This past summer, Mrs. Roesser and I spent three days in Cleveland, where we participated in a four day professional development workshop. We learned more about the Responsive Classroom system which we use at DAA and are always learning more about.
“The responsive classroom approach to teaching and learning fosters safe, challenging, and joyful learning environments.” This is exactly what we want for our students and for ourselves. We learned several different strategies and teaching practices focused on three areas: positive community, engaging academics, and effective management.
I was particularly excited because our staff at DAA already practices these components. One of the most important practices of the Responsive Classroom is a morning meeting and closing circle. These were instituted during our first year to foster a positive and caring community of students. These “crew” meetings are critical for learning our habits of character: respect, responsibility, compassion, cooperation, perseverance, creativity, and curiosity. We now have many new ideas to make these meetings even better.
Another important component of the Responsive Classroom is teacher language. We will be focusing on this practice for the upcoming school year. Whether you are a parent, teacher, or other authority figure, your words can be respectful and caring or they can tear children down. With teacher language, we focus on our students’ strengths and reinforce what we notice they are learning. When we do this, our students understand more about themselves because we point out how they are progressing in the learning process. We also remind our students of classroom and school-wide rules and expectations, which THEY help to create. Our words and attitudes show we know our students are capable of following procedures and making good choices. When children feel that adults trust them and believe in them, they choose to be more responsible and live up to those expectations.
I love engaging in the learning process for myself during the summer and have enjoyed putting what I've learned into practice this school year to help our students be more personally motivated and responsible. It’s going to be another great year at Detroit Achievement Academy! Watch us grow!