Undergrad Courses

The importance of community…

When I first started to think about the importance of community within the classroom I turned back to my internship experience. As I started the process of deciding where I was going to try and go for internship I struggled with whether I wanted to stay in Regina or to go to a small town. I chose to apply for the town of Broadview and at the end of August, 2009 I found myself moving to Broadview.

At the beginning of the experience I was a little apprehensive about being in such a small town and was not too sure what to think abou the choice I had made. I wondered what kind of experience I would have within the school? Would I be missing out on something because I was not in the city schools where there are (what I thought to be) more resources? Now, you might have just read those questions and thought what the heck is this girl thinking, and trust me when I look back I think those same words to myself.  The first thing I want to say is resources, in terms of teaching, are what you make of them and how teachers choose to use them. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed and now miss the experience that I had in Broadview.

Back to the importance of community…

I want to play sort of devil’s advocate here. As Dean discussed his belief that the most under utilized resource in the classroom is students themselves. I could not agree more and I can’t help but wonder how I am going to implement this resource effectively into my future classroom. The reason I pointed out my experience in Broadview was to pose this question: are teachers more likely to see students interact more with eachother in a small town (rural) classroom than they are in a more urban school setting? To put this more in to perspective as to what I mean, quite often in small towns everyone knows everyone and there are many people who have similar interests and are involved in many similar activities. More often then not, the kids going to school know eachother long before they are even in school and see eachother quite often outside of the school setting.

On the other end of the question, in a more urban setting, students live in a larger community where there are many more options for kids when determining the extra-curricular activities they might be involved in. They are less likely to see eachother outside of school or know eachother outside of the classroom setting. Not to say that students in an urban setting never see eachother outside of the school setting.

So I ask you, is one situation more likely to promote a classroom community than the other? Does it matter what type of community we live in as we work to develop classroom communities? To extend this conversation a little bit, would it make a difference if we discussed this within the realms of a country other than Canada or the United States?

I do not know that I necessarily have an exact opinion on this question yet but I feel it is something that could lead to an interesting conversation. So let’s hear what you think!

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2 thoughts on “The importance of community…

  1. I don’t feel as though a sense of community outside of the classroom necessarily means that there will be a sense of community inside the classroom. If I’m from Smalltown, Sask and know everyone in my class because the only thing to do in Smalltown on a Friday night is to go to the local curling rink and loiter, it doesn’t inherently mean that I enjoy hanging around those people.

    I do admit that, being in a smalltown setting and likely having similar viewpoints versus an urban center, there would likely be more of a sense of community to begin with both inside and outside of the classroom. I think where we need to promote to really promote classroom community may be the ubran centers, where students may have much more varied viewpoints and backgrounds.

    Having students with many unique perspectives and having them work together and learn as a classroom community is much more impressive than having a community of like-minded individuals collaborate and learn, because, let’s face it, no matter what the classroom’s like, everyone in Smalltown is still going to be at the curling rink come Friday.

  2. I’m with MIke. This is simply about school culture and classroom culture. It has nothing to do with urban, rural, rich or poor. It’s true that the potential of small towns to foster a fluid sense of community has a greater chance of succeeding but in terms of a classroom, it’s up to the teacher to make that happen. The feeling of belonging comes as students identify with something bigger than themselves. In “good” schools, it usually happens with extra curricular. I’m still advocating for this to happen in a classroom. A friend of mine in Manitoba has a class brand/name called “the Hive”. He buys 50 cent buttons with the logo and gives it to every student at the beginning of the year.

    http://www.evenfromhere.org/?p=63

    My point, this has to be intentional inside the classroom.

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