Gina Deininger presented her research paper entitled the ‘The Cohesive Classroom‘ at the 8th Global Conference of the Inter-Disciplinary Net, entitled “Creative Enagagements: Thinking with Children” at Mansfield College, Oxford. Below are some of attendees engaging in a creativity task set by Gina.
The paper presents findings from an action research study undertaken at a Bilingual school in Germany. The study focused on a third year primary class (8-9 years), a class teacher and a teacher’s assistant. The study looked at factors that affect cohesiveness in a classroom. This was because children were exhibiting difficult behaviours in transitioning, interacting with one another and exhibited irresponsible behaviour in unsupervised situations. The students were assessed through interviews and observation to determine their learning style preferences. The majority of students preferred learning through experiential and tactile means. They also preferred artistic outlets as a means of learning and expressing themselves. An opportunity arose during this study for the students to have unstructured time where they could initiate their own activities. This time was called ‘chill-out time.’ The children were able to choose their own activity as long as it was a quiet, relaxed activity. The students chose mostly to draw, play, build with blocks, massage one another or read. This ‘chill out time’ proved to be incredibly important in contributing to the overall cohesiveness of the class. The children and teaching staff all reported that the ‘chill out time’ was the major contributor to the class feeling more relaxed and being more cohesive. There were two very interesting aspects of the ‘chill-out time’ that were observed: the element of autonomy for the children and the activities chosen were often of a creative nature.