What is Responsive Teaching?

What is Responsive Teaching?

Students enter classrooms each year with learning baggage – preconceived notions, learning differences, personal biases, etc. As a result, we have to ensure that students are at the forefront of our thinking as we implement patterns of instruction and design experiences that help guide students on a meaningful journey of learning. And, that is Responsive Teaching! In a nutshell,  responsive teaching requires the educator to be in sync with students’ varied learning needs as it relates to the end goal: transfer of knowledge/skills acquired to relevant, authentic, and applicable situations in life.

The Intersection: Relationships & Responsive Teaching

The core of Responsive Teaching is relationships! It’s easy to allow the term “relationships” to become an eductional cliche, but it’s the fabric that is threaded throughout a successful classroom and educator-learner interactions.

  • Relationships help educators understand the intricacies of a learner to meet his/her needs.
  • Relationships help educators generate excitement, motivation, and interests to the content.
  • Relationships help to bridge the gap between content/curriculum and the learner’s background/experiences.
  • Relationships make it easy and efficient to respond to learner needs.
  • Relationships help educators understand content readiness and progress toward the end result.

Create Opportunities to be More Responsive While Teaching

Now that we have an understanding of the definition and how relationships are the core of Responsive Teaching, let’s explore some next steps to create opportunities to be more responsive while teaching:

  • Find as many moments as possible in class to connect with students more regularly and intentionally.
  • Set the bar high and foster complex thinking in class. Design challenging experiences for all learners.
  • Push learners to be metacognitive about their own progress and to share their reflection with you.
  • Provide voice and choice in the process (how learners get to the end result) and the product (how learners demonstrate they are at the end result). Provide as many ways as possible to express learning.
  • Intentionally design formative assessments to specifically measure impact on learning and monitor progress.
  • Design diverse & collaborative learning experiences that require students to learn from and evaluate the experiences of their peers.

As educators, it’s our duty to respond to the varied needs of our learners – and make achievement gains one learner at a time! Find ways to implement patterns of instruction and to design experiences that help guide all students on an extraordinary path of education. Now that we understand more about responsive teaching, be the responsive teacher!

One Comment on “What is Responsive Teaching?

  1. Pingback: Twitter Chats Unhinged: Rejuvenating the Purpose | A Journey of Leading & Learning

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