Accepting (versus judging)
An accepting learning environment has three essential elements:
- A teacher who attempts to understand students’ points of view and ideas by requesting clarification, elaboration and extensions of ideas before approving or challenging them.
- A teacher who is sensitive to the timing of their support. They wait to challenge students’ thinking until after mutual respect and rapport are established. If they challenge too soon, a student may feel threatened and become defensive or withdrawn. An accepting teacher also waits to evaluate the creative solutions students develop for problems until ideas have incubated so the evaluation will not interfere with student progress.
- A teacher who evaluates, focusing on strengths and limitations, rather than judging whether the student is right or wrong. Students may be encouraged to respond to each other in these ways as well.
The Classroom Permissions in Figure 4.8.1 are an accepting option for classroom rules. They invite students to feel, think, question and treat others with respect and fairness. Mistakes are expected; alternatives are valued.
Figure 1. Classroom Permissions (author unknown)