manchester. Mark writes a blog about teaching English and is also a frequent contributor to TES on subjects including pedagogy, behaviour, leadership, and educational research.


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