A blog series: Part 6 of 7
Standard 6: Professional Responsibilities and Collaboration
In the last five OCM-RC Blogs we have looked at the connection with NYS Teaching Standards 1 – 5 with the Responsive Classroom® approach and practices. In this sixth blog of seven we will focus those same connections with Responsive Classroom and NYS Teaching Standard 6: Professional Responsibilities and Collaboration.
NYS Teaching Standard 6 states, “Teachers demonstrate professional responsibility and engage relevant stakeholders to maximize student growth, development, and learning.” Element VI.1 of this Standard says that Teachers will uphold professional standards of practice and policy as related to students’ right and teachers’ responsibly. Responsive Classroom teachers take pride in their professionalism with their language and actions for every child every day. Because they know their children social-emotional, academic and developmental needs, they are proactively responsive to meet the needs of all children in their classroom. They will use proactive tools such as morning meeting, effective teacher language, academic choice, and interactive modeling to help children learn and get their needs met. The RC Efficacy Study (2012) found that Responsive Classroom teachers had “Improved Teacher-Student Interactions and provided improve emotional support and improved classroom organization. Families also are always treated with respect and connect with families is important to foster the home school connection.
Element VI.2 states that teachers will engage and collaborate with colleagues and the community to develop and sustain a common culture that supports high expectations for student learning. In the 2004 research study on Responsive Classroom, one of the finding was that teachers in Responsive Classroom collaborated more with their colleagues as compared to other schools who do not use the Responsive Classroom approach. In the 21st Century and with the new needs required by educational reform, this is an important quality for teachers to have. I have always lived by an old quote that says “None of us are as smart as all of us.” Collaboration is the key to student achievement and growth, not only for student but also for teachers. In Responsive Classroom schools all adults in a school are expected to provide a predictable, kind and caring learning environment where everyone can learn and grow. It is so important in Responsive Classroom schools to have all adults trained in the Responsive Classroom approach (ie. special areas, special education, teaching assistants, custodial, secretaries, food service). This way all the adults in the school community collaborate to provide every child a positive learning community that provides engaging academics and effective and respectful school management. Teachers work together to create an environment where routines and rituals of schools are proactively taught and then coached and guided with effective teacher language. Responsive Classroom principle #7 states: “How we, the adults at school, work together is as important as our individual competence: lasting change begins with the adult community.” Responsive Classroom teachers know that children are always watching, so it is important for the adults to model the behaviors they want to see. If teachers want no talking during fire drills, they collaborate with one another to make sure they model what it looks like. If teachers want their students greeting their classmates kindly and respectfully, they must see their teacher greeting other adults with respect. Collaboration is the stuff of growth, and Responsive Classroom teachers know and live the importance of this element of standard 6.
Element VI.3 states that teachers communicate and collaborate with families, guardians, and caregivers to enhance student development and success. In the Responsive Classroom, knowing the families of the children we teach is as important as knowing the children we teach. Responsive Classroom teachers make it a point to build strong relationships with parents and encourage parents to share their hopes and dreams for their child early in the year to know family goals for social and academic learning. The partnership with families is the key to success and academic achievement. The Northeast Foundation for Children has written a book, Parents and Teachers Working Together, sharing multiple ideas for teacher to foster strong relationships with families through effective communication and opportunities for them to be part of the classroom community.
Link to the book
The final two elements of the NYS Teacher Standard VI are:
Element VI.4: Teachers manage and perform non-instructional duties in accordance with school district guidelines or other applicable expectations and Element VI.5: Teachers understand and comply with relevant laws and policies as related to students’ rights and teachers’ responsibilities. Responsive Classroom teachers proactively plan instruction to meet the needs of all students. They assist other non-instructional staff to set the stage for successful routines and rituals of school. Often times they will work with bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and recess aids to make sure their children navigate these areas of school effectively. They not only maintain and care for classroom resources and materials, but they also proactively teach their children to do the same through the use of interactive modeling and guided discovery. Responsive Classroom teachers take great care to be vigilant of the rights of children. They take great strides bully proof their classroom. The NEFC has produced a very helpful book to help teachers comply with the expectation of the Dignity Act called How to Bullyproof Your Classroom.
Link to the book
Professional and ethical practice along with teacher responsibility and collaboration are the cornerstones for Responsive Classroom teachers. Collaboration with students, staff, administration, and families create learning environments where students can achieve at high levels and professional growth for teachers can flourish. Responsive Classroom practices can foster this collaborative work and learning environment.
*Both Responsive Classroom research studies cited in this blog were conducted by Dr. Sara Rimm-Kaufman, University of Virginia, Curry School of Education, Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning.
Certified Responsive Classroom® trainer through the Northeast Foundation for Children, developers of theResponsive Classroom
Staff Development Specialist – OCM BOCES – Syracuse, NY
(OCM BOCES is a licensed agency for Responsive Classroom training by the Northeast Foundation for Children, developers of theResponsive Classroom) PShaw@ocmboces.org