Resource 2: Using monitors

Background information / subject knowledge for teacher

As a teacher, you can use pupils to help you with the day-to-day management of your classroom. There are numerous simple tasks that you can ask them to perform on your behalf, and this serves two benefits.

  • It allows you to spend more time preparing and delivering good teaching, rather than managing and tidying up the classroom;
  • It gives the pupils small areas of responsibility, which encourages them to take pride in their schooling.

There are a few issues you need to think about when selecting monitors. You want pupils who will do their tasks well, and who will be willing to help you and others.

You also want pupils who are responsible and interact well with others. Sometimes, pupils might see being a monitor as a position of power over others, and they might misuse it. It is important to help them understand that they have to carry out the role responsibly, and you will be a role model in this. All pupils should be given a chance to take on such roles. If you only choose the same pupils each time, others will feel less valued. You will need to provide guidance and support to the monitors. Some will need more support than others in the early stages.

You will need to think clearly about each of the jobs before you give them out. If there is not a regular daily task to do, the pupils will get bored and neglect it. There needs to be a clear purpose for the task as well, rather than something to fill time. Finally, you will also need to provide clear instructions.

It is important to share the jobs around and give each pupil a turn. If some pupils are not involved, they will stop taking an interest and may even start disrupting classes to get the attention that is going to the monitors.

If possible, let pupils choose the jobs they could do to help. You can also hold regular classroom meetings where pupils can suggest different tasks.

Finally, you will also need to monitor and support them. Give praise where you can and give guidance where it is necessary.

Resource 1: The benefits of classroom principles

Section 4: Investigating self-esteem