The following blog is a composite of comments. insight, and inspiration from students in the latest online course, “A Study of the Influence of The Tribes TLC Process on Social Emotional Learning”.
The tragic shooting which occurred in Newtown, CT last month sparked a debate over whether there should be armed guards in schools, or if teachers themselves should carry guns. However, missed in this idea is that arming teachers and other staff will only further schools from being environments of care and trust. It will lead to a dominating and threatening environment, which will further distance the students who feel “uncared for”.
The point is, if we have learned anything from the recent tragedy, we should have learned that students are in need of greater care and attention as individuals…that they need to be further connected to their school as a community and within a community.
There is no better time to infuse the Tribes Process of a caring culture and SEL’s relationship skills in the classroom of today. Student’s need to be shown that their individual thoughts and ideas are as important as the next, and even as that of the teacher’s. It is imperative to value each student as an individual and to provide him/her with a sense of purpose.
Students in today’s 21st century are learning in different ways. They have access to many forms of technology and therefore, we as teachers no longer feed the information to the students; they are active participants working collaboratively among others to be co-learners. This is why it is imperative to foster the Tribes TLC community/agreements.
Each aspect of the agreements works towards social awareness. Students build skills that will help them in the future. This shapes their culture, trust, and core social skills. It teaches people ways to resolve conflicts positively and gives them a voice. Caring learning communities allow children to feel safe and cared about by their teachers and peers. Students thrive in school; there are fewer behavior problems because students are trying to help each other figure things out. School attendance increases when students feel safe and schools have a caring environment. ” When those things are felt learning is never ending!”
Thomas Sergiovanni outlines that in order for a school to become productive learning communities one needs to allow the following:
- reflective communities
- developmental communities
- diverse communities
- conversational communities
- caring communities
- responsible communities
Student-centered learning; cooperative, active, reflective, integrated, project-based and authentic are all words that need to be part of any lesson plan. It is not just assessment – but how they work in a group, how they think, and how authentic the learning is for them.
As I learn more about Tribes Learning Experiences with my staff, I am discovering that appreciations and reflections are two of the most important components of the process. I ask my students to reflect as part of a final assessment and often the response I get is how much they have learned and how fun learning has become. They feel empowered to continue their education.
A classroom of students who are talking to each other shows a group of engaged learners. Not every solution is 100%, not everything is a level 4, but they are workable solutions often needed for room to grow and develop. Can I say education for education’s sake? To learn how to learn…in a safe and caring learning community.