Strategies for Reshaping Practice: The habits of the classroom #8

Change the context / framework

All teaching takes place within a framework of ideas and values and we can adjust the framework or context within which we teach. Maths does not have to be taught within a consumer framework of shopping and spending; it can be about giving. French does not have to be taught in a tourist framework dominated by satisfying personal needs and securing goods and services on holiday; it can be about humbly encountering another culture. A change of image or metaphor can give teaching an alternative framework; for example, seeing the world as God’s playground or garden can promote different thinking about the world and our relationship to it and each other.

  • Teachers can use a hospitality context for modern foreign languages where language is used to welcome the stranger from another place. This can lead to using a modern language to welcome a new member of the class.
  • Teachers can use a range of biblical images such as gardener and responsible ruler when exploring our relationship to the environment. The image of faith as a cake containing ingredients such as thinking, feeling and acting can be used to frame teaching about the nature of faith in religious education.

These examples show how changes of context and framework can change thinking and create potential for changing behaviour.