Search form

About The Blogger

Steve Haberlin's picture
Steve Haberlin is a Ph.D candidate at the University of South Florida, where he also works as a teaching assistant, supervising and teaching pre-service teachers. Steve holds a master's degree...
Back to Blog

A Vision for the Classroom

Years ago, a mentor gave a very useful suggestion. He told me to visualize what my ideal classroom would look like. Not just the decorations on the wall and the seating arrangement, but all the aspects of my “ultimate classroom,” including how the students behaved, what the learning looked like, how I was teaching each day, my interactions with parents, and the kind of academic (and social/emotional) results I would achieve. It was a powerful exercise.

I was recently reminded of the importance of developing a vision when completing a program called, self-authoring, which involves mapping out various areas of your life by writing what you would ideally like to achieve in those areas. I thought how this activity might be applied to teaching. What if teachers mapped out their ideal classrooms by writing about various areas? I think this would be a very useful professional development (I’ve never participated in anything like this, though it might exist).

Below are some of the areas that teachers might write about. Without worrying about logistics or other “practicalities,” they could maybe spend 10-20 minutes writing about each category. Together, these categories would comprise a teacher’s ideal classroom environment.

Students:

Teachers could describe their ideal student behavior and learning. What might students be doing in the classroom? If learning was optimal, how might that appear? Are students engaged in group activities, discussions, debates, writing, reading—all of the above? How are the students interacting and treating each other?

Resources:

In an ideal classroom, what supplies and resources exist? What kinds of books, project kits, technologies, chairs, etc. are in that classroom? How are these resources being utilized?  What impact do these resources have on student learning and outcomes?

Parental Involvement:

How would you ideally describe interactions with parents? What kind of parental support do you receive? Are parents being supportive of homework requirements? Do you envision parents coming into the classroom to volunteer? Remember, this is your ideal vision.

Student Outcomes:

Write about ideal student outcomes and learning gains. What kind of performance would you like to see from your students? What kind of test scores and other achievement indicators occur in an ideal setting?

Teaching:

In a perfect classroom, how do you picture yourself teaching? What pedagogies are you using? How are performing and feeling each day?

Creating a vision for the classroom can help teachers clarify their aims. Though cliché, the saying holds up that you can’t hit a target you can’t see. Please don’t take this activity as some Pollyanna view of teaching.

While not all these visions might come true, thinking things through in terms of the different areas of the classroom could assist teachers in better defining their goals, taking more effective approaches, and feeling more motivated each day.