September 6, 2011

Bring students into the rules discussion

One of my favorite bloggers, the extremely bright Pernille Ripp, sparked some Twitter chatter with her recent post on classroom rules.

Ripp says that students already know the rules, and we don't need to quote them in our classrooms.
'"Isn't this your 6th year in school?"  All nodded and starting to wake up a little.  "Do you need me to explain the rules or can you tell me what they are?"  With this, the buzzing started.  That little bit of chatter that kids get involved in when they start to see the light.  "We know the rules, I know how to act, we can set the rules...."'
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Obviously, as a teacher in a Results Only Learning Environment, I am on board with this approach. It's a difficult one for many teachers to embrace, though.

When I tell colleagues that I have no classroom rules, they are shocked. For some reason, there is an obsession with posting a bunch of Do's and Dont's around the room in gigantic type size.

As Ripp suggests, students already know the rules, especially older kids who have had rules and consequences hammered into them year after year by every teacher with a whiteboard or poster and tape. So, why repeat them? Why not discuss what will make any class successful, instead? Why not allow the students to lead the conversation, like Ripp did.
"I gave my students a voice and let them lead and they showed me they already know.  I am so excited for the rest of the year."
Give your students a voice, and you will be on your way to a problem-free classroom.