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Teaching Today For Tomorrow Issue Nine (Winter 1997)

 Building a Supportive Classroom
 Judith M. Newman  

Six year old Danny and I are playing checkers. He's just recently developed an interest in the game and while he wants to play, he finds it quite frustrating. Melissa, his four year old sister, doesn't understand what's going on and so he can't hone his skills with her; his father, Jordan, plays quickly and wins so that's no fun for him either.

I had barely walked into the house before Danny had started nudging me to play checkers with him. After a couple of attempted put-offs, I agree to play. We set up the board.

"Do you want to be black or red?" I ask.

"Black," Danny replies.

"Why do you choose black?" I wonder.

"Black goes first." he answers.

That's interesting, what rules does he know, I wonder, and where has he learned them. This is the first time we're playing so I'm willing to see how things proceed; I choose not to ask him what he knows about the game.

With the pieces laid out (he knows to arrange them only on the black squares) I say, "Let's go."

"Danny reaches to make a move, stops, looks at me and says, "Don't play your hardest."

I pause for a moment, not quite sure what to say. "How do you want me to play?" I finally ask him.

"Just play medium," he returns.

"Okay." I've been told clearly Danny wants a chance at winning . I'm inferring that 'medium' means he's doesn't want me to throw it; but he also doesn't want me to play at an adult level. So I comply. I make moves that allow him to take a number of my pieces; I also, however, take some of his. This first time, Danny wins.

We set up the board again for another game.

"How hard to you want me to play this time?" I ask. (See, I've learned something here.)

"Still not your hardest," he answers.

As we play, I allow him to take some of my pieces, not quite so many, but enough so that he wins again.

With each successive game I up my level of competition; each time Danny lets me know "how hard" he wants me to play. On that occasion we played six games; he won them all.

About a week later I visited the family again. Once more Danny wanted to play checkers. We started as before, Danny telling me not to play my hardest. The first three games he wins. As we're setting up for the fourth game, however, Danny says to me,"This time, play your hardest!"

Ah-ha, he's just let me know he's feeling confident enough to handle losing. So I play as an adult and I win. No big deal. We set up the board one more time, I win once more.

We play one final time, I let Danny win, but not too easily; I make it a close game.

What remains so vivid about this episode, which occurred more than twenty-five years ago, is that it taught me an important lesson -- the learner has to feel some degree of competence in order to be willing to risk engaging in learning. At the very least the learner has to believe that he or she has the capacity to learn successfully, to trust that he or she won't be made to feel too stupid or embarrassed in the situation.

I think about how this six-year old structured the situation for himself. A relatively confident learner in the first place, Danny had no qualms about telling me, an adult, how to engage with him. He clearly set the boundaries for my participation in the situation. I realize his confidence came, in part, from my being a long-time family friend, not a teacher, and we were playing in his home, not in a school setting. Nevertheless, the incident certainly started me thinking about how, in my teaching, I make it possible for learners to take risks. How could I intentionally create what I would now call a supportive classroom?

I first came across the notion of a supportive classroom in a small monograph of that name developed by the Halifax County-Bedford District School Board (Church, 1988). In the monograph the authors describe how they have been striving to create learning environments in which children have the opportunity to learn through andabout language in the context of meaningful, purposeful language use. We have also been developing and refining our own roles within the classroom, working out how best to facilitate and support children's learning (p.5).

The monograph discusses the contexts supportive of children's early language learning and goes on to explore how similar supportive environments can be created in classrooms. As the authors explain -

In school, the aim is to create classroom environments like the ones which are supportive of children like Daniel before they come to school. The challenge for teachers is to create situations sufficiently rich and flexible to meet the needs of 25 or more very different individuals who come to school with a range of prior experience.

That kind of learning situation offers children experiences that help them to extend the learning strategies they have used so effectively in real-world settings. It provides the support children need to continue to develop their knowledge about language and their ability to use language for a variety of purposes. Teachers, like parents, offer many different kinds of support depending upon the needs of the child at a particular time. They constantly make decisions about the environment and about the teaching strategies they will use (p.7).

A child's learning occurs in many different ways; in whole group activities, in small group situations, in one-to-one exchanges with the teacher and other children, as an individual. A fundamental aspect of a supportive classroom is that the teacher attempts to monitor learners in all of these learning situations and attempts to offer support which meets the diverse needs of each learner.

