On the up and up with Jodie Downs – PP178

Jodie Downs
Jodie Downs

Jodie is A Senior Leader at Laurence Jackson Secondary School in North Yorkshire. Last year, she undertook Pivotal ‘s Leading Behaviour Change in School course with a colleague which she describes as:

“A bit of a game-changer.”

It convinced her to proceed to the Pivotal Behaviour Management Instructor Course:

“[The course] gave me the vision I needed to go away and make  changes that were needed in my school.”

Jodie isn’t keen on silence in the Time Out Room or in her classroom. She believes that quiet classrooms can create very passive learners and allow those who don’t want to engage to hide very easily.

“I want to see  teachers trusting their learners to take a risk and taking a risk themselves.”

However, Jodie recommends a flexibility in the teacher approach and balance because learners need to know how to work in different modes – 1-to-1, in groups and in silence, particularly as students need to be able to take silent assessments.

The punishments Jodie remembers from her own school days were the ‘blanket’ ones – the unfair and actually the least effective ones. She points out that often the right thing to do as a teacher managing behaviour is not the intuitive thing to do.


Jodie was pleased that she experienced very little resistance in changing approaches to behaviour management in her school – she feels that everyone was ready for the changes, which means they were necessary.

“The thing I’m most proud of is we are having conversations now about behaviour not about sanctions.”

Jodie also points out that we have been differentiating learning for a long time but have relied on blanket behaviour management – she believes it’s time to differentiate behaviour management as well.

In behaviour management what skills are we using apart from our voices?


  • where you stand
  • the expression on your face
  • the tone of your voice
  • when to make eye contact and when not to

Jodie and Ollie talk about taking lessons in silence and seeing if you can just use body language and other cues – and Jody points out she had to do this recently when she contracted laryngitis – and she was observed!

There’s a lot more from Jodie in the episode as well as some Education News and Pivotal News – so do listen right to the end!

Jodie on Twitter

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