Building Classroom Learning Communities

 

One of last week’s walk-through foci was on classroom learning communities. These are some of the images I captured on the walk-through.

At the start of each school year we as a staff and teachers in all classrooms expect to build learning communities. We devote time each February for this and the benefits are felt all year long: e.g. students listening to each other – sharing ideas and ways to solve complex problems. The staff too go through process of setting norms and behavioural expectations but that’s a later post.

I’m proud to say that in 100% of classrooms we were able to see artifacts of this work. The language changes (e.g. pledges, norms, promises, codes) and is appropriate for the different stages of development. I can see that the students voices are reflected in the anchor charts and they make intentional commitments to each other – its not about having professional charts as they (the students) didn’t construct them or they don’t contain their voices.

Teachers have the freedom to explore different tools or strategies in this work and that’s reflected in the artifacts (e.g. handy classroom member) – when we set expectations it’s not about standardised compliance but mindful application considering the students you work with.

This work which is built on relationships (teacher – student – peers) is foundational to effective instruction.

I would add that this work in not without its critics for some this is uncomfortable work (building relationships) and for others (some parents and teachers)  its sometimes seen as a distraction to the main game of academic progress. My leadership tip is to persist for the gains are many.