Most early childhood and elementary school teachers speak passionately about building community in the beginning of the year, but what kind of community we build is the bigger question.
-Mraz & Hertz, A Mindset For Learning (2015)
I continue to find A Mindset for Learning a thought-provoking and informative read. The authors connect research-based information and ask their readers to think deeply by what it truly means to build a classroom community of resilient, joyful learners.
It’s no secret that the teacher is the number one driving force in the development of the classroom community. Teachers set the tone through what they celebrate, what they ignore, their body language, and the words they choose when working with their learners.
So how are things going in your classroom community? Before you answer, take a look at another quote from A Mindset for Learning and ask yourself if the statement a) reflects your belief about building a classroom community and b) reflects what is currently happening in your classroom community.
[A] child’s self-control, tenacity, and persistence are influenced first by their environment and the reliability and consistency of their caregivers. If we want to build a community of persistence, joy resilience, flexibility, and empathy, we must first be all of those things, and be reliable in those things.
As you reflect, also consider the fact that kids are extremely intuitive and tuned-in to their teachers. They pick up on when we are energized and when we are flat.
In a 1993 study, researchers showed students, who did not know the teachers, 30-second silent video clips of 13 graduate teaching fellows while they were teaching and had the students rate the teachers on 13 variables like “accepting”, “active”, and “confident”. The researchers then compared the ratings by the same students with the end of the semester course evaluations from the same students and found a 0.76 correlation (0.60 is considered “very strong”). Amazing — Students can “slice” their perception of us in 30 seconds and just off of our body language.
This study underscores the importance of modeling the thinking, the behaviors, and the values we must reliably model if we are to instill the same within our students.
We are reaching the midway point of the first six weeks of school. Take time now to reflect on the progress you have made with your students. Reflect on how much of the community reflects your students interests and values vs. your own. Where is the balance tipping? Towards you or towards your students?
Take into account the profound value and impact a sense of hope, belongingness, and engagement have our each of our students.
Have a GREAT week!
Tweets Worth Reading
12 – PTO Meeting, 7PM
14 – RTI Team Meeting, 3:40PM
21 – Safety Drill (Lockdown), 10:45; Spec Ed Team Meeting, 12:00
22 — School Picture Day!
24 – EdCamp Columbus at Gahanna-Lincoln HS
26 – MakerSpace Grand Opening!
29 – Pasteries with Parents, 8:15AM
30 – BAC meeting, 8AM
1 – Community Cardboard Challenge
7 – Building Tour by Board of Education
17-20 — Fall Conference Week; Late Night is Weds, Oct 19.
21 – COI Day
24 – State of Schools (Darby), 6-9PM
25 – State of Schools (Davidson, 6-9PM
26 – State of Schools (Bradley), 6-9PM