Friendly and Fair Teaching has grown from thoughts that extend beyond the classroom. It is connected to philosophies that anchor in nonviolence, community and personality development.
Johan ‘t Hart
Founder Rapucation – author – coach – music teacher
34 years I taught music to students from 11 to 15 years old. This was mostly whole class teaching. In my early years of teaching, I was reluctant to have students really work independently. The more experience I gained, the more I felt it should be possible to have 30 students work independently in an music classroom from 20 to 36 feet. When I announced my plans, other teachers indicated that this could never work. The day I started my new approach, it was like coming home for me. I saw students taking my subject very seriously and achieving very personal results. It succeeded thanks to my experience teaching a variety of musical subjects, thanks to thinking thoroughly about how I was going to redirect student behaviour in a positive way, and thanks to designing a new way of assessing that turned out to be very effective. I hope with this website teachers make the move to independent work much earlier in their career than I did. I hope they will benefit from my experiences. In addition to my own experiences, this website includes the experiences of teacher education students, colleagues and experts. On this website their contributions are listed at ‘Credits’ the bottom of the pages.
Nick Sorensen – Adviser to Friendly and Fair Teaching
Nick Sorensen is Emeritus Professor of Education at the School of Education Bath Spa University. Prior to joining Bath Spa in 2008 he had over 25 years experience of working in secondary schools, including 6 years as a headteacher. As a musician he has always been fascinated by the practice of improvisation and he realised that this knowledge could be applied to teaching. By helping teachers to understand improvisation as a mode of creative practice he has enabled them to develop their expertise. He has written extensively about improvisation based pedagogies and his book ‘The Improvising Teacher: Reconceptualising Pedagogy, Expertise and Professionalism‘ is published by Routledge.
Further information about Nick can be found on his website https://nicksorensen.org
Astrid Boon – Advice
Astrid Boon has been a pedagogical orthopedist and external confidential advisor at several secondary schools in Amsterdam and the surrounding area.
Astrid wrote the book ‘Penalty / Rules’. The insights from this book are reflected in the reflective writing assignment. Together with Leo Prick she also wrote the book Too cozy in the classroom. In this book Astrid Boon and Leo Prick make a plea for better cooperation between parents, teachers and school. The reason for writing this book was the increasing complaint of students that many classes are so cozy and disorderly that work cannot be done. Students therefore urge their teachers to set clear rules and then reinforce positive behaviour if necessary. Parents are accused by schools of being the cause of the order problems because they do not educate their children properly. For their part, parents complain that they are kept ignorant of the problems going on at their son or daughter’s school, such as teachers not functioning properly or classes not being taught sometimes for months at a time.
Friendly and Fair Teaching, like Astrid Boon, strives to improve collaboration between teachers, senior members of staff and parents and offers them opportunities to do so.
Wiepkje ‘t Hart – Editing
My name is Wiepkje ‘t Hart. Johan ‘t Hart is my brother. Johan and I were both working in highschool-education. I did that for thirty years. My subject was Dutch language.
The University of Groningen made an evidence base list of all you need as a new teacher to grow faster in educational skills. They send several coaches to schools to archieve that. For several years I was one of them. When I saw how difficult it was to so many teachers to create a positive learning environment in their classroom, Johan told me his ideas of friendly and fair teaching. I was very interested in his project.
From the beginning I helped him to improve the language of the website and to discuss all his ideas.
Author – editor – designer
In all kinds of work I had built up experience in individual and group training, knowledge transfer, coaching and guidance, with generally positive reactions. Choosing to become a teacher seemed a natural progression, but although there was a focus on “keeping order” in the training, it turned out that in my final internship I was totally unprepared for the dynamics in such a group of thirty young people. That year ended in confusion and suppressed panic.
Some time later, I stumbled upon Friendly and Fair Teaching that was apparently effective and also appreciated by the students. Promptly the suppressed trauma surfaced. Soon I knew: I must do this! Here lies the crux of being a happy and effective teacher.
I am still intensely happy and grateful that Friendly and Fair Teaching came my way. I don’t see it as a “method,” but as a collection of compatible and highly effective ideas, practices and concerns, with the common ground and goal that students and teachers flourish in a friendly, honest and stimulating learning environment.
Nevertheless, my experience with the course was not easy. I got lost in the organization and terminology of the material. Apparently my feedback struck a chord with Johan, because I was allowed to re-edit and collaboratively rewrite the entire course. Gladly! And again a year later, after a series of developments. Of course, there is no finer way to make a body of thought your own.
So if I have added anything to this whole, it is mainly because the rewriting and reordering required me to get to the bottom of all the essences and applications so that I could articulate them clearly. In that process I have often thought: this is real gold!