Strategies for Reshaping Practice: The habits of the classroom
'Reshaping practice' puts the focus on what teachers do, in order to reflect their new way of seeing by their teaching. It is changing the habits and practice of teaching to work with a new perspective. There are many ways of reshaping practice: changing the layout of the classroom, altering an approach, attending to the atmosphere and ethos of a lesson, changing an emphasis, selecting different resources, adjusting student interaction, encouraging questions and making connections. For any given lesson teachers need to examine their teaching 'habits' and reshape their practice in ways that best suit their new way of seeing that lesson. Teachers can do this by…
Using the physical space
Using the physical space and classroom environment may entail a different arrangement of furniture, changing seating arrangements and creating spaces for different uses. It includes setting up or changing displays.
Establishing atmosphere and ethos
Establishing atmosphere could include using music, noise, silence, lighting, colour, images, body language and posture. It includes how the class outlook is embodied in concrete forms: are they inward or outward looking? How is this expressed in your classroom? Is the ethos put into practice? How?
Choosing the right framework for learning
Choosing the right framework and context for learning could, for instance, mean giving skills a new purpose, using an image/metaphor to give learning a different framework, using different examples, using stories.
Focusing on the key emphasis
Focusing on the key emphasis entails highlighting key words, using objects to focus attention, a consistent use of language, emphasising key concepts and phrases and bringing what is important to learners’ attention.
Choosing tasks and resources
Tasks, resources or activities can be changed to suit a new emphasis. Once teachers see a lesson in a new way, old worksheets, activities and tasks may need to be reviewed. Where choice is possible new content can also be used.
Adopting an appropriate style or approach
Adopting appropriate styles and approaches means that teachers examine the approach they use and their teaching style and decide if anything needs adjusting to meet a new emphasis. For instance, this may involve using a storytelling style for some lessons.
Planning the lesson and student interaction
Thinking about planning may mean changing the introduction or ending of the class, planning in silence, choosing what to include or exclude, pace (e.g., slow contemplation) and assessment. Teachers can plan student interaction to match the new emphasis (pairs, groups, role-play, games, collaboration, etc.).
Encouraging thinking can be done through raising big questions, choosing questions, uncovering assumptions, giving space for discussion and provoking thought by experiencing contrasts and clashes.
Making connections is about connecting faith with various curriculum areas/parts of life, using faith sources and examples and raising faith questions in new contexts. It is about applying learning to issues in society beyond the classroom, inviting visitors and focusing outward.