• Monica Gupta Mehta

Responsive Classroom

Article from edutopia

The Responsive Classroom's fundamental principles and practices:


-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.

-There is a specific set of social skills that children need to learn and practice in order to be successful academically and socially: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.

-Knowing the children we teach individually, culturally, and developmentally is as important as knowing the content we teach.

-Knowing the families of the children we teach is as important as knowing the children we teach.

-How, we the adults at school, work together is as important as our individual competence.


The six teaching practices used in a Responsive Classroom are:


-At a morning meeting that happens each day, students are welcomed with a written message, greeting, news and announcements, sharing, and an activity.

-Rules are clear, simple, positive, and generated with children. Student hopes and dreams guide rule creation. Logical consequences are a consistent approach to discipline.

-Classroom organization promotes a caring environment and maximizes learning.

-Academic choice invests children in their learning.

-A method known as Guided Discovery is used to introduce materials and how to care for them, and to encourage inquiry.

-It is important to reach out to parents as partners in their child's learning.


Program Snapshot from Wallace Foundation

Responsive Classroom© is a research-based approach to elementary and middle school teaching that focuses on the strong link between academic success and social and emotional learning. Responsive Classroom emphasizes that methods of teaching are just as important as the content being taught, and it provides adults with practices and strategies designed to improve four key domains of the educational environment: engaging academics, positive community, effective management, and developmental awareness. For elementary school, this includes interactive modeling, teacher language, logical consequences, interactive learning structures, and establishing rules, as well as classroom structures such as Morning Meetings (20-30 minute classroom gatherings at the beginning of the day), Energizers (short, playful activities to help students refresh and focus), Quiet Time (a brief time of relaxed transition after lunch/recess), and Closing Circles (5-10 minute classroom gatherings at the end of the day). As an approach to teaching, Responsive Classroom has a strong focus on adult development and offers a variety of workshops that teach educators how to implement Responsive Classroom practices, as well as a library of books and materials that focus on using specific teaching practices, building knowledge and skills, and integrating Responsive Classroom practices into the school environment. Developed by the Center for Responsive Schools, Inc.


Areas of Focus (as stated by program) Adult professional development, educational environment (engaging academics, positive community, effective management, developmental awareness), social and emotional competencies (cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, self-control), and academic competencies (academic mindset, perseverance, learning strategies, academic behaviors)


Image from Responsive Classrooms

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