What is a learning community?
According to K.Murdoch, J.Wilson How to succeed with creating a learning community (2005), a learning community occurs in a process of building a constructive enviroment and is influenced strongly by social activity. When students come together to learn, they are simply a group of individuals. Our challenge as teachers is to transform the group into a community.
All children deserve, and have the right to feel valued for who they are. An effective teacher should promote respectful relationships between students and the teachers, thus creating an actively supporting learning environment. A child's physical, social, intellectual, and emotional environment can make a significant difference to their wellbeing, motivation, goals, and happiness.
A constructive learning community supports the notion of actively fostering children's learning journeys, as their learning process is highly valued within their school. Passionate and dedicated teachers should assist in building a constructive learning community, thus giving children skills and roles in preparation to become a citizen in society. By actively nurturing a community of learners in our classrooms, we position students to collaborate, think, inquire, and act more effectively, which according to K.Murdoch, J.Wilson, is essential for their roles in a democratic society.
Moreover, for any learning community to be effective, teachers should value and encourage classroom relationships. The relationships with our students are at the heart of our teaching and determine the type of learning community we have, K.Murdoch, J.Wilson (2005). Thus, my ideals of students relationships are positivity and respect, therefore I hope that my future learning community would reflect this philosophy.
How can we build a constructive learning environment and community?
- Get to know individual students, parents, families personally
- Appreciate parents feedback, contributions, and cultural diversity
- Build trusting relationships
- Share decision making and negotiating
- Developing a positive sense of self and promoting this philosophy to the community
- Developing communication skills
- Observing and creating rituals and routines
- Fostering shared laughter and fun
- Create opportunities for shared experiences within and outside a classroom
- Organising the physical environment of the classroom, involving students and parents ideas and help, thus promoting a resourceful, comfortable and pleasurable learning environment.
- Build upon classroom team spirit
- Encourage risk taking and decision-making to enhance learning
- Valuing each learner for who they are
(fundamental principles resource: Murdoch, K. Wilson, J. (2005) How to succeed with creating a learning community. Victoria. Curriculum Corporation)