OCM-Responsive Classroom® Blog: July: A Time to Reflect on Practice

“It’s not the ‘DOING’, it’s the reflection of the ‘DOING’ “is a famous quote by John Dewey. Now that the assessment season, the late spring jitters and the end of the school year are behind us, now is the time to take a deep breath, relax and take a moment to reflect on the past school year to guide us to new goals for the new school year starting in the fall.

In the new version of the Responsive Classroom Course, teachers are given time on the last day to reflect on their 4-days of learning and make goals for their Responsive Classroom application in the classroom. To assist them in the goals, they are now given the Responsive Classroom Assessment Tool for Teacher. This tool is designed to foster reflection on: Arrival Time, Interactive Modeling, Morning Meeting, Guided Discovery, Academic Choice, Classroom Organization, Classroom Management and Teacher Language, and Working with Families. I encourage teachers who were trained in RC1 (prior to summer 2014) to purchase the assessment book to assist in your reflection of your practice. We believe in Carol Dweck’s work on the growth mindset. We believe that continual reflection on practice and goal setting will bring you to higher levels of growth. “The assessment tool can help all teachers to reflect, think deeply, and continue growing in Responsive Classroom implementation. Whether a teacher has been using Responsive Classroom practices for two or more years or for twenty years, there is always more to know and understand. The assessment tool is one way of stimulating that knowledge and understanding.” (Responsive Classroom Assessment Tool p. 4 – Center for Responsive Schools, 2015).

“Adults learn best just as children do when they are engaged in a natural learning cycle that includes goal-setting, exploration, and reflection. The assessment tool helps launch teachers into this cycle. Teachers begin by generating a learning goal that specifies the aspect(s) of their practice on which they want to focus. They then enter the exploration phase by using the assessment tool to rate themselves with regard to the identified aspect(s) of their practice. Next, they reflect on the results-their strengths and areas for improvement.” (Responsive Classroom Assessment Tool p. 4 & 5 – Center for Responsive Schools, 2015).

Most of the time after thousands of teachers I have trained, I hear how Responsive Classroom practices have changed classrooms and schools. The research suggests that students are more engaged, have fewer behavior problems, achieve at higher levels, and are fully vested in their learning when in Responsive Classrooms. Teachers develop classrooms with positive community, engaging academics, which are effectively managed and developmentally appropriate. Occasionally though, I do hear through the grapevine that some trained teacher express that Responsive Classroom practices aren’t working. When I hear this, I wonder to myself, at what level have they actually applied the Responsive Classroom practices? Where are they in the underlying process? Are they: Emergent Teacher, Proficient Teacher, Accomplished Teacher, or Distinguished Teacher? My guess is most likely they have not applied all the Responsive Classroom practices at the level of consistency and integrity to see the success the research suggests. Using July as a time to reflect on practice and the application of the learning fostered by the Responsive Classroom training could really help teachers to higher levels of growth and move them toward the “Distinguished RC Teachers!” Taking the time to reflect on the “doing” as Dewey suggests will take teachers to the growth mindset needed for continual improvement.

Assessment book Link: CLICK HERE

Shaw_PatrickPatrick Shaw
OCM BOCES – Staff Development Specialist
Certified Responsive Classroom® Trainer by the Center for Responsive Schools (Developers of the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching and learning)

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