Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based approach to education that focuses on the strong relationship between academic success and social-emotional learning. The Responsive Classroom approach empowers educators to create safe, joyful, and engaging learning communities where all students have a sense of belonging and feel significant. Classroom jobs are part of this approach.
Monday mornings are especially exciting in Ms. Wendy’s classroom because that’s when students choose their weekly jobs! Classroom jobs can help build a sense of excitement, community, and interdependence in a classroom from the very start of the school year- they teach children responsibility. As Chip Wood said, “The only way for children to learn responsibility is to have responsibility.” In order to develop decision-making and reasoning skills, children need opportunities to exercise and practice doing those things. Classroom jobs give students these chances, and they also give students a chance to be responsible in a meaningful way: the children know that completing their job helps their classmates and their teacher.
Classroom jobs only teach responsibility and build a sense of community if they are taught and used effectively. Here are some keys to success that Ms. Wendy uses in her classroom:
- Students understand the purpose of each job.
- All students have a chance to have different jobs.
- Reflecting with children about how jobs are going and if they need to be tweaked fosters a deeper sense of mutual responsibility.
- Reinforce student success. Children need to hear specifics about what they are doing well with regard to class jobs — “I’ve noticed that all of you have been remembering to do your job. Your dedication helps our community.”