What is Responsive Classroom?

The Responsive Classroom approach to teaching emphasizes academic, social, and emotional growth in a strong school community. The program is founded on the belief that how children learn is as important as what they learn, and that academic success is inextricably tied to building social-emotional competencies.

There are seven guiding principles that frame the Responsive Classroom approach:

  • The social and emotional curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
  • How children learn is as important as what they learn.
  • Great cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  • To be successful academically and socially, children need to learn a set of social and emotional skills: cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
  • Knowing the children we teach—individually, culturally, and developmentally—is as important as knowing the content we teach.
  • Knowing the families of the children we teach is as important as knowing the children we teach.
  • How we, the adults at school, work together is as important as our individual competence: Lasting change begins with the adult community.

What are the benefits for my child?

The Responsive Classroom approach benefits ALL children. The program focuses on four key domains that benefit every student: Engaging Academics, Positive Community, Effective Classroom Management, and Developmental Awareness.

What kind of training do teachers receive?

Responsive Classroom provides extensive training for teachers and administrators. The first step is to take an intensive, multi-day training. Ongoing and advanced levels of training are available, and there are lots of books and online resources to support teachers.

Professional development in the Responsive Classroom approach strengthens educators’ ability to:

  • Design lessons that are active and interactive
  • Use effective teacher language to promote academic and social growth
  • Encourage engagement by giving students meaningful choices
  • Start each day in a way that sets a positive tone for learning
  • Set high expectations and teach students how to meet them
  • Establish routines that promote autonomy and independence
  • Build a sense of community and shared purpose
  • Teach students 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, and innovation