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Behaviour, Teaching and Learning

Stay in MINT Condition in Your Classroom by @TeacherToolkit

How do you impart direct instruction in the classroom?


Use my simple and foolproof #MINT strategy to ensure all instructions are delivered with clarity, and in bite-sized chunks; you’ll never hear “I don’t know what to do” ever again from any of your students! (John Hattie says that ‘teacher clarity‘ has a positive influence on student achievement. He  defines teacher clarity as “organisation, explanation, examples and guided practice … of student learning; such that clarity of speech was a prerequisite of teacher clarity.” … the importance to clearly communicate the intentions of the lessons and the success criteria.)

“Stay in MINT condition!”

This is a blog about managing behaviour and delivering instruction in your classroom, doing it consistently in line consistently good teaching. This idea features in greater detail in my book; which reinforces, that no matter what point in the lesson you are at, whether starting, packing away, or introducing a secondary aspect to a lesson, providing students with MINT instructions will remove any pestiferous “what do I need to do?” questions from your classroom that leads to all forms of low-level disruption …

mint |mɪnt|
1. an aromatic plant native to temperate regions of the Old World, several kinds of which are used as culinary herbs. plant mint in a large pot with drainage holes. [ count noun ] : there are many other mints with distinct aromas.

‘How do you keep your classroom instructions fresh as mint?’

shutterstock_95490505 Fresh mint on white close up

Image: Shutterstock

Here’s how #MINT works:

Firstly, the word MINT is an acronym and stands for the following;

  1. M = Materials
  2. I = In or out of seats
  3. N = Noise level
  4. T = Time.

Here’s an example of how to use it: For this part of the lesson you will need;

  1. (M) (for example) “You will need A3 paper; a pencil and ruler; and this pink-coloured A5 worksheet …”
  2. (I) “You will be working out of your seats, moving slowly around the classroom visiting various sources on display.”
  3. (N) “The noise I’d like you to maintain, is a quiet conversation in your groups … and,”
  4. (T) “The time for you to do this is 7 minutes. I will also give you a final 1 minute warning before we stop.” (Tweet it?)


  1. Materials – Simply means resources to be used. Do not over-complicate things. If there are five objects in a box, state the box and not the five individual objects.
  2. In or out of seats: Even in a practical subject, not every lesson will involve activities out of seats. Even in maths, students may need to work around the classroom solving mathematical problems around the room. Either way, be explicit for every activity.
  3. Noise level: Be clear about the accepted volume.
    Volume 0 = No talking: individual, silent working.
    Volume 1 = Whispering in pairs.
    Volume 2 = Small group discussions.
    Volume 3 = Whole class discussions.
    Volume 4 = Louder than normal, so that ‘learning’ can be heard!
  4. Time: Specify clearly the time needed to complete the activity; including completion time and the last warning.

Try it today, keep fresh in your classroom and make your direct instruction have teacher clarity. You’ll be surprised how much you can apply this strategy to all aspects of school life. Like this? Tweet it!

‘Keep fresh in the classroom!’

shutterstock_221802139 young crazy man brushing teeth

Image: Shutterstock

Teaching Tip:

Create four large A3 laminated posters to include each of the MINT instructions. Add an image to help the student-audience understand the context. You can then either stick simple images of the resources you will be using; or write them on the laminate with a dry-wipe marker pen.

It’s so simple!

You can read more here or simply tweet this blog if you found it useful.


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About @TeacherToolkit

Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, a Twitter account which soon evolved into and rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on Twitter in the UK'. He is an award winning teacher and experienced school leader who curates one of the 'most influential blogs on education in the UK'; Onalytica ranks McGill's blog as one of the 'Top-50 Ed-Tech Brands on Education' across the world! In 2015, he was nominated for '500 Most Influential People in the Britain' by The Sunday Times and one of the most influential in the field of education. He is a former Teaching Award nominee for 'Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School in London' and has also written 3 books on teaching.



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