The Value of Responsibility in Creating a Classroom Environment
Having a class that is both well-managed and inviting requires the teacher to create an environment where students feel as though they are an essential part. Creating that world is no small feat, but a necessary one. Without classroom management, the required curriculum has little chance of being taught or learned. Teaching students they have a vital part to play in the form of responsibility is one of the key elements to having a classroom environment where the students are a family of learners.
Creating a family of learners begins with having a classroom where students have a voice, feel safe, valued, and capable. These qualities help teachers and students develop a relationship where students thrive because the teachers have set an expectation of greatness. In the YouTube video by ActiveNationUK on responsibility, they talk about setting standards when giving responsibility. If the teacher sets the standards low, the result will be low. Conversely, when there is a high standard then results will be high. Teachers need to initially and continually make sure to model the behavior they want seen in the students. When the teacher has a messy desk, the students see that and copy that behavior. When the teacher is on their phone and not paying attention to the students they see that and mimic the behavior. If the teacher wants responsible students they need to show the students what that looks like: being on time for school, pushing in chairs, respecting others with their words and actions, and making sure their own teaching space is tidy.
Building a family of learners is necessary not only for classroom management, but because the social skills children develop while in that community last a lifetime. Students learn that their actions not only affect themselves but the learning community as well. This lesson teaches students that they need to be responsible for themselves and their peers. The authors of The Key Elements of Classroom Management support the idea of a family of learners when they state, “We want our classrooms to be seen as communities of learners where all students are responsible for their own learning and also the learning of others” (McLeod et al. 70). Families help each other, they look out for each other, and they are responsible for each other.
Teachers are with their students for the majority of the day and often become a second-parent to the students. Having a classroom culture that encourages family traits that help the students feel they are a part of a community of learners. That community will take responsibility for their own actions and in-turn help their classmates succeed in school and life.