Building positive classroom climates and school culture through class and whole school meetings.
What I think whole school meeting is:
One thing St Peters Lutheran School does that makes it stand out from other schools is our whole school meetings and class meetings. A whole school meeting is when all teachers and students come together to talk about things that are going on in our world and school, problems that need to be fixed and ways to improve our school. In whole school meetings when we can’t find efficient and effective solutions we take it to class meetings where all classes separately discuss it between themselves.
Class meetings manage smaller problems and situations that are more specific to each class as well as problems from whole school meetings that need more discussion or voting. In a typical class meeting students sit in a circle and a chair opens the meeting. Old business is discussed and new business is dealt with. Class and school celebrations are shared and the meeting is closed.
How is it good for students?
Class and whole school meetings help develop public speaking skills, leadership skills, responsibility, listening and analysing skills, reflective thinkers, and develops an increased sense of control over our class and school.
We become problem-solvers, coming up with fair and effective ways of helping improve and change behaviours. It also builds trust and respect between teachers and students and student and student. Our Year 7s also get a chance to learn the skills of leadership and to put it into practice.
Our students’ perspective:
Students were asked to think about whole school meetings and class meetings and what they mean to them. The way our students answered gives insight into what’s happening in our community; an awareness of the way we work together in community; and how we come up with solutions to our problems.
Here are some thoughtful responses from our students and teachers:
- Everyone listens and is intrigued by the new information.
- At whole school meeting we are told the rules to follow in case you didn’t know, you forgot or they were updated.
- It tells you what’s coming up so you can stay in tune with the current information.
- We can have an input in rules and conversations if we have a good idea.
- If something doesn’t go to plan in the meeting we wait patiently.
- I think it is a time when we all get together and discuss some problems and some good things that are happening like how my class won the mathematics competition.
- Class meetings are a time when the whole class meets and we discuss what organisations we might like to give our offering.
- We plan solutions for things that are happening around our school like what to do about our blocked path.
- I love how problems in our classroom are no longer the teacher’s problems to solve — they become the class’s problems. My students realise that it is their classroom as much as mine and they take great ownership and pride in that.
- The students are given the opportunity to have a voice and say about their school.
Without exception – students and teachers love class and whole school meetings and are pleased to go to a school where all members of the school community can have a say about how the school is run.
Theo Sweet (Year 6) and Nicolle Jakube (Classroom Teacher)