While finished up Choice words by Peter H. Johnston, I am draw to the learning communities that I have tried to set up in my classroom. There are just many times when students would rather alone than build and bounce ideas off of their peers. They are aware or their friends and love to talk with them and be with them but have not been able to bridge that friendship into the classroom community. Learning with peers is such a powerful tool in the classroom for students and the teacher. There are many times when my students peer tutor and I get to watch them grow as learners and teachers.
Johnston has great question stems that help build the community in the classroom that allows all students to partake and share. There are many times in my classroom that we use similar questions to have students interact and work together, even when they don’t want to. Also during our group discussions there are many times when my students will say the ‘same’ thing as peer but have worded it differently in a way that makes sense to them. Having students work in groups allows them to share ideas and ask questions when needed. This is something I have found very beneficial especially when I cannot be in 5 places at one time. These groups and communities also allow students to work together and build a bond that can help them later in life. One thing I want to work in my classroom is joining in the discussion with my students instead of just leading them and making them more open so students can freely talk/discuss what we are working on.
When talking to my students I am able to build a relationship with them as a teacher and a peer. There are times when my students feel comfortable to talk to me about things that they talk to their peers about. Sometimes I have to stop and think about what I am going to stay next because I know the impact I have on my students lives but there are time in learning where I give an immediate response and see how my students take it and grow with questions and responses. The conversations I hear and have with my students are genuine and allow my students to feel comfortable in the classroom.
I have noticed how much my word choice and students word choice builds our conversations and communities. We are able to hold conversations about our learning and our daily lives. They are growing as learners, teachers, and so many other hats of knowledge. I am growing with them and are finding was I can help them better.