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 teasing 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 20 to 30 minutes, but it will be time well spent.
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 students, as well as among students.
- To help build self-esteem by getting kids involved in decisions that impact their world in important ways.
- 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.
- Just as families can use family meetings as times to connect and reflect on their goals and/or problems as a family, class meetings can achieve similar results.
- Class meetings provide children with opportunities for assuming responsibilities.
- Class meetings may help children to take ownership for their actions by involving them in the process of understanding and questioning rules, guidelines, limits, and consequences.
- Children are able to reason/reflect on their actions, think about the consequences of their behavior, and comprehend the impact they have on others.
- Class meetings can help students learn to associate their successes with their own efforts and abilities, thus boosting self-esteem.
- When children feel they are making an important contribution to the world, their motivation and sense of control in their lives can greatly increase.