Ron Berger, Expeditionary Learning Chief Academic Officer, explaining the importance of establishing an emotionally, socially, and physically safe space in order to establish a culture of critique.
[MUSIC PLAYING] It’s really not possible to have good helpful critique, if kids don’t feel safe to be able to give it or receive it. And so it’s sort of it’s a prerequisite for a good culture of critique that the classroom feel emotionally, physically safe for kids, socially safe for kids.
And it needs to be safe both in the sense that you feel like you are you can be vulnerable. You can be open to receiving critique. You don’t need to be protective in a shell all the time but it also needs to be safe in the sense that kids can have the courage to speak up and say what they actually think.
So the older kids are, the more there becomes a hierarchy of sort of social status in a school. So if you’re in a middle school or high school in particular social status can be really important. So imagine, Michelle, that the most popular girl in class is sharing something, it’s really difficult for you to give critique that’s not positive because you’re going to pay a price socially for that.
Unless you have built an atmosphere, where there is some trust that we’re all trying to get better together and this is not about social hierarchy. It’s not about who’s cool. It’s not about– and so kids are willing to take risks to say hard things in a kind way. And kids are willing to listen to that without feeling like they’ve been exposed too much in front of a group. So having clear classroom norms focusing on keeping those upholding those norms all the time is key in that.