6 Replies Latest reply on 21-Jan-2018 12:59 PM by dianamali

    Week One: Question #3


      To create an environment for feedback, McCallum emphasizes creating classroom culture. What are some ways you build a culture of trust in your classroom so learning can “get messy”?

        • Re: Week One: Question #3

          Creating a positive classroom culture is very important to me. I believe students learn best in a safe, and welcoming environment. To help foster a positive classroom culture, I hit the ground running at the beginning of the year. I put myself out there and share pieces of my life, relationships, interests and experiences with the students. I also share how I like to treat people, how I like to be treated, what makes me happy, mad, etc. I usually do this in some form of media, Powerpoint, video, etc. I then get the students to do the same. Afterwards, they can choose to share with the class, a small group or a partner. This activity helps students understand why and how their teacher and peers may react in a situation.


          I also do Daily Attendance Questions, created by students. Each student receives cue cards and they write a question of wonder to be asked during the year, “what is your favourite colour?” “do you like brownies or cake?” “How many siblings do you have?” And every morning, I ask an Attendance Question to take attendance. This allows the students to share, and find commonalities among themselves.


          Another way I build a positive class environment is through circles. We participate in sharing circles, knowledge-building circles and prayer circles. In my experience, circles allow students to learn about each other, and also provides an opportunity to be vulnerable and trusting of their peers.


          • Re: Week One: Question #3

            One way I have created classroom culture is by listening to my students and by greeting my students. It is important for them to know that you are truly invested in them and the best way to do that is to be present and to listen. Building trust and a culture of accepting that we all make mistakes is important in building a culture of trust as well. This also means sharing when you have made mistakes yourself. Honouring your word goes far as well - do what you say you will do. This lets students know that your word can be trusted. Everything is grounded in building relationships and taking the time to build them in the easy times and through the difficult times.

            • Re: Week One: Question #3

              When I was teaching I used Community Circles, and I still do sometimes during adult learning sessions. This strategy is not often used in secondary classrooms but I found it very helpful. Sometimes we would respond to questions about our learning, but sometimes we would respond to something silly or a little more personal - something to help us get to know each other. Also, the desks were configured in groups (usually groups of four) rather than rows. Every three or four weeks the seating plan changed so students had to sit with new people. Whenever a change happened they had to introduce themselves and have a conversation to determine aspects the group had in common. I did this because I was amazed at how often students didn't even know the names of their colleagues, let alone take the time to get to know those who were outside their circles of friends.


              I found that these strategies helped students feel more comfortable and open to share their ideas in class discussions, and a there was just a better sense of community in the classroom.

                • Re: Week One: Question #3

                  I am intrigued about Community Circles and will follow up to learn more- are they like Talking Circles? I am a secondary teacher and never use rows (though sadly many still do). My first assignment this semester in my grade 10 was for my students to introduce themselves to the group with a few symbols that represent them best. I modelled the task by introducing myself and they followed the next day by sitting in a circle together and introducing themselves. I am shocked at how students don’t know each other’s names either- sometimes after a whole semester together- so I work hard at helping them get to know each other before we begin any learning. We meet in circle at the start of every class to discuss the goals of the day, and also at the end to check in on the days work (my classroom is carpeted- also unusual for a secondary room- so we gather on the floor...)

                • Re: Week One: Question #3

                  My focus on classroom community and creating a culture of safety and welcome, has moved from how I behave one to one with students, or between me and the class, and how I can help with the student to student interactions. My room can't be called a safe space regardless of how I behave if there is a lack of safety peer to peer. How do I respond to unsafe talk and behaviour that comes from one of my students to another of my students. I need to think carefully so that I am supporting the emotional growth of both of those entrusted to my care.

                  • Re: Week One: Question #3

                    I was very lucky early on in my career to get training in the Tribes TLC (c) process ("Tribes is a process that creates a culture that maximizes learning and human development"). Community circle, like Sandra K mentioned, is very important, as are relationship building and the four foundational agreements of mutual respect, attentive listening, appreciations without put-downs and the right to pass/participate (which for my younger students I call "try your best to do your job"). I also agree with Anna Y - I greet the students at the door as they come in (all the Grade 1-5s come in through the same door - kindies and Grade 6-8s have a different entrance, unfortunately). Often those greetings are paired with student-initiated hugs. I'm also not a tidy person by nature so learning is messy in the metaphorical and literal sense in my school library learning commons!