Precisely what constitutes support is not well understood. In 1994-95, I began working with some teachers in the St. Boniface School Division in an effort to flesh out an understanding of what a supportive classroom might entail. The teachers began by selecting a couple of children in their classroom, children they considered 'at-risk', whom they found puzzling, and about whom they wanted to learn more. We created situations in which the teachers could work with these students both individually and in small groups and we monitored those children's learning in a wide range of classroom activities. The point of the project was not to fix these at-risk children but to learn, through observation and activity with the child, what learning and literacy strategies the child was actually using and how to use the instructional situation (individual, small group, and large group activities) to discover what instructional tactics supported these particular learners and facilitated their literacy development.

Eight-year old Savannah transferred to our school from BC, in the fall of '94. Cumulative file records indicated she was reading at a grade 1 level. I observed her during independent reading activity early in September. Savannah was fidgety and had difficulty staying in her seat. She said she couldn't find a book to read on her own because "I can't read the words." The classroom theme was friendship and I had made many books at various reading levels available for the children to choose from. I sat down beside Savannah to read with her from the book she had chosen, Making Friends. It was soon evident that her strategy for reading was to "sound out" the letters in the words. She wasn't very successful at it; she miscued frequently. "I can't read words too good," she said. It was then that I encouraged her to tell the story using the pictures. With me directing her reading (What is happening? What will happen next? How do you think?) Savannah was able to predict what the story was about but could not use this to help her deal with the printed words. I also observed that in small group situations Savannah had a lot of difficulty staying focused. By the end of the month I could see that Savannah

  • lacked confidence as a reader and did not find reading enjoyable
  • read very little on her own
  • had difficulty choosing an appropriate book to read
  • did not see reading as meaningful
  • knew some decoding strategies but could not use them successfully
  • could use pictures to tell a story (LN, June, 1995).

We learned a great deal about observation. Our focus on learning about the children through close and systematic observation helped us become much more aware of the children's avoidance and anxiety behaviours and to intervene more quickly in supportive ways. Our increased focus on observation raised the need for developing new record-keeping strategies which in turn raised questions about instructional strategies in general. We discovered, for example, that the behaviour of our at-risk students demonstrated a high level of anxiety and avoidance. This anxiety/avoidance took many forms: withdrawal, acting out, inattention, defensiveness, dependence. Sometimes a child demonstrated a predominant anxiety/avoidance behavior, sometimes a range. We became more adept at noticing and identifying these behaviours. Being able to observe and identify the children's anxiety/avoidance behaviour made it possible to engage in instruction that sought first to diminish and subsequently to eliminate their anxiety. We explored a range of ways of providing instructional support to discover what worked with each individual child.

I began by providing Savannah with frequent opportunities to read with me on a one-to-one basis; my goal, at first, being to lessen her anxiety about reading. I collected several predictable books for her to choose from. I noticed she consistently chose ones that seemed familiar to her. To introduce new stories to her, I invited Savannah to do shared reading with me. I carried most of the load at first, Savannah, beside me, echoing along. She was very comfortable with this support and soon became more actively involved in the reading. She made comments such as "I like this story." With repeated readings, Savannah took over more and more of the reading herself. As she became more familiar with the story, her reading became more fluent. Next I noticed she began using picture clues more independently. Savannah was still attempting to "sound out" words but her efforts became more accurate as she used context to help her predict. By the beginning of November I felt that Savannah was ready for another audience. After she had successfully read a familiar story, One Dark Night, (with virtually no support from me) I asked her if she would like to read it to a grade one student. She thought she could do that because "I know the story." On her return to the classroom Savannah was exuberant. "I really did good," she said. So, I made arrangements with the grade one teacher for Savannah to read on a once-a-week basis to one of the grade one students. Savannah was now beginning to view herself as a reader, she was taking more risks with unfamiliar books, she was learning to choose books that she could handle independently. I noticed she was even beginning to help other students with their reading (LN, June, 1995).

We observed the children's anxiety/avoidance behaviours in one-to-one settings, in small groups, and in whole group instruction. We discovered that the opportunity to work with a child individually enhanced our ability to pick up on anxiety/avoidance behaviours in the classroom and, rather than attempt to deal with that behaviour directly, we became more adept at providing support which allowed the child to engage. We learned that not every child needs the same support.

When he felt insecure, ten-year-old Andrew would become very disruptive in the classroom and often needed to be removed. It was difficult to assess his ability accurately and his refusal to cooperate caused most adults to walk away from him. Andrew was perfectly prepared to take any power struggle as far as he could and often the administration would have to intervene to make him behave.

