Finding things that unite and bind us together as a group, while at the same time respecting and celebrating our differences. Embracing the interests, experiences, and goals of the community to shape the learning environment and gain ownership of the learning experience.
The key questions for this pillar are:
- How are we getting to know the people with whom we are learning?
- How are we creating a sense of responsibility and accountability among our community of learners?
Think about it. Have you ever gotten to the end of an entire semester or to the end of a class and realized that you don’t know the names of everyone with whom you shared that learning space? Or realized that there are other learners in the room with whom you have never engaged in conversation? Or realized that you spent the entire semester sitting next to, sharing, and collaborating only with the people you knew going into the course?
Building and sustaining a community among learners is integral to teaching peace. Community allows learners to take advantage of all the experiences and knowledge that exists in the space as opposed to relying solely on the teacher for information. Community creates shared accountability and commitment to reaching goals set by the community. Community creates safe learning environments where students are willing to take risks and be authentic with one another. Community creates an atmosphere where all learners feel welcome and appreciated.
In short, community building creates the fertile ground out of which deep learning and peace can flourish.
Reflection Question: What is one of the strongest and healthiest communities of which you are or have been a part (scholastic or other)? What does or did that community do to build and sustain itself?
- Lakey, George. Facilitating Group Learning: Strategies for Success with Adult Learners.
- Diehl, Todd. Teaching Nonviolence by Building in the First Week of School.
- Teaching Tolerance. Classroom Community Building.