"Teaching students how to use skills and carry out routines is central to their learning and to the smooth running of any class" (p. 44, Responsive Classroom, 2016).
The purpose of this blog is to share a visual showing Responsive Classroom's Interactive Modelling using an example (how to tag) in PE. Additionally, I will outline ways how modelling may increase/decrease during the course of a school year & how you might modify Interactive Modelling to suit the needs of your students.
Interactive Modelling (Responsive Classroom, 2016) is a way we can teach students to do something in a specific way. This might include putting away PE equipment, using their iPads in a PE setting, getting water during class, taking a break at the "Cool Down" zone, lining up to exit class, and tagging during a chasing and feeling game (see below's example).
Why Interactive Modelling?
Modelling in all subject areas helps influence the desired behaviour for students (Methe & Hintze, 2003). It's not uncommon for teachers to show the behaviour or skill for students to perform and then take questions and move on with the activity. From my experience, Interactive Modelling limits these questions often coming from students who simply don't understand what they are supposed to do. It puts ownership on the students to "notice" and identify what the intended behaviour/skill is. Instead of saying, "any questions?", the teacher asks guiding questions ("What did you notice about how I moved when I went to lineup?") about the behaviour being modelled and as a group, the students are able to verbally state what the intended behaviour is (e.g. I noticed that you walked when lining up). I find this type of modelling reduces confusion and allows for more purposeful participation in tasks - students better understand routines and activities modelled effectively.
Steps of Interactive Modelling
There are multiple steps involved in Interactive Modelling. Saying that, it looks different for your teaching context(s). For younger children, and from my experience working with 3-4 year olds, PE is often new and more explicit modelling is needed to ensure routines are smoothly and safely carried out. For older children/youth, less modelling may be needed; however, your expected routines may be very different for students how had a different PE teacher in the past. As the year progresses, modelling for routines should naturally decrease as students become very independent in carrying out routines and procedures. Saying that, I find myself going back to more explicit modelling after long breaks away from school (e.g. Winter Break, Spring Break, etc.).
Looking at the visual (above), you may also skip step 2 and 3 and move to step 4. Or skip step 4. Sometimes, especially if the routine is fairly routine with students now, less modelling may be purposeful to ensure more time in other activities without taking away from confusion and chaos!
If you are not using Interactive Modeling in your teaching, try it out and see how it works for you and your students. I'd love to hear how it went!
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