This summer I went to the Science Teaching Responsiveness Conference. While there was much debate about what “Responsive Teaching” even means, there is loose agreement about the kind of thing it is and some of the typical ingredients we’d expect to be present. My interpretations of what some of those things might be:
* Classroom structures and practices centered around making student thinking visible
* Noticing / attending to student thinking–the substance of their ideas, not just the correctness.
* Interpreting and relating to student thinking with a disciplinary lens
* Responding to students contributions in ways to foster and promote productive disciplinary engagement
* Supporting students in entering disciplinary pursuits (practices, mindsets, attitudes) as part of learning disciplinary content, and recognizing that those two goals can be in conflict in moments.
* Fostering a communities of learners environment that is appropriate to the discipline and the population
* Selecting out of student contributions new learning targets (instructional objectives) that are taken up as part of the curriculum, adapting instruction in order to do so.
Two orienting examples that were frequently brought up were:
Deborah Ball’s, “With an eye on the mathematical horizon…”
David Hammer’s, “Discovery Learning and Discovery Teaching“
Website to Visit
If you are interested in responsive teaching, I’d highly recommend a recently launched website “Responsive Teaching in Science“. It garnered much excitement at the conference, and provides resources for engaging in responsive teaching, including lots of videos from elementary school classrooms, case studies, readings, etc. I’m hoping to use the website in my physical science course for future elementary school teachers this year.