There is a fair amount of literature and support for having “routines” in the classroom (see Study Finds That “Hands-On” Math & Proactive “Routines & Procedures” Increase Test Scores AND Student Engagement ; Peps Mccrea’s reflections on them here; and A Look Back: Project Zero’s “Thinking Routines Tool” Is An Excellent Resource).
My classroom “routines,” for example, include “walk-in” procedures that students know to begin as soon as they enter my classroom (reading a book or online, watching Brainpop videos on their laptop) and how we do “speed-dating” to share completed work.
I, however, haven’t seem much research on the idea of “rituals” in the classroom, however.
In fact, I hadn’t thought much of the difference between the two until I recently read a piece in Vox titled Why we need rituals, not routines.
Yes, the headline is “click-baity,” and we obviously need both, but it did get me thinking.
Here’s how the article defines “rituals”:
Currey describes a ritual as an activity that eases a person into a focused mindset, a liminal state that is conducive for thinking, creating, or just being. “Rituals create and mark a transition towards a different kind of mental or emotional state,” he said. This can look different for every person, but it’s helpful to approach rituals as a soothing, meditative activity that allows the participant to be physically and mentally present.
Again, in my classroom, I think I’ve done a number of activities that meet that definition, and I’ve shared about them in Best Posts On Helping Students “Visualize Success”, I THINK THIS IS A BRILLIANT IDEA FOR AN OPENING CLASS RITUAL – HERE’S HOW I’M MODIFYING IT FOR DISTANCE LEARNING; I LIKE THE IDEA IN THIS NEW EDUTOPIA VIDEO: “60-SECOND STRATEGY: DAILY INTENTIONS” and This May Sound A Little Off The Beaten Track, But I Really Like This Series Of Lessons About Mantras & Want To Try It Next Year.
I don’t necessarily think this routine/ritual distinction is earthshaking, but I do think there’s value in us teachers being a bit more intentional in making sure we incorporate both in our classroom practice.
What do you think?
— Mike (@mikekaechele) June 20, 2022
Thanks @Larryferlazzo for posting this. it's so important to know the difference. As we lead students into productive struggle during learning we need rituals to help them change their inner state. They don't need pep talks about growth mindset. You always share good stuff. ❤️
— Zaretta Hammond (@Ready4rigor) June 20, 2022