A Vygotskian Classroom

A classroom teacher working within the Vygotsky model designs and implements differentiated programming immersed with literature to meet the varied needs and levels of development within the classroom.

What does that look like?  First and foremost, behavior expectations are set and maintained consistently.  This will allow the centres based class to operate smoothly, promoting positive working conditions and respect for other learners.  This does not mean it will be a silent class!  Far from it, but within the collaborative model, respect for other learners sharing the same space must be instilled.   Secondly, parameters and expectations for centre participation and rotation are presented, discussed and practiced.  Next, time and effort are required to plan centres which will meet the zone of proximal development of the students.  As skills and knowledge build on one another expanding the student’s backgrounds, the sequential nature lends itself to development of differentiated centres.  The centres will require on-going rotational teacher instruction in small group/one:one, lots of collaborative group work within the centres to promote oral language and understanding, and an organized method of record keeping (anecdotal records, workshops, conferences, skill assessments).  The centres format promotes a collaborative model, builds teamwork, and values joint projects and partner solutions.

Finally, literature abounds throughout the class.  Language in all it’s forms, literature to be used, shared, explored… Students will self-select books and articles, they will look at selections recommended by peers through thoughtful and provoking summaries, reviews and presentations.  A student publishing station will allow all students to develop, design, publish and share varied forms of literature.

Through this model, students are scaffolded through skill development, provided support as needed and they experience the gradual release of responsibility so they can celebrate their growth.  The interactive nature, both between students and between the teacher and the students develops trust and independence.  Assessment is completed in clips of time, reflecting the student’s ability, needs and providing the framework for the next step in planning for their instruction.  Due to the on-going assessment, the movement of students between centres is fluid.  Communication skills are developed, The ability to work both collaboratively and  independently alongside others is a key element of success.

I love this model!  I have implemented it successfully in both grade 3 and grade 5 classes and have also dealt with the sometimes overwhelming time constraints to set up the class so that it is as effective and impacting as I have planned!!  Regardless of the details involved to achieve the practical application, once implemented the Vygotskian classroom is rewarding, uplifting and celebratory.

© Michelle Redman and mredmanwrites, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michelle Redman and mredmanwrites https://wordpress.com/post/87298231/new

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