How are we learning now? Explicitly teaching behaviour in a dynamic classroom.

Recently, I came across a basic yet effective poster (featured above) for demonstrating behavioural expectations in dynamic learning environments on WeAreTeachers Facebook page.

I teach a Year 7 class, but I also realised how relevant this could be for some of my senior students – they seem to “forget” to behave appropriately sometimes. I decided to try it out with my junior students first – and they loved it!

Surprisingly, what I expected to be a quick, 2-minute show-and-tell lecture ended up being a 15 minute student-directed discussion.

Sure, expectations for independent learning activities are pretty straight forward. However, the social skills such as ‘turn-taking’ and ‘eye contact’ are, unfortunately, not somethings that get “taught” explicitly in class or at home very often. These are skills we learn to pick up throughout our everyday encounters.

Furthermore, although it was only the first term of high school, the Year 7s seemed to have already dealt with issues in group environments.

“Miss, what if your team members are not being productive and relying on you to complete all the work?” “Some people tend to be more dominant than others in discussions. I didn’t get a chance to have a say in my group.” “How do we deal with difficult situations and people in groups?”

The conversation took its direction to a discussion about responsibilities as a team member AND as a leader. It is crucial for all students to understand to distribute equitable responsibilities of each team members. Furthermore, a leader is not someone who makes the decisions alone, does all the work and has the most power. They are the traffic officers, who ensure all team members are respected and heard equally and fairly. This also means that they encourage quieter students to participate to their best possible ability – if they are not so confident in English and writing, maybe they might be good at visual representations, technology, organisation and/or providing creative ideas.

The students were highly engaged  in this explicit discussion of behavioural expectations in these dynamic environments. They even asked me to post this on our online class platform. So, experiencing the effectiveness and the success of this poster, I adapted this idea to create a infographic that visually represents the expectations.

how are we learning poster

This will be printed, laminated and posted on our classroom walls, as a reminder students and teachers can refer to each lesson. Please feel free to share and use it and let me know of your own success stories. Any suggestions and feedback are also always welcomed!

Download printable PDF: (POSTER) How are we learning?

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