Unit 2: Building Classroom Communities.
- Belonging, competency and autonomy are basic psychological needs.
- In environments where the three needs are met, a sense of community is easier to create.
- When the classroom becomes a learning community, students are more engaged and learning is deeper.
Practical activities and recommendations.
- Community Quiz.
- Have the class create a community quiz, performance on the quiz can be graded and be used as part of the student's final grade. Alternatively, the quiz could be just a 'practice quiz' taken in preparation for the exam.
- For a summary of online tools that allow you to create quizzes, check this article:
- Benefits: Students take ownership of their learning, contributes to making the classroom a learning community.
- Common ground.
- Divide the class into groups either randomly (http://louairahal.net/GroupMind/index.html) or by purposefully having students who do not seem to get along be in the same group.
- Each group must come up with 'uncommon commonalities', things that the group members have in common and that other groups are not likely to have in common.
- The teacher can participate in the game.
- Benefits: Creating a sense of community and belonging.
Activity 3 and 4 (From Video):
- Have students participate collaboratively in grading/correcting exams. Students are not given the right answers, rather, in groups they have to find the right answers and grade the exams accordingly.
- Have students collaboratively develop review lessons.
Recommendations 1 (From Slides):
- Find out what students like and what they are competent at.
- Be a teacher who is open and approachable.
- Use a variety of instructional strategies.
- Discuss rather than lecture.
- Create a safe environment where students feel accepted.
- Give students input in decisions.
- Listen to students attentively and take them seriously.
Recommendation 2 (From Video):
- Be attentive to what you are communicating nonverbally to your students. We are communicating through our movement, our posture, the way we are dressed, etc.
Recommendation 3 (From Class Discussion):
- Allow students to give you suggestions and feedback.
- You can create an online poll with http://polldaddy.com/ and embed it into your Weebly website.
- Have students teach their peers.
- Benefits: "Results revealed that students who learned in order to teach, relative to those who learned to take a test, were more intrinsically motivated and showed better conceptual learning" (Niemiec and Ryan, 2009, p. 135).
- Ask students to generate questions at the start of a new topic.
- "Agency and belonging in a community of learners are enhanced by the key practice of eliciting learners’ questions. Various studies show that when this happens, the intellectual demandingness is high, both in the type of questions and the processes which follow. When students are asked to generate questions at the start of a new topic, they are likely to ask questions derived from their need to understand and focus on things that they are genuinely interested in. Such questions are of a higher order than text-based questions produced after reading (Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1992). And primary school students are able to follow their questions in depth (Hakkarainen & Sintonen, 2002)" (Watkins, 2012, p. 54).