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Responsive Classroom

Responsive Classroom is an approach to teaching and learning that recognizes that the process of learning is as important as the content. A social curriculum is taught along with the academic curriculum. Children learn skills such as cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control in order to promote successful interactions. Knowing and working closely with children and their parents is crucial. Finally, the Responsive Classroom philosophy encourages adults to model positive behaviors in school in order to help children learn them. Responsive Classroom practices integrate the creation of a positive community, engaging academics and effective classroom management.

This approach has been adopted at the Beecher Road School both to address the need for “character education”, and to improve the academic and social environment in school.
Studies have shown that the first changes in schools adopting the Responsive Classroom approach are the renewed morale and commitment of teachers. Inevitably, this leads to improved teaching and learning. These studies have shown that the improvement in academic performance follows very quickly. Responsive Classroom creates the framework for developing classroom strategies for academic improvement as well as guidelines for behavior. The use of carefully taught academic choice is one core part of Responsive Classroom.

Responsive Classroom practices are being used in almost every classroom at Beecher. A large core of teachers and administrators have now received formal Responsive Classroom training, and are implementing common practices and philosophies about how children learn best. The school has seen that the renewed commitment and energy produced in this group has positively affected children and other staff members. By early November 2010, all Primary School teachers and most Primary TAs will be fully trained. Further faculty and staff training will broaden and deepen the approach at Beecher Road School.

Beecher Road School is fortunate to have two nationally certified Responsive Classroom trainers as part of the staff.


At Beecher Road School…

  • The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
  • The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  • How children learn is as important as what they learn: Process and content go hand in hand.
  • Knowing the children we teach – individually, culturally, and developmentally – is as important as knowing the content we teach.
  • Knowing the families of the children we teach and working with them as partners is essential to children’s education.
  • To be successful academically and socially, children need a set of social skills: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
  • How the adults at school work together is as important as their individual competence. Lasting change begins with the adult community.

Classroom Practices Of Responsive Classroom

Morning Meeting—gathering as a whole class each morning to greet one another, share news, and warm up for the day ahead

Rule Creation—helping students create classroom rules that allow all class members to meet their learning goals

Interactive Modeling—teaching children to notice and internalize expected behaviors though a unique modeling technique

Positive Teacher Language—using words and tone to promote children’s active learning and self-discipline

Logical Consequences—responding to misbehavior in a way that allows children to fix and learn from their mistakes while preserving their dignity

Guided Discovery—introducing materials using a format that encourages creativity and responsibility

Academic Choice—increasing student motivation by differentiating instruction and allowing students teacher-structured choices in their work

Classroom Organization—setting up the physical room in ways that encourage independence, cooperation, and productivity

Working with Families—hearing families’ insights and helping them understand the school’s teaching approaches

Collaborative Problem Solving—using conferencing, role-playing, and other strategies to engage students in problem solving

To learn more about Responsive Classroom visit their site at