You have a mission. To give every child a high-quality education, to provide them the knowledge and skills to make the world a better place. As an educator, you want to teach children to become creative, ethical, contributing world citizens— citizens of the 21st century. 21st century students need 21st century teachers. Teachers who build students’ academic muscle as well as social and emotional skills so they can thrive in our complex world. The Responsive Classroom approach gives teachers strategies to do just that. Meet Ms. R., a teacher who uses Responsive Classroom strategies. Her lessons are academically rigorous, connected to what’s happening in students’ lives and the real world and Common Core standards. All her lessons and classroom expectations meet children’s needs, which means students are engaged in their work and have fewer behavior problems. Ms. R.’s classroom spaces, materials, and routines are well-organized, giving children the calm and order they need in order to focus on learning. She deliberately teaches students to work individually and collaboratively; to have respectful, rigorous discussions; to reflect on their work; to persist in the face of difficulty. She deliberately teaches children how to show respect and care for one another. In short, Ms. R. provides students with that critical blend of top-notch academics and social-emotional learning that the 21st century demands. This kind of teaching works. Research and experience show that when teachers use Responsive Classroom practices they provide higher-quality standards-based instruction. Students show greater achievement in math and reading, regardless of their socioeconomic background—with low-achieving students gaining the most. And students’ social skills improve and behavior problems decrease. After a year in Ms. R.’s class, her students now have a greater opportunity for success in the rest of their school years. A better chance at college, fulfilling careers, fulfilling lives. A better chance at contributing to their communities and to the world. Ms. R. is one teacher with 25 students. But what if the teacher next door does the same?
Two teachers, 50 students. Multiply that by the number of teachers in your school. Then by the number of schools in your district. By the number of districts in your state. You could keep going. Imagine the possibilities. The good things happening in these Responsive classrooms have ripple effects. Schoolwide teacher morale and collaboration soar. Parent involvement and trust in schools increase. The community grows stronger. Society improves. Imagine your school, your district, your society transformed. It can happen.
This is the power of Responsive Classroom. And it all starts with you.