The conversation the other day in class was a very interesting one and I would like to make an addition to the things that were said. The conversation that I am referring to was about the construction of a meaningful classroom community. The observations made in the Larson and Marsh book about Maier were great. However, like someone mentioned in class it all seems great but things that work in an elementary classroom will not work in a secondary classroom.
There are many steps to building a classroom community. One thing that I found to work well was getting to know the students in the classroom. I found this to be an easy task during my first placement, but I only had one class during this placement. I also had time to get to know the students as I was only observing at the beginning of the school year. I also think that students should be made to know that their contributions to the class are valued, which can be accomplished in many ways.
I also found that creating a classroom community includes minimizing distractions and interruptions as much as possible. I know that this is a hard task, because it is something that I personally struggled with during each placement. However, toward the end of each placement it seems as though I was able to minimize distractions in the classroom. The way that I was able to do this was by getting the people who caused distractions over to my side. I did this by talking to the students after class and seeing what the issues were and then having them see the benefit in paying attention and not causing distraction. This was a practice that worked for me, but would not have worked had not I gotten to know the students on a more personal level. This is by no means an exhaustive list. These are just some of the things that I have learned about creating a community in the classroom.