Andrew's behaviour continued to frustrate me and too often he was diverted from his academic work by refusing to cooperate. It became clear to me that we were engaged in a power struggle and he was determined to be in control.

I believe that, ultimately, children are in control of both their learning and their behaviour. The moment a power struggle becomes part of the relationship then everyone loses and the focus becomes distorted and nonproductive. Coercion might work for a time, but at some point students figure out that adults truly have little, if any, power over them.

The issue of power and Andrew's behaviour became a serious problem in the classroom. He frequently refused to go out for recess. He wanted to work on the computer. He would cry if he wasn't reminded to go for his speech lesson at the usual time. He adamantly refused to go to music.

One particular day, his behaviour was so contrary, that he was sent home. He arrived back at school saying his mother had told him that he had two choices, he could either cooperate and work or he would have to go back home. He had chosen to return to school. We later learned, however, that he hadn't gone home; instead, he'd walked part way and then returned with his story. Although there was some concern about his elegant lying to me and the principal, it was evident Andrew saw school as a place he wanted to be.

How could I give Andrew the power he needed without giving in to his tyrannical behaviour? How could I get out of the power struggle that I didn't want to be in, that Andrew continually created? Andrew gave me a clue one day. He told me AI won't go to music and, if you force me to go, I will misbehave and Mr. Benson will send me out of the room. Andrew knew exactly how he to get what he wanted; he had it figured out . . . he was in control. It occurred to me, then, I was the one who had to adapt!

I decided to approach the problem by assuming Andrew was behaving in a way that served him. He was attempting to get his needs met. Was I helping him or was I being a barrier? With the help of the administration, student support staff, and school psychologist, I began to deal with Andrew differently.

Why didn't he want to go out for recess? Was it because he didn't cope well with the noise and activity? Was he actually making a good choice for himself by resisting going outside (he knew his playground behaviour often got him into difficulty)? I arranged for him to help out in the library during recess. I made a contract with him that if his work was done, then he was free to make the choice of staying in or going outside. If his work was not done, then he stayed in like the other children to finish.

Our 'deal' kept Andrew engaged. He began to finish assigned work, not perhaps in the most thorough way, but he was sticking with tasks until he reached some kind of completion.

Andrew has taught me a great deal about both teaching and learning. I now understand, in a way I didn't before, that emotional needs have to be satisfied in order for students to be willing to engage; that I can't make anyone do anything he or she doesn't want to; that external power has limited impact on what children will learn; children's views of themselves as learners will determine whether they'll choose to engage or not. I now see that my job is to create situations in which children like Andrew can be successful (AD, June, 1996).

By changing our focus from "fixing the child" to "learning from and with the child" we discovered how to respond to an individual child's needs in ways that led to less avoidance and more engagement on his or her part. Our observations of individual children proved beneficial with all children in the classroom. We learned to be more observant of all students and consequently learned more about their individual strengths and their learning strategies. We also came to understand how important it was to record behaviours that were no longer happening as well as new ones that were emerging. The absence of anxiety/avoidance behaviours were as strong an indicator of engagement as the development of strengthened learning strategies.

Brent entered the room; he checked me over from the doorway. Mrs. Anthony was talking to him. I greeted him; attempted some conversation, too. He was having none of it.

Brent sauntered over to the table and sat down making a point of having his back to me. Mrs. Anthony told me a bit about Brent before she'd gone to his classroom to accompany him back to the resource room. A first-grader, Brent was not adapting to school very well. He was all over the place, unwilling to stay in his seat for long. He wasn't interested in books; he wouldn't engage in any sustained way with school tasks. Mrs. Anthony had asked me to do some assessment to see what Brent knew about reading/writing.

Since Brent was refusing to acknowledge me, Mrs. Anthony took out a couple of very simple picture books she'd been using with him. She asked Brent to choose one to read to her. He chose Balloons. He looked at the cover and, at her prompting, read it aloud, pointing to the word. He opened the book and read the title page - Balloons. Turned the next page and read - three red balloons. He read through the book, commenting on the pictures as he went. He didn't need much help.

From the sidelines, I, too, commented on the pictures. Slowly, Brent began including me in the reading. Just before we reached the last page I tossed in a challenge. The page read - I like blue balloons.

