chapter  24
3 Pages

Responding to Learners

Heading up the stairway, the principal notices two children heading down. They are happily slip-sliding and jumping steps. They are so involved in their “sport,” they don’t notice the adult until she demands that they stop. Just as she is about to launch into lecture mode, she decides to try out the Responsive Classroom approach to language (Horsch, Chen, & Wagner, 2002) she is learning in workshops. “Remind me,” she asks one of the boys, “how do we go down the stairs in our school in a safe way?” “One step at a time?” he says. “Okay. Show me how it looks when you do that,” she tells the other boy. He walks back up the stairs and comes down with precise steps. “Exactly,” she says. “And why is that important?” “So we are safe.” “So we keep others safe.” She nods her agreement. “Think you can do that now and keep yourselves and everyone else safe?” They nod in solemn assent and set off, one step at a time. Seeing them in such good control, she thinks to herself, “I like this. It works.”