Fast Company - April 2000 Article #4 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Fast Company - April 2000 Article #4

-- Anonymous, April 07, 2000


Schools That Think, by Sara Terry, Fast Company, April 2000, pp. 306-310.

Schools That Think, an article written by Sara Terry, discusses some of the different types of school reform currently going on in our country. Terry specifically focuses on some of the nontraditional type of schools that exist today. Greenfield Center School, located in Greenfield, Massachusetts, is an example of one of these schools. The fifth and sixth graders in this school are just some of many students across the country engaged in a new kind of teaching style called the Responsive Classroom. The Northeast Foundation for Children (NEFC), the organization responsible for the development of the Responsive Classroom, has sponsored workshops all over the country in order to train teachers in implementing Responsive Classroom within their classrooms. The NEFC also publishes many books, newsletters, and publications to keep educators informed of any interesting stories and new developments regarding Responsive Classroom.

Responsive Classroom is built on the assumption that getting along with one another is as important a skill for students to acquire as mastering academics is. Greenfield Center Schools goal is to develop students into knowledgeable, moral people who will be successful and productive in academics, as well as communication, decision making, problem solving, and conflict resolution. Responsive Classroom is a teaching style that teaches social skills like cooperation, empathy, responsibility, self-control, fairness, honesty, and assertion as part of the regular curriculum. These skills are practiced all day long during every subject, rather than being taught as a separate subject or just when a problem or conflict arises. Students are immersed in an atmosphere of creative thinking and real life situations. This atmosphere builds the foundation for students to look at life with a new and healthier perspective. As a result, students are able to set high standards, develop personal goals, build self-esteem, and determine what is essential to a happy, successful, and productive life.

I am one of several teachers in my school district who attended a Responsive Classroom workshop last August. Since the beginning of the school year I have implemented several components of Responsive Classroom such, as hopes and dreams, morning meeting, and academic choice. Creating hopes and dreams served as a guide in helping my students to develop rules and logical consequences for our classroom. Morning meeting, which has been a huge success, is a ritual that begins each day with a greeting, an activity, sharing, and an interaction with a chart filled with trivia and/or problem-solving activities. Ive only experimented a little with academic choice, which allows students the flexibility to demonstrate what theyve learned, but the results were very rewarding. I feel that using Responsive Classroom has been an enjoyable and successful addition to my classroom. I look forward to attending another workshop next summer and utilizing more of this program next year.

-- Anonymous, April 07, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