The classroom at the end of the rainbow

At the end of the rainbow there is a classroom. This classroom is inclusive enough that children never misbehave. This is despite these children having disadvantaged and often turbulent home lives that cause them to behave badly elsewhere. The teacher of this class has no need to learn about the sizeable literature on classroom management strategies because no such coercive methods are required.

You see, in the classroom at the end of the rainbow, the books are real enough and the tasks are authentic and engaging enough that an inner passion for learning is ignited in every child. The problems are close enough to the mundane and depressing problems faced by the students in their everyday lives that they feel highly motivated to tackle them. And the learning is deep enough that the students can transfer what they have learnt to myriad different contexts.

Relationships are important, and in the classroom at the end of the rainbow, these are positive enough and respectful enough that children never argue with each other or disagree with the teacher. In lessons, there is sufficient student talk that children feel truly heard, showing ownership of their learning and definitely never slacking off or messing around.

Resources are scattered around the classroom that are rich enough that children naturally develop their ability to read, write and do mathematics, provided that the teacher scaffolds the tasks to just the right level and notices all of the teachable moments. And anyway, if the children don’t learn these things then it doesn’t matter because computers will do all of that in the future and what children really need to know is how to solve problems, get along with each other, braid their hair with daisies and sing songs to the coming Age of Aquarius; all skills that are developed at a really deep level in the classroom at the end of the rainbow. We’re not talking about rote daisy braiding here, we are talking about daisy braiding with understanding.

So how does your classroom look? Does it look like the classroom at the end of the rainbow? Perhaps you are giving children engaging and authentic tasks and not seeing the same levels of motivation? If so, it is obvious that the tasks must not be engaging and authentic enough. Perhaps you have an inclusive classroom but children still sometimes misbehave? Then consider this: Is it real inclusion?; is it really real inclusion?; Is it really?

If not, you need to get closer to the end of that rainbow. What’s that you say? As you approach the end of a rainbow it moves ever further away? Science demonstrates that rainbows have no end that you can reach? Shame on you! This is positivism. You should know that it’s impossible to apply the ‘scientific method’ to something as complex as human relationships.

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