I don't think for a minute we have been deliberately taking notes from those in the naughty corner or reading up the 'How to be Bad' manual; in fact most of us probably don't even realise how rude and closed-off to learning our behaviour can be.
I must make it clear I am not writing this from the moral high ground, I am as guilty as the worst offenders. When I am compelled to take part in a whole school training program my reaction will be to behave dismissively towards the training on offer, picking holes in even the most innocuous elements of the training and generally being unimpressed by the coaching experience.
Unfortunately, I could hear the best teaching hacks ever presented but would be making snotty comments about the background colour of the power point, such is my poor learning behaviour.
In the past I have watched this malcontent attitude manifest itself even in the most positive of colleagues, speaking in disparaging staged whispers: "Do they actually want us to do this?" or doodling all over their notepads.
I sat next to a former boss at one training event who wrote over the notelets handed out to record interesting learning points, 'This is RUBBISH' and 'Kill me now'.
The advent of the mobile phone has altered this behaviour to an extent, although it is as equally rude. Teachers are now texting during group discussions and checking their social media during power point presentations.
I believe there are two elements which explain such poor behaviour. Most teachers have heard these ‘stunning new approach to education’ seminars in different formats many times before and there are probably a long inventory of things far more important on their to-do list than to attend a course they have no option of avoiding.
Yet ironically, these two causes of our dis-affection are the main drivers into why our own students are not lapping up all of our educational nuggets.
The main day-to-day slog of education is pushing our pupil’s knowledge up a slowly ascending path with the end point sometimes nowhere in sight, so naturally the pupils might have the sensation they are not learning anything new and get bored.
And while their to-do list might be different ours, hanging around the shopping centre or watching Youtube clips will have the same gravitational pull on their focus away from learning as our more 'worthy' list.
The next time you have some in-service training treat it as a laboratory with yourself as a lab rat; decide what it is it about the learning process that turns you off and note how far into the day before you start thinking about texting a friend.
If we can understand why we behave the way we do we might be able to understand why they behave the way they do and then alter our teaching approach accordingly.
The first step would be to make sure the distracting power of the mobile phone is not visible on a desk; these temptations should be out of sight and hearing.
Furthermore, we could devise ways to break up the longwinded lecturing elements of our own classroom practice. Maybe we could get better at reading the crowd and realise once we have lost their attention, ploughing on doing the same thing is not going to get them back.