11/09/2017

THE WIN-WIN CLASSROOM


The win-win classroom is a classroom where both the teacher and the students are the winners.

One may wonder;
Isn’t every classroom a win-win classroom? Teachers are there to bring something new to their pupils, and the pupils learn something new. It’s a fool-proof win-win, isn’t it?

Well, I’ve read Jane Bluestein’s ‘The Win-Win Classroom’ book. Fascinating. Not everything is so black and white as I used to believe. There are so many shades of grey, all of them of paramount importance to children’s well-being in the long run.



And, even though I strongly believed I was doing in the best interest of my students, I sometimes wronged them.

How can this even be possible?

THE BREAKTHROUGH

To me, the first and the most important turn was the realisation that I allowed being run by others. I a way, I was a victim who couldn’t change classroom management because:

·         The school system was as it was. You could not change it.
·         There were teachers who were in school longer. They knew best and therefore, I had to follow their mind.
·         It was unheard of to say ‘no!’. Not to the headteacher, or parents, or older teachers. You simply did what you were told.

So, I conveyed the upper attitude into my classroom. And, whenever my lessons wouldn’t work, I knew who to blame. It was never my fault. My intentions were always good, but …

To my utter shock, I one day realised, my students copied exactly the same approach from me. It was never their fault, they were just following my orders.






Until one day, I said ‘NO MORE!’.







So, I changed my own attitude and believed to become a better role model for my students.  







IT’S ALL IN THE APPROACH


REACTIVITY  (MOTIVATION)


Traditional way: The students are punished for their unacceptable behaviour. I believe, they will change their ways in order to avoid punishment. (‘You are not playing, because you didn’t do your homework!’)

The win-win way: The students work because they want to earn privileges. (‘Of course you can play, right after you hand me your homework.’)
There’s a nice example of the win-win activity at Mateja’s blog HERE.


NEGATIVITY (MOTIVATION)

Traditional way: I correct mistakes and grade students according to the number of mistakes they have made.

The win win-way: I sum up the progress the students have made and grade it accordingly.

Year 5 - Writing with the help of the Visual Story



PRODUCT OVER PROCESS (MOTIVATION)

Traditional way: What I want is the (correct) result. I focus on the outcome. I give example at school, but give students homework to learn it. (Bring me some cut-out pictures on animals and learn their names. Or, look at the pictures in a workbook, memorise their names at home.) We stay with the topic for a game or two, but I expect from children to learn the names of the animals at home. There are many topics covered within a school year.

The win-win way: I focus on the process of learning. Children do things themselves. We play games, where children are involved, and they learn the names of the animals through the game. We stay on the topic for several lessons, until children learn the names. We tend to have only a few projects within a school year in which we entwine different topics.

ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING

Traditional way: I focus a lot on controlling students, expecting them to follow my way. I choose the exercises, games, rules, I never give students options, no power, and no control. (Students are seated, using exercise books, following orders, learning what’s written/being said, silence is required.)

The win-win way:  I focus on building positive emotional environment by focusing on socialisation first. Children often work on their own, find their own paths to solutions, are allowed making mistakes and having control over their learning process. (A lot of social-oriented tasks with ‘noisy’ periods, I am an organiser and students are learners.)




PROFESSIONALISM AND FLEXIBILITY

Traditional way: I follow the state-mandated curriculum as closely as possible, regardless of my students’ cognitive and emotional needs. (I teach the curriculum/ workbook.)

The win-win way: I use the state-mandated curriculum as a guideline. I tailor and adapt it according to my students’ cognitive and emotional needs. (I teach the children.)


RELATED THEMES