- November 24, 2017 at 6:17 PM #41296
What are key ingredients to creating a “we are a team” atmosphere in the classroom — especially when needing (again) to reinforce procedural expectations?
- November 27, 2017 at 9:01 PM #41305
Uuuhhh, you don’t ask hard questions, do you? Since this is an issue, I’ve been dealing with this year, I don’t have any great ideas. I do think that my tone of voice in how I deal with the reinforcement goes a long way in how students feel about each other–especially because it is usually the one or two same people who “mess it up” for the class. I’ve also found that my sincere appreciation for the job well done helps the class atmosphere as a whole.
- November 29, 2017 at 8:49 AM #41322
Modeling a team attitude and also verbally reinforcing students for the little specific contributions they make when they are team players can be helpful. Listening to the students and finding what motivates the students can play a large role in developing a team atmosphere. Encouraging students to cheer on each other also supports a team approach. Sometimes students need to be specifically taught how to support and cheer on their peers. In addition, at times there is one student that needs to be taught, supported and encouraged to take a team approach. One student’s attitude can have a large influence on the group.
- December 1, 2017 at 12:26 PM #41358
An ongoing challenge is to maintain active, meaningful focus “out there” on what the group is doing, whether developing skills, exploring new content, or grasping new concepts. Invigorating activity produces group camaraderie and inner satisfaction as a by product.
When children turn to mulling over how they are “getting on” and posturing for acceptance by unconsciously doing little things for the express purpose of getting a dopamine hit via others’ high fives, they can easily shift from healthy growth to unhealthy ruminations.
There’s a rather relevant analogy here to Jesus’ words that he who focuses on saving his life will lose it, while he who will lose it will save it. Focus outward on activities, others, events, exercise of talents, and the wonders of His world fosters growth and satisfaction.
- December 2, 2017 at 8:00 PM #41391
Jonas, I really like what you are saying. I’m mulling over it and would love to have you expound further.
It reminds me of what I have observed — that students will work even harder and find more heart satisfaction in earning something to give away than when it is for themselves. For example working hard to earn a dime they know will go, not for a class pizza party, but to provide Bibles or a warm blanket, etc. for a known organization brings greater joy and invites that “life is much bigger than just us” reality into the classroom. And it goes hand in hand with that concept of “we are a team”. Hmmm. This is so good for me to be remembering.
- December 11, 2017 at 7:05 AM #41605
This is a great question, Betty. I haven’t thought about this specifically, but I do think now and then about the need for students to think more of others than themselves. I too would be interested to hear more from Jonas about this.
- December 13, 2017 at 1:54 PM #41612
My Dec.1 comment alludes to what Parker Palmer expands upon in The Courage to Teach. In chapter 4, “Knowing in Community: Joined by the Grace of Great Things” and Chapter 5: “Teaching in Community: A Subject Centered Education” he discusses the dead end of both an objectivist and relativist approach to learning. Rather, we should focus on a subject, which can neither be completely “known” nor is it merely what we from our perspective “make it out to be.”
On the lowest level, he pictures a kindergarten classroom in which the teacher reads a story about an elephant. (p120) The students become so taken with the subject that they are enamored with its size, its use of its trunk, its big feet, its weight, its tiny tail… As they discuss the elephantness of an elephant, they “forget themselves” as they all, along with the teacher, grow in their understanding of elephant.
Such is the goal of the teacher. To engage all the students, along with the teacher, with the dynamic, living subject that claims their attention. The subject could be a skill, a new awareness, or a concept. Students who immerse (in a sense, “lose”) themselves in a subject experience growth on multiple levels, especially as they do it in concert with fellow students.
- December 13, 2017 at 9:23 PM #41613
That sounds like an excellent read. Thank you for the recommendation; I went ahead and ordered one. You speak out of a wealth of experience and we listen attentively.
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