"Brent," I said, "I think that page says - 'I like yellow balloons'."

"No, it doesn't," was his immediate reply.

"I think it does," I persisted.

"It begins with 'b'," he insisted. "And these balloons are blue," he said, pointing to the picture.

"Can you write the word blue?" I asked, reaching for some paper and a pencil for him.

He took the pencil and copied the word.

"Can you tell me what letters are in that word?"

"B - l - u- e," he said turning to face me for the first time.

"Can you write something about 'blue'?" I asked.

"I can write 'I like blue balloons'."

"Try it," I suggested.

Brent copied the sentence from the book.

"Can you write something else?"

"I can write 'I like to play'."

"Go ahead."

Brent copied 'I like,' sounded out 'to', then turned to me and said "I don't know how to write 'play'."

"How do you think it starts?"

"With a 'p'."

"Do you know how to make a 'p'?"

"Yes." He proceeded to form the letter. We talked about the rest of the word, I wrote it on some scrap paper, he copied it.

"Can you read this whole page now?"

Brent proceeded to read what he'd written.

We continued for another fifteen minutes.

After Brent had returned to his classroom Mrs. Anthony and I talked about what we'd observed. It was clear Brent could be quite engaged if he felt he wasn't being threatened. He recognized quite a few letters, he could write them. He understood how to use picture cues to help him predict what the print was saying. He knew how simple sentences were constructed. He certainly knew that print represented meaning, that it flowed from left to right, that there were spaces between words.

Mrs. Anthony expressed her surprise at how long I'd been able to keep Brent engaged. We talked about what Brent could do on his own, about how I kept extending what he could do so that he continued to feel in control of the situation.

"I was interested in finding out how long I could keep him going," I said. "We know he can be engaged for nearly a half an hour. I suspect that's a lot longer than he'd normally allow himself to be engaged in the classroom."

Mrs. Anthony confirmed my suspicion.

"We've now got to watch him in the class to see if we can understand what he's avoiding," I suggest.

With some idea of what Brent could do with assistance, we needed to find out what he could do on his own.

As soon as we had some data on the children we began exploring ways of putting the learner in control of the learning. We started with the children's vulnerabilities, finding out what they were and ways of compensating for them. We wanted to discover exactly what the children were capable of doing independently. Being able to identify their independence level was crucial because it provided an indication of what engagement looked like for that particular child. It offered a baseline against which to assess their anxiety/avoidance behaviour.

Once we located what a child could do independently, we explored increasing the complexity of the task with an eye to providing just enough support to help the child sustain his/her engagement. We discovered various ways of keeping the child going in one-to-one instructional situations and then attempted similar strategies in small group and whole class situations. We learned that judicious attention to what the children were attempting to do and offering support as quickly as possible allowed the children to function more independently for longer in the classroom.

We extended our exploration to situations which were beyond the students' current level of functioning in order to discover ways of helping them participate and learn from complex literacy activities although they were yet incapable of engaging in them on their own. Lev Vygotsky (1978) refers to this as the zone of proximal development. We explored ways of creating a balance, both for the individual children, as well as for the class as a whole, between activities which the children could engage in independently and those which required some, or a great deal of, support.

We began to identify and describe various kinds of support:

  • working at a task together - shared reading, shared writing, working collaboratively, then offering the child an opportunity to attempt the task independently (being ready to 'share' again if it should be needed)
  • providing practice within a group context and for a real audience (not just teacher as examiner); i.e., readers theatre creates a situation requiring repeated readings of a difficult text in a group context as well as for subsequent performance for a real audience
  • asking the learner if help is needed, then asking him or her to identify what help would be useful
  • asking questions
  • to help the learner analyze the task
  • to help the learner verbalize the strategies they're using
  • to help the learner verbalize other potential strategies
  • to find out "How did you do this?"
  • providing the learner with some choices for the outcome of what they're doing
  • making it legitimate for and encouraging the children to work with partners
  • demonstrating and verbalizing our own strategies, talking about how we engage with reading and writing
  • providing the children with exemplars and a range of printed resources
  • pointing out when the children are successful

Being able to identify these various kinds of support proved very valuable. Naming what we were doing allowed us to be more deliberate when making instructional decisions for particular children. In turn, this developing list of supporting strategies make us more open to learning from the children. We learned to slow down, to give a child time, to take our lead from the children at the same time not losing sight of the complex tasks we wanted them to be able to handle independently. Most important, we began to learn from this individual instruction how to sustain the child in the classroom and help him or her remain engaged in small group and whole group situations.

