In an age where parents are increasingly concerned about the harmful effects of excessive screen time on their children, including social isolation and increased anxiety, the Responsive Classroom approach used in Highland’s Lower School provides an early antidote.
What is a Responsive Classroom?
Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based practice that places as much emphasis on social-emotional competencies as academic ones, asserting that great cognitive growth occurs through social interaction. In order to be successful academically and socially, students must learn to develop empathy, assertiveness (taking initiative), responsibility, self-control, and cooperation. The approach emphasizes the integration of academic and social-emotional skills as the best preparation for student success. Teachers have a deep understanding of where each child is developmentally, and see parents as partners in the learning process.
On any given day, one can observe these practices in action at Highland. At morning meeting in their classrooms, students gather to welcome one another, making eye contact with each classmate.
How do teachers realize these objectives? The following core teaching practices comprise the Responsive Classroom approach:
Teacher Language | The intentional use of language to enable students to engage in their learning and develop the academic, social, and emotional skills they need to be successful in and out of school.
Logical Consequences | A non-punitive response to misbehavior that allows teachers to set clear limits and students to fix and learn from their mistakes while maintaining their dignity.
Interactive Learning Structures | Purposeful activities that give students opportunities to engage with content in active (hands-on) and interactive (social) ways.
Interactive Modeling | An explicit practice for teaching procedures and routines (such as those for entering and exiting the room), as well as academic and social skills (such as engaging with the text or giving and accepting feedback).