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Responsive Classroom®

I was thrilled when I found the website for Responsive Classroom® (, because the material on their web site described the components of excellence that I saw at the Classroom on Carpenter Lane. And, they have gathered data that show how widely applicable are these components of excellence: “Independent research has found that the Responsive Classroom approach is associated with higher academic achievement, improved teacher-student interactions, and higher quality instruction.”

The work described on the Responsive Classroom® website gives me hope that high quality instruction like that seen at the Classroom on Carpenter Lane, could be available to children everywhere!

The following paragraphs are direct quotes from the Principles and Practices page of the Responsive Classroom® web site:

The Responsive Classroom approach to teaching is comprised of a set of well-designed practices intended to create a safe, joyful, and engaging classroom and school community. The emphasis is on helping students develop their academic, social, and emotional skills in a learning environment that is developmentally responsive to their strengths and needs.

Core Belief

In order to be successful in and out of school, students need to learn a set of social and emotional competencies—cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control—and a set of academic competencies—academic mindset, perseverance, learning strategies, and academic behaviors.

Guiding Principles

The Responsive Classroom approach is informed by the work of educational theorists and the experiences of exemplary classroom teachers. Six principles guide this approach:

  1. Teaching social and emotional skills is as important as teaching academic content.
  2. How we teach is as important as what we teach.
  3. Great cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  4. How we work together as adults to cre­ate a safe, joyful, and inclusive school environment is as important as our individual contribution or competence.
  5. What we know and believe about our students—individually, culturally, developmentally—informs our expec­tations, reactions, and attitudes about those students.
  6. Partnering with families—knowing them and valuing their contributions—is as important as knowing the children we teach.

The following paragraph is a direct quote from the Research page of the Responsive Classroom web site: “Responsive Classroom® has been found to be a high quality program to support social and emotional learning: “In 2011, the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) conducted a meta-analysis of 213 school-based, social and emotional learning (SEL) programs involving 270,034 kindergarten through high school students. Compared to controls, SEL participants demonstrated significantly improved social and emotional skills, attitudes, behavior, and academic performance that reflected an 11-percentile-point gain in achievement.”



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