Responsive Classroom

Responsive Classroom

Program Design and Implementation Support

The Responsive Classroom® approach is designed to create classrooms that are responsive to children’s physical, emotional, social, and intellectual needs through developmentally appropriate educational experiences in kindergarten through sixth grade. The approach incorporates ten essential teaching practices and practical strategies including morning meetings, rule creation, interactive modeling, positive teacher language, logical consequences, guided academic discovery, academic choice, classroom organization, collaborative problem solving, and guidelines for working with families. Teachers are encouraged to connect with parents individually on a regular basis in order to share updates and expectations about the child’s development or to collaboratively address any difficulties the child may be experiencing. The Responsive Classroom approach incorporates many nonverbal signals (e.g., a chime or raised hand when students should pay attention) throughout the day. Extensive suggestions and strategies for including English Language Learners in Morning Meetings as well as recommendations for Morning Meeting activities that are especially conducive for ELLs are provided. Pamphlets on child development are available in Spanish, and the overview video has Spanish subtitles. Initial training for the Responsive Classroom approach is conducted in two parts that each last four and one-half days (30 hours). Training is required, and a train-the-trainer system to support sustainability is offered.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Responsive Classroom has been evaluated in a large (n=1,408) quasi-experimental study. The project followed students over a three-year period.


Brock, L. L., Nishida, K. K., Chiong, C., Grimm, K. J., & Rimm-Kaurman, S. E. (2008). Children’s perceptions of the social environment and social and academic performance: A longitudinal analysis of the Responsive Classroom approach. Journal of School Psychology, 46, 129-149.
Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., & Chiu, Y. I. (2007). Promoting social and academic competence in the classroom: An intervention study examining the contribution of the Responsive Classroom approach. Psychology in the Schools, 44, 397-413.
Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., Fan, X., Chiu, Y. I., & You, W. (2007). The contribution of the Responsive Classroom approach on children’s academic achievement: Results of a three-year
longitudinal study. Journal of School Psychology, 45, 401-421.
Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., & Sawyer, B. E. (2004). Primary grade teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs, attitudes toward teaching, and discipline and teaching practice priorities in relation to the “Responsive Classroom” approach. The Elementary School Journal, 104, 321-341.
Sawyer, L. B. E. & Rimm-Kauffman, S. E. (2007). Teacher collaboration in the context of the Responsive Classroom approach. Teachersand Teaching: theory and practice, 13, 211-245