My philosophy for the classroom is student centered. With my approach I want to empower the students to not only make good choices but to also retain the ability to make good choices when I am not around. For this reason, I emphasize a principles based approach.
The classroom should remain safe for all students, especially in an arts classroom; students are asked to make creative choices that may involve taking chances and ‘putting themselves out there.’ They must feel free to take these creative risks. Because of this I have only three rules.
One, Respect yourself. Students cannot put down or belittle their own work or potential. However, they must respect their abilities in the present and make choices that stretch their learning appropriately. They must have the respect for themselves to motivate their own work and take on appropriate challenges. These are all aspects of respecting ones self.
Two, Respect Others. Students are not allowed to insult the work of another student or decide that they have something better to do when another student has the stage. Students must respect each other through a mutual engagement and appreciation for the creative process.
Three, Respect the space. This could be rephrased as “leave the classroom in better shape than when you found it.” Students are expected to clean up after themselves and their peers. This includes putting away and returning things that they did not take out in addition to things they did use in class.
Following these three rules will create the model student and help to maintain a safe environment. It is only in an environment that is safe and respectful that the students are able to learn. Students that are not able to follow these rules will be reminded of them, asked to determine an appropriate response for their actions, and may be also asked to leave the class.
Through classroom management – based in my three rules – I can create an environment that allows every student to learn at their own pace, take on challenges with the content, and interact with the ideas of theatre.