Starting on day one, students begin to establish community in the classroom. Acceptance, accountability, worth are emerging concepts setting unspoken rules within the social learning environment. In the present day, children struggle morally and too often self governed classroom societal boundaries are deficient of appropriate social behavior. It is the teacher's privilege to establish early on a sense of community in students leading to a mutually shared mission of learning.
A common practice I use in my college classes is to involve the students in listing classroom etiquette and policy. Since they are the ones who write the guidelines, few rules are broken. In order for students to feel a part of the group, I advice teachers to enlist students of all ages to help form classroom policy from the start.
Posting student acclamation and accomplishments on a bulletin board tells a child she is valued. Ask children to keep you updated on their extra curricular activities and to bring in any photos, news clippings, or ribbons they may receive in recognition of their talent. As they are posted, have class discussions detailing the reward and encourage students to voice their well wishes to the recipient. Since it is a village of learners, posting at least one accomplishment for each child is a must.
Classroom seating arrangements, when possible, can be used to foster a community environment. Set chairs in pods of four to five to help students connect and study as a group. Tables instead of desks is another useful approach to helping students value unity in learning. Groups of two to three at a table can be constructive when it comes to students helping each other with their studies.
The most important lesson learned through community is respect for each other. Children adapt to diversity of thought through sharing of values and they learn to handle conflict through effective positive social skills. Community in classrooms is designed to develop applicable knowledge usable beyond the four walls of education.