The Responsibility of the Student in a Strong Classroom Community

Part of the Process’ blog and her reference to Jennifer Orr’s blog both have me thinking about the degree to which classroom community is linked to the teacher. The teacher should orchestrate the building of the community at the onset of the school year and facilitate the ongoing maintenance of it, but it should not fall apart when the teacher is not there. How in the world do you ensure this does not happen? I don’t have the answers yet, but some thoughts I had while reading the article “Talking in Class” by Johnston, Ivey, and Faulkner, for my literacy teaching methods course come to mind. The students in the classroom referred to in this article have been taught through modeling by the teacher how to have classroom discussions and one on one conversations in such a way that evokes thinking and debate, all of the while maintaining respect for one another and a safe atmosphere. Similar focus on non-judgmental language and open ended questioning being used to both further learning and create a safe atmosphere for exploring and failing on the often bumpy road to success are explicitly written about in Classroom Discussions: Using Math Talk to Help Students Learn. “The notion of community is not simply about such things as . . .negotiating class plans and policies . . If we intend to capitalize on the possibilities that social spaces offer for learning, we can say things to help children attend to each other, see each other as resources, and build relationships” (2011, Johnson et. al, p.237). In other words students need to be responsible to one another in a strong learning community, not just to themselves and their teacher.

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4 thoughts on “The Responsibility of the Student in a Strong Classroom Community

  1. I love your last sentence here. I think the hardest part about building a community is achieving that accountability, students aren’t just concerned about the adult in charge, but their peers and learn to be cooperative and empathetic to each other. What I hear you saying šŸ˜‰ is this can happen through the explicit curriculum by having discussion in the content areas?

    1. Yes, the community is a LEARNING community, so the curriculum is not a separate entity from the social aspect of the classroom. If the students take responsibility not only for their own learning but allowing and contributing to the learning of their classmates, everyone benefits. It is the teacher’s job to teach the students the language and procedures to effectively do so.

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