Building a Classroom Culture of Trust and Collaboration
Excerpt from Leaders of Their Own Learning
A classroom culture of trust, safety, challenge and joy is the cornerstone of engaged and effective learning. Culture and community building at the classroom and schoolwide levels are the foundation for every aspect of improved teaching and learning and particularly important when checking for understanding. Students must feel safe to communicate honestly about their progress. A series of actions set in motion by the leadership and faculty members of the school builds strong school and classroom culture:
- Treat students as partners in the learning process. Engage them in understanding and shaping learning targets, classroom rules and norms, project ideas, and every other aspect of learning.
- Show students the rationale for curriculum and instruction and be transparent about the standards and important decisions.
- Get to know students as individuals and continually assess and adjust practice according to their readiness for certain content or tasks, and trends in their interests and learning profiles (e.g., balance challenging all students with complex texts with supporting them to independently read texts of their choosing).
- Create school- and classwide norms that encourage everyone to persevere with challenging tasks and justify their thinking with evidence.
- Model collaboration. Students need to see the adults in the school community working together, giving feedback, and being open about their questions and mistakes.
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