We learned to shift our gaze from teaching to learning. Our emphasis on learning to observe, on making inferences and interpretations from our observation, served as a basis for instructional decisions and shifted our attention to the learners. We discovered that the children had a range of productive learning strategies at their disposal but that our instructional activities didn't always permit the children to use them. We learned to make openings for the children to use and extend their strategies.

We found that growth can be very uneven. Gains can be made in one aspect of literacy and not with others at a particular time. Growth in reading may not be mirrored by growth in writing; and the converse/growth in writing can outstrip growth in reading. We found that there is no single path to literacy proficiency. Some of the children engaged with reading more easily; others took off with writing. We explored ways of more closely integrating reading and writing activities. We found the children become more independent readers/writers when the reading was supported with writing and the writing supported by books.

We learned the importance of not lowering the goals for the at-risk children. We learned not to be afraid of keeping them in challenging situations but to find ways of supporting them so they could be successful.

The following episode with Kevin, a second grader, illustrates some of the above aspects of a supportive classroom at work. I don't know for certain, but I'm guessing his teacher considers him lazy, uninterested, generally slow. But he's none of that; what she's seeing, in my view, is his resistance to school tasks which result from his not being able to do what's expected of him. He doesn't read well, he can't copy from the blackboard because he can't read so he can't keep track of where he is, he takes forever to get anything done and mostly he gives up and goofs around.

I've been hanging around Kevin, trying to help him out. It's a constant evaluation situation - trying to find out what he knows, what he can do independently, what he can do with my help, what strategies he employs, and what he can articulate about them. It just happens that the class has been engaged in spelling or writing of some sort when I've visited the room. Kevin's been in his seat, not being disruptive, but not engaged in the lesson either. Kevin talks to me and picks up his pencil if I help out; he doesn't shut me out completely. Unlike Andrew, he accepts help when I offer it.

Yesterday, our interaction went something like this.

"What are you trying to do here?"

"Copy that writing on the chart." (It's a fill-in-the-blanks item with Halloween connections. The teacher has had the class brainstorm some possible words to fit the blanks. Now the children are supposed to copy the text filling in the blanks using words provided below in the lists.)

"Can you read it to me?"

Shakes his head 'no'.

"Let's read it together."

We read through the text together a couple of times; I wait for Kevin to insert the elements he wishes. He does it without too much prompting.

Today's chart consists of the following:

They _______ and _______.

I felt ___________.

I didn't know what to do.

Words like howled, screeched, laughed, roared are on the first list. The second list has nervous, terrified, sad, excited on it.

Kevin reads, "They howled and roared. I felt terrified. I didn't know what to do"

"Can you find the word 'terrified?'"

He shakes his head.

"Where can you look?"

"On the red list."

"That's right. What does 'terrified' begin with?"


"Got it. Spell the whole word out."

"T - e - r - r - i - f - i - e - d."

"Can you find 'howled?'"

He does. Then we read the chart again filling in the blanks once more. Now it's time to copy it into his notebook. Kevin looks at the chart and copies 'T,' looks again and copies 'h.'

"What's that word you're writing down?"


"You're right. Look at the whole thing, all four letters. Say them out loud for me."

"T- h - e - y."

"Take a good look at it. I'm going to stand in front of it so you can't see it and I want you to write the whole thing at once."

He does it slowly but correctly. We go on to the next word. He has trouble tracking 'howled' from the list on the chart so I write it on scrap paper and put it beside him. We take a look at the word, I encourage him to see morphemic chunks - howl, ed. I don't name them that for him but I'm encouraging him to use meaningful chunks.

"Take a good look because I'm going to cover it over."

I put my hand over the word. Kevin is able to remember h - o before I can see he needs to look again.

"Do you need to look again?"

He nods 'yes'.

I lift my hand for a few seconds.

"Are you ready again?"

He writes 'w' - l before he needs to look again. He finishes the word.

"What am I showing you how to do here?"

"How to spell."

"Yup. What am I showing you about spelling?"

"How to look at the word and remember the letters."

"Keep trying that. It'll make writing easier for you."

As I write this account it feels as if this exchange is going slowly but in fact Kevin is working at a good clip. I help him with the first sentence before moving on to another child. Before I leave him I set the expectation for him to do the second sentence by himself. I make a point of not being far away. I keep an eye on him, prompting him at a distance. He manages to get the second sentence down with reasonable speed. Again I prompt him on the third sentence, having him look at entire words.

