A Class meeting is a successful tool not only for establishing respectful relationships between the students and their teacher but also among the students themselves.
Holding class meetings will give you an explanation, apart from issues related to Use of English, to why there are closed groups of students in the classroom, or two students would rather not work together or there is this tense atmosphere when you enter the classroom in the morning!
Class meetings can be significant in creating a more positive atmosphere in the classroom.
The teacher’s attitude to conduct the meeting helps. Here are some tips:
- Let go of control to invite cooperation
- Model what you want to teach
- Ask curiosity questions (Socratic method)
- Be accountable for your part in the relationship (and the problem)
- Be objective and nonjudgmental
- Look for the positive intent behind every behaviour
- Do not use the class meeting as a guise to continue excessive control as students will not cooperate.
- Do not use the class meeting as another platform for lecturing or moralizing, this does not mean that you cannot still put items on the agenda and give your opinion!
The main purpose of your class meeting can be To solve problems but I find they are an excellent way to create this atmosphere in class where students learn To help one another and give compliments. Learning and practicing to be «good finders» through compliments and appreciations, as well as developing problem-solving skills through brainstorming for respectful solutions, are important benefits for students.
Note that it is interesting to have Class meetings regularly scheduled according with the timings and needs of your group, and that they usually are not successful at the beginning. It takes time for students and teachers to learn the skills but they are worth it if the long-term benefits are understood. You might like to follow this guideline for your class meetings:
- Form a circle
- Practice compliments and appreciations
- Create an agenda
- Develop communication skills
- Learn about separate realities
- Role-play and brainstorm
- Recognise the reasons people do what they do
- Focus on non-punitive solutions
(adapted from Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen Ed.D.)
belonging and significance
You may also want to introduce a Mindfulness practice before the meeting so everyone has «landed» and arrived at a calm place before discussions begin. The sense of belonging and significance can be enhanced by only a few minutes of breathing and connecting with the rest of the group.
La vida, sin prisa