A brief primer on Reality Pedagogy


Reality pedagogy is an entire form of instructional practice based on placing students’ experiences and identities at the center of a teacher’s instruction. The relationship between teacher and students, then, becomes essential to effective instruction. There are many nuances and components to Reality Pedagogy, which can be simplified into the 7 Cs for Effective Teaching, a series of teacher moves that yield strong relationships with students and resultant academic achievement.

This article, from ASCD, is written by Dr. Chris Emdin, who established Reality Pedagogy, and describes each of the 7 Cs:

  1. Co-generative Dialogues
  2. Co-teaching
  3. Cosmopolitanism
  4. Context
  5. Content
  6. Competition
  7. Curation

Co-generative Dialogues and Co-teaching are of most relevance to building Classroom Belonging by learning about and affirming students as individuals. These techniques affirm students by involving them in the planning or delivery of instruction.

Co-generative dialogues consist of inviting a small group of students to serve as advisors to the teacher in order to improve instruction. Importantly there are three rules for these advising sessions, based around the concept of a rap cypher: “no voice is more important than another, everyone will have equal turns to talk, and all students will create a plan of action together for improving their next class.” Co-generative dialogues have dual benefits: participants feel empowered as they see their perspective has value to the teacher, and all students receive more engaging instruction based upon the expertise produced by the dialogues.

Co-teaching is an instructional practice in which teachers give control of instruction directly to individual students, who have specific strengths that connect to the academic content or delivery. When co-teaching, students take on the roles of lesson planner, assignment creator, and discussion facilitator. Again, co-teaching has more than one benefit - the co-teacher sees him/herself as a valuable contributor to the classroom, and the other students gain access to a new and useful form of academic content.