Creating community in your classroom

Overview

The need to be known by name is deeply rooted within all of us. One of the most excluding factors, mentioned time and again by students interviewed … was the fact that teachers and other class members did not know their names. (Griffiths S. 2010 Teaching for Inclusion in Higher Education: A Guide to Practice. Higher Education Academy, United Kingdom and All Ireland Society for Higher Education p.41)

This module presents participants with some literature which addresses issues around students' social comfort in a university setting, and provides a range of simple, effective, teaching strategies which assist any teacher to build classroom community quickly, and effectively.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  1. Understand the key drivers for building classroom communities
  2. Skills in purposely building community in classrooms
  3. Strategies to maintain an interactive learning environment and improve student participation
  4. Experience in applying, and reviewing, community building strategies in a practice content

Assessment

Assessment Task 1: Level One Building Strategy

Assessment Task 2: Level Two Building Strategy

Assessment Task 3: Level Three Building Strategy

Assessment Task 4: Reflecting On Community Building Strategies

Topics

The activities (topics) are divided into three levels, which are intended to be used consecutively or appropriately for your context.

Level One, is a set of simple familiarity and name learning activities.

Level Two, activities involve discussion of personal likes and dislikes, and invites students to share something of their lives outside campus.

Level Three, to be undertaken after a third of the way through the semester, facilitates stronger more personal bonds to be formed – particularly between the students.

All activities are designed to be undertaken in five to ten minutes – a time investment which can make a significant difference to student engagement, class quality and eventually to student retention and success.

These activities vary in their intent but all are designed to facilitate the economical (in terms of time) building of a classroom culture which will serve as a strong foundation from which to proceed to a transformative, dialogic classroom.

Whilst some might appear playful, they have a serious learning intention. That is - they are all intended to engender a solid sense of commitment to the group, a high trust level, and lead to a stronger sense of engagement and the willingness to take risks. This will, in turn, lead to deeper learning, higher levels of retention and greater levels of success for students.

Module details

  • Online mode of delivery

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