17 June 2008

Class culture and behaviour update

Since my last post, I feel I have made some positive progress in establishing more of a co-operative and caring 'team' environment.  I can't say it's top-notch, but definitely improving.

I have had to utilise a few different things.
  • Friday afternoon activity time, where time allocated relates directly to amount of marbles left in jar by end of week (1 marble = 1 minute, starting Monday morning with 30 minutes)
  • Regular (twice a week) class meeting where we discuss our team goal and open up for students comments on issues as a class and any 'celebrations' or positive comments on specific things that individuals or groups have done to show a supportive and caring team-player.
  • Ongoing teacher-sharing of expectations and use of words relating to teamwork, support, co-operation.
  • Occasional activities with a purposeful 'team-building' aim.
Of these, the marbles have been useful but diminish quickly over time in their 'power' to influence.  Possibly partly due to my personal preference for intrinsic motivation, but this also matches research on the long-term use of external motivation.

I have been impressed with the development over time of the class meeting.  It is moving away from being mostly filled with 'teacher talk' and has more contributions from the students themselves.  Hopefully empowering them to both share and listen as a supportive team who are beginning to consider more how their class environment can be improved for friendship and learning.