So, my first goal was: How can I better share my experiences in using Responsive Classroom (RC) with the school community and further my understanding?
My main thought about RC is that it’s a way to connect students and teachers so that a class can become a safe, warm, and nurturing learning community. My goal was to share this idea with people who were interested in building their RC practices.
In regards to this goal, I did a few things. As Positive Education and incorporating RC practices was a goal at CIS, there were numerous meetings and interest groups available for me to attend. In addition, my year level team also set this goal as well, so we had a sounding board for what we were doing.
One of the first things I did this year in regards to my goal was to join a book club where we were doing a close reading of the book, The Power of Our Words by Paula Denton. We assigned different chapters and shared our take aways from the chapter that we read. With two other colleagues (the Primary Art Teacher, and my Team Leader), we read the chapter about questioning which tied in really nicely with my previous thoughts about questions.
A passage that struck me from the book:
When we ask children, “What do you want to try?” or “What might work?” or “What do you know about this?” we show trust in their ability to have good ideas, to think of themselves, and to contribute valuable ways to the class. – page 53
*This also helped me think about empowering students, my second goal. I will go into this again later.
I tried to think of ways I question kids in the class further, and it allowed me to reflect on the open ended questions that I ask my students.
An interesting challenge I had with this goal is working with a Co-Teacher and create a class community using parts of the RC framework in Chinese. My Chinese language skills are close to nil, and this led me to really exciting discoveries. Morning Meetings conducted in Chinese (not just a greeting in a foreign language), but students speaking and sharing their thoughts in Chinese. The students’ language ability varied greatly, but students who are native speakers often jump in to support others who are not. This further built the sense of community that the RC strives for.
A lot of other beginning of year and community upkeep activities happened in both languages (English and Chinese) and the sharing often happened in team meetings and book clubs.
Having a community sharing the same goal was definitely helpful in pushing my thinking and growth. Lesson learned here? If more people are striving for the same thing, you are more effective.
Continue to Part 3