There is a big difference between behaviour management and behaviour "response" and I think this little vignette illustrates it.
Today we differentiated our three science classes by giving our students the choice of five different enquiries to pursue. I was working with a our weaker students on two different investigations. I was always going to be busy, but, today I got to the point of being too busy. I felt as though I was having no impact at all, keeping some on task, supporting others and extend others too. I was getting a bit frustrated and a few bits of poor behaviour were evident.
Thankfully I managed to curb my frustration and gathered the students together. I asked them what they were finding difficult? And compiled a list that ranged from access issues, attitude to learning or motivation and on taskness. All the things I had noticed. I then asked them what help they needed to overcome these problems. Too my surprise they generated solution to the problems that involved themselves or their peers, I was not included! It was great to see them (finally) acknowledge the need for responsibility in their learning.
So I asked them to give themselves a score out of ten for the responsibility shown in the first twenty minutes. They average out at around five. I then asked them if they used their strategies where they would be? This produced a score of about nine and a half. I allowed them to aspire to better.
So it was great to see over the next 45 minutes the transformation in the classroom. This would not have happened if I had of let my frustration rule the situation.We regularly went back to our arbitary responsibility score as it ebbed and flowed, and it never went below 7.5. Although abitary this strategy has allowed students to self monitior a learner attribute and to manage the situation (almost) by themselves.I got the productive classroom my efforts deserved and less fustrated!
This lesson has reminded me that students are absolutely aware of the expectations we have for them and they do respond to having responsibility. We just have to have a little trust in them.
Sent from my iPhone
My interest in the idea of sharing pedagogical purposes comes directly with the contact I have had with the Project for Enhancing Effective Learning at Monash University in Australia. Now each of these teachers were very active in establishing learning agendas with their classes. The impact they were having was inspiring. Each classroom tool can have a purpose beyond delivering content, and this needs to be shared.
I suppose the purpose of this website is collate, crystalise and open dialogues about how to increase this within classrooms. As the quote from Carl Bereiter illustrates this classroom methodology can empower our students.