Learning is a social enterprise and classrooms are rich grounds for learning. Students learn with and from each other. The unique makeup of each class determines the dynamics of the classroom.
In order to ensure effective student engagement, it is important to understand and consider the strengths, interests, areas of need for students, and group to effective learning in the classroom.
One way to proactively plan and prepare for a class is by conducting a classroom review or creating a classroom profile. In their book, Learning in Safe Schools, Faye Brownlie and Judith King lay out a easy to follow way to this approach.
A classroom review is a process that starts with a meeting at the beginning of the school year which includes the classroom teacher, the school based team including administration and all support resource teachers involved in supporting the students of a particular classroom.
The initial meeting will take 60-90 minutes.
During the meeting, the teacher is asked four guiding questions.
Attach copy of planning sheet. P117 – (possible link to chapter at publisher site?)
As the classroom teacher shares what she has come to know of her class, the rest of the school-based team listens and thinks of ways they can support the students in that classroom.
A final and perhaps the most essential question that is asked of the classroom teacher is “What decisions can be made?”
Plans are then prepared between the classroom teacher and the school-based team members to begin establishing suitable supports for the classroom.
Some decisions that may be made include:
Brownlie and King emphasize that the tone of the meeting should be positive and focus on the strengths of the class. For example, if the class is noisy, one of the strengths might be that the class is ‘verbally astute’.
Helps to determine the types of learning activities to offer. Areas that require more support and consideration when designing a lesson or unit.
Understanding the entire class ecology in order to support the class as a community of learners help classroom teachers and their school based team become efficient and effective in their teaching practice.