is an evidence-based approach to teaching that focuses on engaging academics, positive community, effective management, and developmental awareness. --Responsive Classroom Website
Hundreds of districts have adopted this approach. It teaches skills, is positive rather than punitive, and builds community and a safe learning environment. I mentioned it in the Dialing it Back post and was first introduced to it when I worked in the Worcester Public Schools. The mindset of Responsive Classroom is completely compatible with Collaborative Problem Solving and the idea that: "Kids to well if they can."
Applying Responsive Classroom to Music
The Book We Are UsingIn addition to full days before school begins and before major vacation breaks, our district has one half-day per month devoted to professional development (PD). Rather than have specialist teachers sit through literacy training or a new math competency training, my principal and the music department head have allowed us to be part of developing our own PD. In our building, the library, music, art, and sometimes PE teacher will be working through this book, "Responsive Classroom for Music, Art, PE, and Other Special Areas."
We decided to begin with chapter 3: Modeling.
Modeling behaviors is essential to the Responsive Classroom concept. Students adhere to procedures that they both understand and can do. If they don't understand the need for a behavior, they are less willing to do it in all circumstances. Likewise, if they are unaccustomed to doing the behavior, they will not automatically do it.
An ExampleHave you ever been frustrated when children go wild when simply asked to line up?
It's a skill that you likely mastered in Kindergarten. Why can't they do it? What's with these kids today?
|Rioting in Baltimore after a game win|
Step 1: Classroom discussion on how to line up
Step 2: One child models
Step 3: Class reflects on what they saw
Step 4: A small group of children join the first
Step 5: Class reflects on what they just saw
Step 6: Procedure continues until the entire class is in line
The most crucial steps are 3 and 6, the time the class reflects on what they saw. These are also the steps the teacher is most likely to skip over. Make sure you allow student voices to be heard more than yours! It's their classroom too. Remember, we don't want kids to want to grow up just so they can dominate others. Adulthood isn't about domination. It's about responsibility, fun, self-expression, community, and love.