Class meetings can be an excellent multipurpose tool for your classroom. This simple strategy of setting aside time for students to discuss classroom issues as a group can yield far-reaching benefits.
For example, you can hold class meetings to involve students in important decisions such as “How should cheating be handled?” or “What can we do about cheating in our school?” Don’t be afraid to let students think about these weighty issues. You may be surprised by the thoughtful and creative solutions your students propose.
While each teacher and class need to find what works best for them, it is worthwhile to have a weekly time set aside for class meetings. It may require only 2o to 30 minutes, but it will be time well spent.
What is a class meeting?
Class meetings can be held informally, when the need arises, to discuss something of importance with the students.
Whatever model is used, class meetings provide students with the opportunity to participate in a group exchange of ideas in a respectful, caring atmosphere.
Class meetings are a place to share, encourage, listen, think, decide, plan and evaluate.
- Time to share information with students about what is going on in the class or school that week.
- Students are gathered together to make plans for a new unit of study.
- A means for trying to solve problems that come up in the class.
- Review ground rules, mission, goals, plus/delta comments
- Be mission focused and data driven!
- Most importantly: Class meetings focus on the data center and progress toward class goals.
Why have class meetings?
- To get kids involved in constructive decision-making in their classrooms and schools.
- To build a climate of trust and respect between teacher and student, as well as among students.
- To help build self-esteem by getting kids involved in decisions that impact their world in important ways.
Purposes of Class Meeting:
- Class meetings assist students in personal growth. Provide for a student voice in the classroom. This is a place where ideas can be heard in the respectful atmosphere of a circle. Self-esteem is nurtured and self-confidence increases.
- Class meetings help students to resolve conflict. Students bring problems to the meeting that they wish to have help in solving. The group must then work hard to clarify problems before it comes up with possible solutions.
- Class meetings allow students to make suggestions and plan activities. They provide an opportunity for students to suggest activities that the class might do.
- Class meetings help improve academics. When students feel valued, they are happier, and when they are happy, they like coming to school. As students notice each other’s progress and strengths, they begin to take more pride in a job well done. They strive for quality and celebrate that in each other.
- Class meetings unify the class. As conflicts in the class are resolved and feelings are shared, friction is reduced. The class begins to function as a community, working together toward goals and showing support for all members.
- Class meetings serve as a classroom management tool. When students are accountable to their peers, misbehavior in the classroom is reduced, and when it does occur, deciding upon consequences is a shared responsibility of both the class and the teacher.
- Class meetings provide an occasion for enjoying each other’s company. The process is formal, but the atmosphere is relaxed, comfortable and accepting.
- Students often develop a better sense of responsibility when given a chance to make meaningful contributions to the world around them.
- When children believe they are contributing to the school environment in a significant way, they feel a more positive attachment to school and are more motivated to learn.
- Students who are allowed to problem solve and make some of their own decisions are likely to “buy in” to the solutions.
Skills that Students Gain:
- Listening skills
- Responding skills
- Public speaking skills
- Leadership skills
- Organizational skills
- Thinking skills
- Problem-solving skills
Information taken from the following web sites:
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