Building Cooperative Environments

creative commons licensed (BY-NC-ND) flickr photo by Pensiero: http://flickr.com/photos/pensiero/3496059097

Dr. Lori Desautels recently published an interesting piece on Edutopia with an update to class roles. She writes:

“Last week as I was driving to one of our large, diverse public elementary schools to speak with teachers about connection, my mind went to a different realm of classroom structure and function. I began to think differently about what bonding and empathy look like in our classrooms. Traditionally, we give students classroom responsibilities with different jobs (paper passer, line leader, errand runner, etc.), but what if we built relationships and trust through leadership and caregiving roles? These roles and responsibilities call us to explore an emotional climate in our classrooms that would breed service and compassion. When we engage with one another, feeling the power of our compassion and service, the neural circuitry in the brain shifts, and our “reward system” of dopamine and serotonin sharpens our focus, emotional regulation, and engagement. We prime our brains for deepened learning and social connection.” 

Read the entire piece here.

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