How do you build classroom community?

Student learning is improved when there is a palpable and practiced sense of classroom community among the students and professor.  There is no one model for what this community looks like:  for one class it involves friendly competition, for another, frequent group projects, for a third it involves collaborating on revising drafts of writing assignments.  When it comes to teaching research writing – establishing an atmosphere of supportive peer review can be very helpful for student learning.

In the comments below, please share any strategies or suggestions you have for creating classroom community.  Briefly indicate what you hope to achieve, and how you have tried to achieve it (even if some attempts have failed.)

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3 thoughts on “How do you build classroom community?

  1. The most important thing I do to create community in my classes is to help the students get to know one another. This means spend as much as half the time during the first weeks on ice breaking exercises and just helping them learn each others names. While this investment puts me behind at the beginning of the semester, it is more than made up with the quality of the discussions at the end of the semester.

  2. At the start of the class I go around the room and ask the student to say something about themselves and tell them to speak up because they are addressing everyone and not just me. In my Dialogue classes (2002-2010) I would form students into small groups and each group would sign up to lead discussion for two class sessions. I have not done the small group divsion with regular POGO classes. I like David’s idea of ice-breaking exercises and, like Karl, would be interested in hearing about them. Mary’s presentation May 20 about the importance of building a community impressed me and I am considering ways of doing that.

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