Classbuilding is key to ensure the success of our students.
Classbuilding is the first step that will provide them a positive support for the acquisition of their knowledge. As students and teachers spend most of their time in the classroom, it’s important to create a comfortable, respectful and positive learning-teaching environment where each individual will find an opportunity to express himself while engaging in cooperative activities. Our classroom must not be any classroom, it must be a place where our students feel safe and where we –as teachers- can engage with our students on mutual respectful grounds.
Classbuilding means first of all breaking the ice. We need to allow enough time at the beginning of the year to get to know eachother.
Not only does it mean getting to know our students’ weaknesses and strengths, it also means knowing them on a more personal level. For example we need to know about their likes, dislikes, family, hobbies, talents, skills etc. as we must remember that through classbuilding we create a link with their personal universe. The classroom becomes an extension of their world and they need to know eachother to feel safe to share ideas and interact. Our classroom is a mirror of a small society and we must keep in mind that nobody should be left isolated. For this reason it is vital for the success of your classbuilding to spend the first few teaching hours in trying to develop strong and honest links with your students and your students need as well to create trustworthy bounds with their classmates. The stronger the links we build, the less drop-outs or withdrawals in the future.
Once you know your students’ personality and you are both acquainted to the classroom the next step to classbuilding is to engage your students in creating a class identity. As mentioned previously your classroom is not just any classroom. It must have a personality, as it is unique! We need to encourage our students to be part of the classroom community by being involved in projects, by being part through classroom displays, classroom common rules, classroom extracurricular activities. Our classroom is unique and we must be proud of it!
Classbuilding is a long and complex process simply because we are human beings and as human beings we are all different. Students will come from different social, ethnic and religious backgrounds. We also know that their gender will have an influence on their learning. It is our role as teachers to promote and embrace this diversity. Our classroom must be the nest for mutual respect and active support. Team works, pair works, group projects will be key to achieve this goal. Classbuilding must be a synonym for cooperation where individuals can blossom in a micro society where they are fully respected and valued and where team work help them achieve better.