The pragmatic classroom is based on the theories of Harry Wong and Rosemary Wong, authors of the book "The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher." These theories suggest that a structured learning environment helps students feel secure and thus learning is enhanced and behaviour is improved with a set daily schedule. For this to work teachers must set expectations and clear procedures, and teach children the benefits of following them.
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Strengths and Advantages
When students learn how to follow procedures they more secure about their environment and what is expected of them. This security allows the student to feel relaxed in his environment because he has mastered the environment. He is not insecure about what to do next. This helps students get back on task after something such as a fire drill. It also allows for seamless teaching with a substitute teacher because procedures will stay the same. This reduces behaviour problems and keeps the focus on learning and educating.
For a pragmatic classroom to be successful, there must be set classroom procedures for every part of the day. Even free-time is structured. Children are taught procedures for asking questions, going to the rest room, turning in homework, how to leave the classroom and anything else that would happen during a normal school day. Teachers explain and teach procedures while having students practice the procedures in the same manner as they would any math or reading assignment with visual tools and printed steps placed throughout the classroom.
Collaborative space is imperative in a pragmatic classroom. Teachers often become preoccupied with information that they feel must be on the whiteboards and notice boards. The pragmatic classroom belongs to both student and teacher. Student work should be displayed as much as possible. Instead of the teacher always choosing what decorates the class, students have a say in what goes up, thus giving them ownership and a sense of responsibility for their environment.
In many classrooms rules are made by the teacher and then presented to the children. The rules are imposed on the children at that point instead of being created between the students and the teacher. Creating rules collaboratively allows children to see the rules in a different light because they created them. Ownership of the rules is established and children obtain a clearer understanding of rules, consequences and procedures.
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