Creating Community

Building community within a classroom is important for the process of educating to result in learning. Creating a classroom atmosphere where students feel comfortable will encourage participation, discussion, and debate. When students experience such a climate in a classroom they are more likely to attain knowledge and understanding of the concepts being discussed.

The best way to build a connection with a new class is to start with an icebreaking activity. This concept can be done in many different ways. One example is to have every student pair up with a partner. Have the student interview each other with questions such as: What is your name? Where do you live? What is your favorite hobby? What are your feelings about…? Each student would then present their partners responses to the class. With the activity, each person would get to know a little something about every student which would hopefully start to break down any barriers and help students to start building connections.

To continue to build relationships in a classroom a teacher may want to implement small group work. Working on projects together encourages discussion and self expression. Discussion on a concept will often result in debate and higher level thinking for the individuals involved.

Another way for a teacher tobuild connection with student in a class is for the instructor to tell stories about real life experiences and to encourage the students to relate concepts to experiences in their lives and share them with the class. This will help student get to know one another better and help everyone relate to each other.

Another factor in building a positive learning environment conducive to learning is to also build community relationships outside of the classroom. A student’s attitude in a class is often influenced by comments by family and friends outside of school. Building a rapport outside of class can happen by sending information home regarding exciting experiences from class. This can be done by sending notes, making phone calls, sending emails, creating a website or wikkispace, displaying in the newspaper, or even hanging information or projects in the hall. Communicating various activities and experiences from class will strengthen confidence and encourage learning.
Taking the time to build connections and support will promote the desire to learn and the willingness to be successful in any class. In order for any best practice or trend to work, the foundation must be set.