Building Character

Responsive Classroom

The Responsive Classroom approach is a way of teaching that emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth in a strong and safe school community. Developed by classroom teachers, the approach consists of practical strategies for helping children build academic and social-emotional competencies day in and day out.

The Responsive Classroom approach is informed by the work of educational theorists and the experiences of exemplary classroom teachers. Seven principles guide this approach:
  • The social and emotional curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
  • How children learn is as important as what they learn.
  • Great cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  • To be successful academically and socially, children need to learn a set of social and emotional skills that include cooperation, assertiveness, 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: Lasting change begins with the adult community.

Classroom Practices

List of 10 items.

  • Academic Choice

    Increasing student learning by allowing students teacher-structured choices in their work.
  • Classroom Organization

    Setting up the physical room in ways that encourage students’ independence, cooperation, and productivity.
  • Collaborative Problem Solving

    Using conferencing, role playing, and other strategies to resolve problems with students.
  • Guided Discovery

    Introducing classroom materials using a format that encourages independence, creativity, and responsibility.
  • Interactive Modeling

    Teaching students to notice and internalize expected behaviors through a unique modeling technique.
  • Logical Consequences

    Responding to misbehavior in a way that allows students to fix and learn from their mistakes while preserving their dignity.
  • Morning Meeting

    Gathering as a whole class each morning to greet one another, share news, and warm up for the day ahead.
  • Positive Faculty Language

    Using words and tone as a tool to promote active learning, sense of community, and self-discipline.
  • Rule Creation

    Allowing students to create classroom rules to ensure an environment that allows all class members to meet their learning goals.
  • Working with Families

    Creating avenues for hearing parents' insights and helping them understand the School's teaching approaches.