Unlock student potential with these 5 tips for building a strong classroom community!
With so many new tasks being piled onto educators’ plates, creating a community in the classroom can quickly be forgotten about, however, classrooms communities can be a key part of student development and learning.
Classroom communities can be an effective way to provide students with ownership and responsibility in their learning environments, as well as strengthening relationships amongst learners and encouraging connections to form.
There are many ways a community can be formed in the classroom! Read on to discover some ideas that you can implement in your classroom!
Collaborative Decision Making
Discussing ideas, feelings, possibilities, and barriers can lead to collaborative decision-making in the classroom. When collaborative decision-making takes place, a positive impact is placed on students’ wellbeing and learning. This then leads to a newfound trust being placed into the teacher from the perspective of their students.
Collaborative decision making can take many forms, for example:
- The management of time and resources in the classroom
- Community building
- Classroom control
The results of collaborative decision-making can not only create a sense of community in the classroom, but can also build trust between students and educators, positively influence problem-solving skills, creativity, and confidence, and also lead to students feeling included and involved in the classroom.
Morning meetings are another way to build a strong community in the classroom. By simply hosting a quick 30 minute chat each morning to discuss a range of topics students can get involved, share their voice, and create new relationships with their peers whilst also strengthening social-emotional learning skills.
Similar to collaborative decision-making, establishing rules as a class can play an important part in creating a community in the classroom. This is because students will take ownership of the rules and want to enforce them, leading to a generally happier learning environment.
Students are given the opportunity to positively contribute to and impact the classroom, and, as a result, will feel as though they’re making a difference and are, therefore, needed. Feeling included, valued, and part of a team can reinforce a strong sense of community!
Students will also learn about respect, and will further understand how rules are in place to protect and support them. When learners feel respected and valued, they are much more likely to take ownership of their behavior and learning.
These rules don’t need to be particularly strict, they can be as simple as positive affirmations, but the process of generating these rules can lead to an incredible outcome!
Class projects are an incredibly effective way to build a community. Similar to the other exercises listed above, class projects can reinforce the idea that students are needed to contribute and are making an impact on their peers.
Class projects can take any shape or form, such as an art project, a sporting event, or a research task, and will lead to students feeling included. Once these projects have been completed, students will also share a sense of pride and success which can boost self-confidence too!
Creating a class project will provide a common goal for everyone to work towards as a team. Once the goal has been reached, a celebration can take place which leads to even more community-building activities!
Allowing students to be vulnerable around one another can lead to a greater sense of empathy, and understanding one another will strengthen their relationships. Asking students to openly share how they’re feeling and what they’re struggling with can be a great way to do this.
Educators can lead the way by sharing their feelings by discussing their own worries and fears. This will also boost the level of trust a student has with their teacher and will lead to them opening up. When educators show how human they are, students will often follow as they’ll understand how similar we all are. Setting an example is a simple yet effective way of creating a sense of community. This exercise can also impact social-emotional learning and teaching empathy in the classroom.
If this is something you do want to implement in the classroom, it is important that students feel safe and supported. This exercise may be something you build up to over the course of a few weeks or months.
Shout-outs and Compliments
Sharing success is a fun, engaging, and positive way to create a sense of community in the classroom. When students hear that they are making a positive impact, they are more likely to want to continue to do well and get more shout-outs and compliments.
Organize a regular routine to give these shout-outs and highlight all of the incredible work that students have been doing. These can be compliments from educators and staff, or even better, asking students who they would like to compliment. This can build confidence, strengthen relationships, and bring the class together in a positive way!
Creating a successful school community involves planning and implementing procedures that will help build a strong foundation for learning. It’s one of the most important things to do, and the rewards will be incomparable!
Building a community in your class will take time, but is completely worth it when it comes to students growing as people and learning more about themselves and their peers.
Students who are part of strong communities have a genuine sense of belonging, and educators will see student confidence go from strength to strength!