One of the best ways to promote learning and motivate students to do well is to create a classroom community. When kids feel that they emotionally belong and are accepted in the group they’re part of, it gives them a confidence boost in participating well in class. That said, here are some ways to foster classroom community:
1. Look for conversation opportunities
Be intentional in letting kids talk purposefully with each other. The keyword here is purposefully. Small talks are good, but if you’re forging good relationships with one another to build a community, you need to facilitate deeper conversations. One way you can do this is to prepare thought-provoking questions at the end of each lesson.
For this, you would need to have a mix of head-knowledge queries and emotion-targeted ones. The former allows you to evaluate if your students understood the lesson, while the latter allows them to be a little vulnerable to their classmates to improve relationships.
2. Set classroom rules together
Often, it’s the teachers who establish guidelines when it comes to classroom management. But there are merits to set rules with your students. For one, it gives them greater ownership and accountability to the rules, precisely because it’s them who made the rules. The other one is the brainstorming session that will allow them to see what they value in life.
For instance, some would propose prioritising arranging classroom storage every after arts and craft time because cleanliness matters to them. Others would suggest using kind words when working together, as they value respect.
3. Model reaching out
If you want your students to adopt the community mindset, you have to have it first. You should be the example they will find worth following. Your little efforts of greeting each kid as they come to class and checking on students when they look upset will gradually be ingrained on your students’ consciousness. Later on, you’ll find them doing the same. Be intentional in modelling good social behaviour.
A strong classroom community is an ideal atmosphere for letting kids succeed in class and outside. Create this atmosphere in your classroom today.