“Eyes on who?” “Is that the best you can do?”: Busting My Pavlovian Moves in the Primary Classroom


“Eyes on who?” Oh, God help me, is this the best I can do?!

This opening line is the bread and butter of primary classroom management, especially in the US. I have used it in Years 3, 4, 6 and even, ironically, in Year 11. The Year 11’s looked at me in an instant and let out an involuntary “Eyes on you!” They were watching their own mouths, startled, as the words floated from them like newly-awakened, previously dormant spirits.

As a social constructivist (I love dropping that in from time to time – don’t know what it means), I strongly dislike anything that smacks of Pavlov. These call-and-response techniques are one such example. If only I could make them more post-ironic (don’t know what that means either). Then at least I wouldn’t feel so guilty about their effectiveness.

I thought, then, that I would try to concoct a bunch…

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