If you’ve been following Pop Goes the Classroom for any length of time, you know that we are passionate about student directed learning. At its core is the question, “Is your goal to teach or is your goal for you’re students to learn?” The answer depends on where you want to place your focus. If your goal is to teach the focus is on you. If your goal is for your students to learn the focus is on the student. And when an environment is student focused it is often loud, messy and anything but orderly. The standard approach to classroom expectations doesn’t work. If your students are connecting with the material in meaningful ways the volume in the classroom goes up and sometimes students forget they are in a learning environment as they share their thoughts and ideas with you and their peers.
So how do you manage the pop culture classroom? It’s not as difficult as you might think – keep the focus on the students. Before you begin the journey talk to them about what is going to happen. Ask them to create their own set of guidelines for appropriate behavior.
A few of the things you’ll want to see on the list might include things such as:
- no cross talk
- there are no dumb ideas
- disagree verbally but not physically
Don’t expect students to come up with these “rules” and once you’ve introduced them you might want to take a moment to do some role play.
Don’t expect your students to have the skills to be able to navigate disagreements. You might find yourself providing the appropriate words for both sides of an interaction much the way a preschool teacher provides words when young children have disagreements.
We’ll cover more on this topic in 2012.