Responsive Classroom
The Responsive Classroom Approach

  • Teaching practices are based upon:
  • Our best knowledge of how children learn developmentally, culturally, and individually
  • Awareness that social and academic learning go hand in hand
  • The belief that all children want to learn and can learn

Guiding Principles
  • The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum
  • How children learn is as important as what they learn: Process and content go hand in hand
  • The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction
  • To be successful academically and socially, children need to learn and practice specific social skills. Five particularly important skills are Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-control (often referred to in the Responsive Classroom approach with the acronym CARES)
  • 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, as adults at school, work together is as important as our individual competence: Lasting change begins with the adult community

Teaching Practices
  • Morning Meeting: Teachers lead students in a daily gathering that uses a consistent format for friendly greetings, sharing of news, having fun together, and warming up for the day of learning ahead.
  • Creating Rules: Teachers collaborate with students to develop classroom rules that support the day of learning ahead
  • Interactive Modeling: Teachers actively involve children in purposefully demonstrating and analyzing key behaviors that support both the social and academic curricula
  • Teacher Language: Teachers consciously use words as a professional tool to promote learning, community, and self-discipline
  • Logical Consequences: Teachers respond to misbehavior with consequences that are respectful of the children and supportive of their efforts to learn how to fix their mistakes
  • Guided Discovery: Teachers introduce students to classroom materials in a way that encourages the children to use the materials independently, creatively, and responsibly
  • Academic Choice: Teachers use children’s interests and the powerful learning cycle of planning, working, and reflecting to maximize students’ academic growth
  • Classroom Organization: Teachers organize materials, furniture, and displays in ways that encourage students’ independence, cooperation, productiveness, and behaviors
  • Working With Families: Teachers design avenues for respectful, two-way communication and collaboration with students’ families
  • Collaborative Problem-Solving: Teachers use structured approaches for working together with students to solve academic and social problems and teach them skills for solving problems with increasing independence

  • Increases social skills and academic engagement
  • Establishes positive classroom climate
  • Increases learner investment and independence
  • Decreases disruptive behaviors

Additional documents on Relation-Based Teaching and Learning

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