Archive for the ‘Behavior Management’ Category
Pro-teacher tips: People engage in communities when they feel a sense of belonging, significance, and fun. (Crosspost from Candaceopinion)
I wrote this post for my new blog that has a digital community management focus.
Ryan Arndt’s post 7 Ways to Put LOVE Back Into Your Community Management has great advice for community managers AND teachers (it turns out Ryan used to be a teacher! Go figure.). This post made me wonder which elements of my teaching philosophy and practice I apply to new community management roles.
I’m lucky enough to teach at a school that has a social-emotional approach to education. All classrooms use a community-building model called Responsive Classroom. The end goal of Responsive Classroom is to create engaging communities of intrinsically motivated learners who care for the social, intellectual, and emotional health of their classmates. I can (and will) write many posts about how my classroom management plan is similar to my community management plans. The focus of this blog post is the core belief of Responsive Classroom. In order for learning to happen, people must be engaged. For people to engage in a community setting, they must feel a sense of belonging, significance, and fun. Belonging is the feeling that we are important to our community. Significance is the feeling that what we say matters to our community. Fun is when we experience joy with our community.
In my experience, most brands go for the joy factor first. Schwag, booze, and food are thrown at potential community members in the hope that they will engage. The Responsive Classroom framework helps us understand that this approach is superficial. Slightly better brands combine social opportunities with joy: exclusive and intimate networking events (with booze, schwag, and food). This is better but not sufficient. Brands tend to forget that people will not engage in a community if what they say or do isn’t significant. In the past few years, we’ve seen brands start to tackle significance with their customer service outreach (JetBlue, for example). In the past year, I’ve noticed brands take this a step further and create opportunities for community feedback to change brand operations. Mashable’s article 5 Fitness Brands Kicking Butt on Social Media gives a case study of a contest by Under Armor that ended in users being crowned social media experts for five weeks.
What are the innovative ways your brand (or brands you love) make you feel significant? (Please comment!)
I’m always looking for new ways to show my students how we have grown over time intellectually and socially (community building). Capzules (via angelamaiers on twitter) seems like an innovative new way to do that. Capzules says you can “combine your videos, photos, blogs, and mp3s into rich, multimedia story lines”.
I’m brainstorming uses for my 5th grade class:
– Making our class time capsule during our last morning meeting of the week. Keeping track of our class goals, celebrations, favorite lessons, etc.
– Digital storytelling in language arts, social studies, and science: having students tell stories using digital media.
– Portfolios: uploading student work into a digital portfolio they can keep forever.
– Better teaching: keeping a portfolio of my lessons and contributions of the class. This is a cool way to track professional growth.
You don’t have to bury this time capsule in the playground.
Imagine a race where everyone is trying to lose. Races to the bottom are a bit more complex than this scenario but the outcome is the same: instead of competition yielding the best outcomes, competition clamors around second-rate outcomes. Races to the bottom occur when the perception is that sub-par outcomes can yield benefits or when the voices of those who experience costs are left out of decision-making.
Most economics and political science textbooks give examples from competition surrounding international workers rights or environmental laws. When one country eliminates or decreases the penalties for violations of these laws, a competition ensues between countries to do the same, because business flows to countries with less regulations, transaction costs, and taxes. This leads to a situation where countries are vying to have less protections for the environment and their workers – they are racing to the bottom.
There are many school-based examples of races to the bottom I could talk about in this post (No Child Left Behind, Teach for America, etc). I’m going to focus on handraising because I’ve been thinking about it for awhile.
A few days ago, I was sitting in a class about policies and practices of English language learners. We were having a discussion about equitable participation in class. My instructor asked “what is the definition of engagement you use in your classroom?”. One of my colleagues had a brilliant (and slightly terrifying) answer. She said: “Engagement is when students care about the direction and process of their own learning“. I believe her definition because I’m a constructivist: I think that children construct their own knowledge when they encounter experiences that intrigue and challenge them. My colleague’s idea is brilliant and terrifying because of the standards many of us use to measure engagement and learning in our classrooms. We ask questions and look for raised hands. I’ve observed many elementary classrooms over the past few months. Teachers are nervous when no one raises their hand to answer questions and satisfied when students do. I’m not entirely sure how raised hands and spoken answers correlate to learning. Did the student already know the answer? Does it help students to listen to the answers of their peers when the teacher determines truth? It seems like there is a dual race to the bottom happening. Many teachers settle for raised hands at the expense of allowing learning processes to occur that are less teacher-controlled and have less “obvious” evidence of outcomes. Students create norms and power structures of their own. Some try to have the right answer to please the teacher. Many assign “smart” and “dumb” labels based on their peers’ handraising. They see handraising as part of the game of school rather than part of their learning process.
I’m not saying we should eliminate all questioning and handraising from our classrooms. Of course there are provocative questions, student-centered discussion formats, and other tools of our trade that resemble traditional handraising but have different outcomes.
Do you think handraising is a race to the bottom? How do you define engagement in your classroom?