The Four Classrooms
A Neohumanist Game
Preface: These notes are for the facilitator who can use these notes as part of the reflection after the activity outlined below in "The Four Classrooms Game".

Teachers usually fall into three groups:

1.The old style authoritarian teacher (as Authority) who has a paternalistic attitude to students and their families;
[Positive values Respect, Discipline, Order]

2.The humanist teacher (as Scholar) who has a devotion for the mainstream (middle-class) knowledge categories and a desire to share (in order to enlighten/inculcate) with children and their families; [Positive values Respect from sense of Relationship, Self-Discipline, Order, Cooperation, Curiosity, Life-Long Learning]

3.The critical teacher (as Revolutionary) who has an awareness of how knowledge and power go hand in hand and a desire to develop critical literacies in children and their families. Classroom is democratic and children have a say in learning.
[Positive values Respect from sense of Relationship, Self-Discipline, Order, Cooperation, Curiosity, Life-Long Learning, Sense of Justice, Issues-Based Awareness, Confidence, No Fear of Change, Self-Awareness and Reflexivity]

Teacher No 1 sees classroom practice in terms of discipline and information transferral. – defining quality: FEAR

Teacher No 2 sees classroom practice in terms of collaborative learning, curiosity and a sense of knowledge acquisition as an end in itself – a passport to higher social status and value. – defining quality: ENGAGEMENT

Teacher No 3 sees learning as a practical, democratic and liberatory project in which students gain critical capacities and the skill and confidence to engage with social change – defining quality: PASSION

Teacher No 4 There is a fourth category:
The Neohumanist teacher: defining quality: JOY.
This individual builds on Teacher one, two and three. They integrate and synthesize positive value structures with a spiritual context and a sense of depth, promise and joy. This is not expressed so much in words as in practice. Sadhana builds the foundations, there is a clear sense of the spiritual and social mission directs personal energy, devotion is contagious – children feel connected to something greater. The teacher is both co-learner and wise guide.

No1.
Teacher as Authority
Rule of Law
Discipline and Punish dissent
Discourage Questions
Heavy Structure and Knowledge Factory
Reward correct answers.

No2.
Teacher as Scholar
Rule of Reason
Teach through fascination and curiosity
Reward interest and ignore dullness
Preference for Academic Disciplines
Restricted appreciation for Learning Styles
Praise and Dramatize.

No3.
Teacher as Revolutionary
Rule of Questioning
Democratic process challenged by questions from teacher
Information shapes opinion and guides social action
Self-interest identified with the group and the globe
Classroom a microcosm of the globe.

No4.
Teacher as
Authority-Scholar-Revolutionary
Rule of Love
The Rational is applied benevolence of mind.
Classroom as ongoing conversation.
Choice shaped by emerging process
Teacher will initiate activities and processes that open heart-head dialogue both for individuals and the group.
Collective singing and other creative none-language based actions.
Meditation is either implicit or explicit according to sense of teacher.
Wonder-awe a key feature as is sense of mission and the interconnectivity of all things.

 

The Four Classrooms Game
This game explores these four positions through role play and reflection.

Step 1
Divide workshop into four groups.

Step 2
Introduce the four categories of teacher-in-the-classroom as in side bar above:

Step 3
Tell each group they will team teach according to the profile given above. They are not to tell the other groups what their profile is.
Give each group a number on a card with their profile attached and allow 5 minutes (maximum) in private spaces to work out how they will run their class. (see side bar on first page)

Step 4
The facilitator then calls the groups together and sets some rules.

1. Follow instructions of the leading group;
2. Act quickly as there is only 7 minutes for each group’s role play;
3. Don’t talk/reflect while in process;
4. Behave as you would if a student in a class;
5. Keep questions till after the four groups have run their class.

Step 5
The facilitator then runs the classrooms in numerical order (1, 2, 3 & 4). It is important to progress in the correct order so as to get a sense of the opening up of the personal, psychological, emotional and spiritual space. The facilitator calls out the next number when 7 minutes is up. There should be no time for reflection until all the classrooms have been run.
Facilitator calls STOP!

Step 6
Reflection Time 1
Allow 5 minutes for people to talk in their own groups about the experience.

Step 7
Reflection Time 2
Entire group now discusses the experience led by the facilitator who asks these questions:

1. What were their emotional responses?
2. What names can we give to each classroom?
3. Where would we find each classroom in the country where we work?
4. What are the strengths of each model?
5. What are the weaknesses?
6. If we were teachers, and some of us are, what do we need to do to work towards the
    NH model.
7. How do we build a bridge between language (rhetoric) and practice?