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Inside DECEMBER 2013 in the classroom Checking in with students Instructor: Kristiina Montero, assistant professor, Faculty of Education The first thing Kristiina Montero does at the beginning of each class is have students gather in small groups to see how their classmates are doing. During these “check-ins,” students pass around a “talking stone” or other object, which acts as a symbol for others in the group to listen attentively to the person who is holding it. “The first reason I do this is to help foster a collective classroom community where we can learn from and with each other — myself included,” says Montero. “The second reason is to emphasize that in teaching we must first and foremost treat each person in the classroom as a whole person. “Lastly, ‘check-in’ helps students understand that at different times in the intensive teacher education program, all students are stressed or struggle with the workload – they are not alone. I also get the opportunity to engage with students on a personal level, which helps me deliver the curricular elements of the course that help prepare these future primary classroom teachers to teach kids critical literacy skills and abilities.” By Mallory O’Brien Photo: Mallory O’Brien Class: EU410 Language and Literacy Education Kristiina Montero, top left, listens to students during “check-in” time. Students can choose to share whatever they want, or they can choose to pass. Campuses welcome visitors at open houses 8

December 2013 InsideLaurier

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