The Negotiated Classroom

I am big on developing strong Teacher – Student relationships. I have no doubt that a better learning environment will result if these relationships are nurtured. I “nurture” these relationships by:

1. Taking a personal interest in each student, getting to know their likes, dislikes, hobbies and sports, habits, etc.

2. Using humour to relax, engage, diffuse, etc.

3. Expecting that students will engage, develop good work habits, use good manners, do their best, show respect, etc.

4. Meeting and greeting the students outside the classroom. Observing body language to assess their readiness to learn.

5. Designing lessons that are relevant, sometimes fun, and interesting. Using a wide variety of learning tasks.

6. NEGOTIATING with individual students or groups.

The last point is important! I want students to share my philosophy – Work hard before you Play hard. My students know that they need “collateral” before the negotiation can begin. Their collateral is usually good work or effort. Students often negotiate for computer time, game time or puzzle solving (a lot of which involve Mathematical thinking anyway). My students and I see this as a WIN-WIN situation. With practice they become very good negotiators and work hard to get their privileges!

My next goal in the development of a “negotiated classroom” is to give students some responsibility for the curriculum.

Shelley Wright in her blog post: I used to think… states:

I used to think I needed to “run the show.” Of course this would be the only way to avoid discipline & behaviour issues. Now I know that my students are able to be co-designers of our learning environment — from choosing which curriculum objectives we will work on, to unit and assignment creation, to co-constructing the criteria for the assessment.”

As a teacher, have you implemented a negotiated curriculum? How successful has it been?


About webmaths

I have been teaching Mathematics in Victorian secondary schools for 30 years. I use the www to make my maths lessons better. I hope this blog will give other teachers some ideas to try in their own classes.
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