It’s easy for teachers to put developing a classroom community last on their list of priorities when they have so much more to do each day. Lesson plans, preparing students for standardized examinations, meeting standards, administrative responsibilities, and maintaining discipline are just some of the concerns that teachers have.
As a result, finding time to engage in activities that foster a sense of community can be a challenge. Teachers know that fostering classroom community is one of the best ways to offer children a sense of ownership over their classroom.
Teachers generally find that classroom discipline is improved and that students who may have fallen behind are more motivated to work hard to catch up with their peers when they schedule time for community building activities.
The following are five methods that teachers might utilise to foster a sense of belonging among their students. Generally speaking, these methods can be used by people of all ages.
5 Strategies for Building Community in the Classroom
1. Hold Weekly Class Meetings
Having weekly class meetings is a simple but effective method to foster a sense of community in your classroom. For students and teachers alike, the purpose of these meetings is to check-in and see how things are going.
The meeting can be used to discuss how well the rules of the class are being observed if they have been outlined clearly. There are many ways in which teachers can give students the opportunity to raise questions or share their favourite moments from the week.
Meetings with students can be anything you desire, but you should encourage them to keep their most specific questions for one-on-one time. Instead, use this time for your class to discuss their goals and how your classroom runs to assist them achieve those goals.
The meetings’ content will vary depending on the age range of the children in your class, but pupils will have a mini event to look forward to beyond the regular curriculum if they know these meetings are coming up. They will also feel like they have a stake in the classroom and develop a sense of community with their peers.
2. Focus on Gratitude
In the classroom, cultivating an attitude of thankfulness can be a particularly effective means of bringing students closer together and fostering a sense of belonging.
Teachers can use a variety of methods to implement this community-building technique. When it comes to younger pupils, teachers can use straws or pieces of paper to create a color-coded gratitude list that includes questions like “Name one person you are grateful for and why.”
A straw or piece of paper is selected by the students, and they then search for the thing on the list that matches it. Students then pair up with a partner of the same color and discuss their responses to the prompt or topic.
Teachers can invite older or younger students to develop a thankfulness journal and write five things in the journal at the beginning of each session for older or younger pupils.
Each class can be given a few minutes at the beginning or close of each session to share what they’re looking forward to. This will allow students to get to know one other and for professors to learn more about their students and their interests.
3. Work Together Toward a Shared Goal
Teachers already know that many students respond favorably to rewards like pizza parties, extra recess time, or even time during class to play games.
When students attain a shared goal, such as meeting a certain standard of performance or behavior, they are given a reward. This keeps the class connected and provides an incentive for pupils to behave.
Using a board in front of the class, a diagram, or another visual indication, teachers can monitor the progress of their students toward this aim. This will keep them motivated and allow them to work together as a class to obtain the reward they desire to receive.
4. Give Daily Shout-Outs or Compliments
Create a shout-out or compliment ritual in the classroom to develop community quickly. More shout-outs or commendations motivate kids who hear they’re doing well to keep up the good work.
Students can participate in a “compliment circle,” in which they each give a compliment to a neighboring student, on a regular basis. At the end of each class, teachers can choose one student to recognize or select a few kids to recognize.
Despite the fact that this ritual takes only a few minutes, it provides students and teachers alike with an opportunity to honor one other’s hard work and inspire the rest of the class.
5. Let Students Have a Voice
Finally, a fun and insightful way to develop classroom community are to give students a platform to express their opinions. Teachers can use comment cards, notes to the teacher each week, or forums in the classroom to solicit student feedback.
A teacher might hand out cards to their pupils with a question such as, “One thing I wish my teacher knew…” and leave the rest of the card blank for students to fill in.
Pupils can then express themselves to their teachers, and teachers can have a better understanding of their students as a result. This will unavoidably foster a sense of belonging among the participants.
Note cards with amusing details about students’ lives could be distributed as an alternative activity by teachers. So other pupils must figure out who it’s about before it’s too late!
Students can have a voice in the classroom and get to know one other better through a variety of games. It doesn’t matter if teachers can only undertake this exercise once a week or once a month; the good benefits to the classroom community will be evident.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does It Mean to Build Community in a Classroom?
Classroom community building is about creating a learning environment where students and teachers are devoted to a common goal and achieve learning via frequent collaboration and social contact (Adams & Wilson, 2020; Berry, 2019; McMillan & Chavis, 1986).
What Makes a Strong Classroom Community?
Even if the teacher leaves the classroom, the student’s sense of belonging and camaraderie will carry on. Students can do well on their own without the teacher’s supervision if they form close bonds with one another and develop a supportive classroom environment. Of course, a small reward goes a long way toward encouraging this behavior.
What Do You Do to Build a Caring Classroom Community?
When disciplining a child, make sure that the child is involved in the process of creating relevant rules and consequences. Students need to feel safe in their classrooms, which means enforcing class rules consistently, especially when it comes to bullying. 7. Pay attention to how young people treat one another in a non-intrusive way.