What are the benefits of a dynamic classroom?
A key element of the dynamic classroom is transparency. Learners know what they are learning, how they will learn it and the tools that are required in order to make it meaningful. Learners know how to be successful in their work and can offer ‘top tips’ to other pupils, ensuring success permeates the whole classroom. Pupils learn to provide feedback for improvement, both for their peers and for themselves.
Central to working in a dynamic classroom is a commitment to empowering pupils to manage their own learning. It gives them the skills and responsibility they need to make good choices as they navigate new challenges. Overall, it helps them improve the quality of their work, deepening their learning in the process.
Responsibility plays an important role when pupils provide feedback on their own and others’ work using success criteria. This responsibility needs to be carefully introduced. It’s important to avoid adversely affecting pupils’ confidence to the extent that pupils feel unable to ‘have a go’.
Recognising what ‘good work’ looks like
Pupils in the dynamic classroom know what ‘good work’ looks like in any given learning context. By understanding this, they can manage the quality of their own work and become independent learners. If they don’t know what ‘good’ looks like, they will always need someone else to give them feedback and suggest their next steps for improvement. It all comes down to encouraging them to become self-reliant learners.
Learners in this environment become resilient in the face of frustration and failure. They have the ability to respond well to challenges and believe that effort can lead to success.
This is known as a ‘growth mindset’ where pupils create and work towards learning goals because they believe in themselves as learners with the capacity to improve. It’s about having a robust self-efficacy that shapes their attitudes, motivation and commitment to learning.
Pupils with a growth mindset see effort and struggle as the path to mastery, they persevere when the going gets tough and often talk themselves through difficulties. These pupils are more attentive to what they can learn rather than to how good they look or how bad they feel.
Pupils need to be resourceful and resilient in the face of difficulties. Useful strategies like compiling and using an area of a working wall for common difficulties can provide support so that pupils “know what to do when they don’t know what to do” (Jean Piaget, pioneer in child development). Encouraging think-pair-share, talk-partners, peer assessment and group work, supports a growth mindset through the sharing of ideas and by considering alternative ways of approaching problems. Building in time for pupils to be reflective through self-assessment and self-evaluation encourages them to know their strengths and to think of different ways to improve their learning.