Column: Responsive Classroom Approach has benefitsWORTHINGTON — Each new school year brings new opportunities and challenges. During the first few weeks of school you can see classrooms establishing expectations, routines, rules and goals.
By: Jason Grovom, District 518, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Each new school year brings new opportunities and challenges. During the first few weeks of school you can see classrooms establishing expectations, routines, rules and goals. Teachers are trying to create a learning environment that will be safe, productive and joyful. To accomplish this, many classrooms at Prairie Elementary are using the Responsive Classroom Approach.
The Responsive Classroom Approach is based on the belief that it is important to know children individually, culturally and developmentally. It also is based on the belief that academic learning happens best within a positive social context. According to the Responsive Classroom book, published by the Northeast Foundation for Children, the social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum. How children learn is as important as what they learn. The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction. To be successful academically and socially, children need to learn and practice specific social skills. Five particularly important skills are cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy and self-control. This is often referred to in the Responsive Classroom as “CARES.” Another belief is that knowing the children and their families is as important as knowing the content.
The Responsive Classroom practices can be used in morning meetings, interactive modeling, logical consequences, academic choice, working with families, creating rules, teacher language, guided discovery, classroom organization and collaborative problem solving. When using these practices the children will have time during the day to engage in active learning, experiment, solve problems and make fruitful mistakes. The teachers use an inquiry approach by asking open ended questions that stimulate and stretch children’s thinking. The teachers reinforce respect and caring as the basis for interaction. The children’s ideas, creations and discoveries are valued and displayed around the room.
At Prairie Elementary, the Responsive Classroom approach has been successful. The Responsive Classroom Approach has increased social skills and academic engagement. It helps establish a positive classroom climate. It increases learner investment and independence, and decreases disruptive behaviors. At Prairie Elementary we believe in being safe, respectful and responsible. The Responsive Classroom is helping our school accomplish success every day.
Jason Grovom is the assistant principal at Prairie Elementary.