In Conferences & Conversations by Douglas Kaufman, he observes Linda Rief, a language arts teacher in New Hampshire, and education guru.
I’ve been assigned to read a few chapters in the book as part of professional development with the grade level teachers in my department.
So what did I read? Well, the opening line in chapter four states, “Good teachers practice what they preach.” The author observes Ms. Rief in her classroom and comments that “. . .both classroom design and a class action. . .reveal much about what the teacher believes.”
In my classroom, I value student expression. They can say whatever they want to say as long as they give a reason and can back up their thoughts and opinions, when it is appropriate.
The chapter did share a few things about writing that I will try to implement in my classroom too: sharing my writing with students might be fun. It serves as an example of modeling.
Conferring with students gives immediate feedback and can be very interesting because every student is unique. It can be exhausting period after period, but I like getting to know each student as individuals.
Rereading the title, how is my classroom inviting conversation? I love small group seating and shifting seating arrangements every quarter. After looping with students for two years, our team know each other well. They get used to my teaching style and trust each other for expression.
We all start to bond. It’s called rapport.