Share your Best Practices
I am the Managing Director of a public school in the United States and love what you and your colleagues are doing!! The site is fantastic with so much great information to help educators and students! Your section about HOPE is really inspiring! I have been in education for 30 years and have worked with children from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds in public and independent schools. Also, many of my years as an educator, has been spent working with students that have behavioral and academic needs, in addition to being economically disadvantaged (over 50% of the students at my current school are economically disadvantaged). Often, hope is the one thing they and their families may still possess. One of our many jobs as educators is to provide opportunities for our students to dream, but to also help them set realistic goals and expectations to achieve those dreams. We must teach them how to plan, be able to receive and give meaningful feedback (we do this by teaching them Critique) and to be self-reflective. As you know, these are important life skills. In the Classroom Space section - "Spaces within the classroom are decorated like a home with tables and comfy chairs, where students can sit together; including cushions that allow the students to sit on the floor." Flexible seating is really wonderful IF the teacher sets clear expectations for how the "seats" are to be used, models and practices with the students how they are to use the flexible seating, and holds them accountable for using the seats correctly. "A list of rules for keeping the area clean and neat. The rules are seen as a ritual when the students must do this themselves. A division of tasks that are ‘provided’ promotes peacefulness and focus less than when the division of tasks are ‘negotiated’." I would suggest that the students create the rules together with the teacher, so that they have more ownership. As I reviewed the Planning tools, I wondered if it would be a good idea to also have an exemplar for the class planner, the weekly planner for students, the weekly planner for the teacher, the school goal planner, and the life path goal planner more accessible? Over the years, I have found that we - students and teachers - often benefit from having an example of what a good (weekly planner, etc.) might look like. I wondered if it would be good to expand the planners and have a space for writing their goals and another space for writing a reflection at the end of the week, month, etc? Last, but not least, BRAVO to the excellent and important work you are doing!