Helping Students Make Connections and Find Internal Motivation

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Raha International School

  • Khalifa City ‘A’, Abu Dhabi
  • Private K-12 international school
  • Implementing Responsive Classroom since 2018

I often wanted to work on building internal motivation within my students, but I struggled to keep them motivated and their behavior on track as the school year progressed. During the year, my students’ behavior would get increasingly off track, and I noticed myself getting frustrated and having a shorter fuse when students misbehaved.

After taking the Responsive Classroom Elementary Core Course in 2018, I felt reinvigorated and ready to return to the classroom. I had learned strategies and tools to help me teach discipline in a caring and helpful way that would set both my students and myself up for success. I changed my classroom management style by including more positive teacher language and reinforcing language, and I implemented a more purposefully organized Morning Meeting. These steps helped my students build community in the classroom and provided opportunities to share, form connections, and participate in fun activities. Consistency in our Morning Meeting aided the class in building empathy and relationships. Students began showing care for one another in new ways and using the connections made during Morning Meeting throughout the rest of their day. Purposeful Morning Meetings have also given me the opportunity to see students in a new light and to form connections with them in ways I never would have been able to before.

When a Responsive Classroom Elementary Advanced Course was offered, I knew I had to take it. I am so grateful to have had that opportunity to collaborate with my peers and to learn more about role-play, Guided Discovery, and Academic Choice using The Joyful Classroom and other resources. These are strategies that I cannot wait to implement in the classroom and that I know will have a positive impact on my students’ learning.