Kevin is almost finished when it's time to leave for music. He has two words to go/to do. He insists he wants to finish so I encourage him to.

"Read for me what you've written."

"Uh-uh. You read it."

I read the first sentence but leave room for him to join me on the second; I drop out on the third leaving him to read on his own.

As Kevin leaves the classroom he stops in the doorway and counts the children remaining in the room. About half of the children are still finishing up. He turns and energetically skips down the hall. Why do I have the feeling that this may be the first time he's not the last to complete an assignment?

In truth, I'm not sure what I've helped Kevin learn. This is not an ideal literacy activity for him. He should be doing quite a lot of shared reading in both small and whole class groupings. He needs predictable books. He should be writing his own text, being encouraged to spell functionally most of the time, having his attention drawn to words he might know or remember easily. The interaction should be paced quickly in order to keep him (and the others) engaged. He should feel in control and confident the entire time; he should feel comfortable asking for help after he's tried something himself, first. This copying activity highlights his inadequacies. Not only can he not read the words on the chart, there are no clues to help him remember what they might be; if he can't remember what was talked about (and he wasn't paying close attention) he has no way of figuring out how to help himself. Even with some supported reading and rereading he still has difficulty transporting words at that distance to his paper; he needs the words beside him so he can keep track of what he's copying.

Nevertheless, Kevin is quite willing to work with me. Each time he successfully remembers some letters or a whole word, a lovely smile crosses his face and his pace picks up. He's easy to draw in and to keep engaged but not in this lock-step classroom if his teacher doesn't have time to spend with him; and Mrs. McEnroe doesn't, because Kevin isn't the neediest child in the group. There are at least a half-a-dozen others who are having more difficulty than he is!

What I've attempted to illustrate here are my efforts to create some support for Kevin, to help him develop some strategies for dealing with what is a less than ideal learning situation for him. Since I can't change the reality of his classroom, I try offering him strategies which will allow him to be a bit more successful at what he has to do.

So what have I learned about building a supportive classroom? I've discovered anew that I have to take my lead from the students. Every encounter with a student offers an opportunity to learn more about him or her as a learner. This isn't exactly news. Dewey (1963) said it; so did Vygotsky (1978) and a host of other researchers and educators. Gordon Wells (1986) refers to instruction which takes its direction from the learners as 'leading from behind.'

The most important thing about building a supportive classroom is realizing our gaze should be on learning and not teaching. What I've attempted to illustrate here with these critical incidents is that the heart of creating a supportive learning environment is the constant assessing of what the learner is trying to do, of the strategies he or she is bringing to a particular task. This continual analysis of students' learning is very different from our more customary focus on 'teaching' where our attention is placed on what we're doing ourselves as teachers. Most teachers are aware of their students' learning but that awareness is largely tacit - when our attention is directed primarily at what we're going to do next we may notice individual students' responses but our carefully prepared lesson plans often preclude on-the-spot revision of intentions based on students' responses. In a supportive classroom it's the sense students are making of what's going on that drives instruction.

Danny, Savannah, Andrew, Brent, and Kevin have all helped me think in new ways about teaching that starts with the student. I've learned through my engagement with these students something I only partially understood before -- I have been able to uncover some of the factors I'm looking for when following a student's lead. They've taught me to ask them whether they need help or not and, if so, what help they would like me to provide. By putting the children in charge of their learning I am able to learn what works for them and what interferes. These children have allowed me to help them change their 'not learning' behaviour', as Herb Kohl (1994) would call it, into engagement. By observing their learning, and learning from them, I've been able to discover which actions on my part prove supportive and which actually interfere.

Church, Susan (Ed.) 1988, The Supportive Classroom: Literacy for All. Halifax: Halifax County-Bedford District School Board.

Dewey, John 1963, Education and Experience. New York: Collier Books.

Kohl, Herbert 1994, I Won't Learn From You. In: I Won't Learn From You. New York: The New Press: 1-32.

Newman, Judith M. 1991, Interwoven Conversations: Learning and Teaching Through Critical Reflection. Toronto: OISE Press.

Vygotsky, Lev 1978, Mind in Society. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Wells, Gordon 1986, The Meaning Makers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Educational Books.  

© Copyright 2001 Seven Oaks School Division