Sunday, September 27, 2009

SWSF Code of Practice - Applied to Classroom Practice


Code of Practice sets out five core organising principles:
1. Respect for the integrity (spiritual essence) of each individual & of the world in general
2. Interest in and Positive approach towards the potential for development in young people in particular & humanity in general
3. Recognition of the central importance of lifelong learning
4. Commitment to the core task of educating children in the light of the above & to encourage, enable &
5. value the Contribution of individuals, groups and communities to the improvement of our common heritage

In the classroom, these can be “translated” into the following five core competences of the teacher:

1. Using Descriptive Affirmation – say precisely what you see in the child’s behaviour, paying special attention to positive qualities. Avoid generalised phrase like, “Good”, or “Well done”, unless you have already said what it is that has been done well. Avoid defining children as “clever”; that’s no more respectful than saying someone is stupid! Putting into more adult words what a child has said is also a mark of respectful pedagogical communication. Encourage children to express themselves in full sentences (see Challenges, 3)
2. Welcoming Mistakes – if a child gets only right answers, you’re NOT doing your job. We learn by mistakes, perfection does not need to learn. It may sound odd to say, “Thank you for making that mistake”, but if you engage the reasons for the mistake having been made, gratitude is the appropriate response! This leads to –
3. Providing challenges – choosing a challenge just outside a child’s zone of comfort is a matter of pedagogical tact & skill. Some children will be able to reach further than others, but in all cases the key difference between “a challenge” – something each person raises themselves to from within - & “stretching” – the deed of an educational Procreates – is absolute & essential for learning
4. Providing time for practice – acquiring skills involves repetition. Hand-writing, spelling, basic number facts, grammar all need plenty of practice. Education also involves training. Practice can be enlivened, or reinvigorated if a small extra (meaningful) challenge is added
5. Encouraging independence – avoid over teaching, step back & observe. Not everything can, or should flow from the teacher. This is also a practical form of respect. Expect & encourage self-reliance; this breeds self-confidence

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