Class Meetings: Building a Classroom Community

Class Meetings: Building a Classroom Community

Encouraging students to be respectful, empathetic & engaged
Sometimes I find it hard to believe that as educators there’s any time left during the day to teach “The 3 Rs” (… but somehow we manage to do it). As someone who has been teaching for 16 years now I find that we are required to cover so much more in the classroom than ever before. Outside of the “3 Rs” we address social/cultural awareness, world issues, character building, issues around “bullying”,  social skills, fundraising, problem solving, etc. … and it’s all so very important! Speaking as someone who wants to do her best to “address it all” – to meet the needs of all students – I have found a way that works best for me. I set aside 40 minutes of class time (last period every Friday) every week to hold Class Meetings.

Class Meetings are just that. A time for students to sit and discuss issues that speak to them. They are student directed and teacher facilitated. The agenda is set by the group and depends on the group’s various interests, needs and concerns at any one time.
Note: I always have – in my back pocket – a drama activity related to a theme (e.g. problem-solving, conflict management, friendship, etc.) “just in case” we run out of things to say (which hardly ever happens).
 Overall …

Class meetings are about … 

  • … trust
  • … communication – giving students a voice
  • … community building
  • … authentic problem-solving
  • … constructive decision-making

Class meetings encourage the development of … 

  • … personal & social awareness
  • … trust & respect
  • … active listening skills
  • … effective speaking skills
  • … empathy & understanding
  • … an awareness of cause & effect
  • … problem solving skills
  • … friendships, of a class community
  • … social responsibility

Class meetings encourage students to feel … 

  • … listened to/heard
  • … important
  • … empowered
  • … a sense of ownership
  • … a sense of responsibility

4 responses to “Class Meetings: Building a Classroom Community

  1. >I love your idea. I'm still a teacher trainee but I'd like to try the class meetings when I start teaching. Giving students a voice… that's so important and I haven't seen much of it around.

  2. >Thanks! Really they really are wonderful! & sooooo "multipurpose"! They can be used to develop speaking and listening skills, to develop conflict resolution skills, friendship/social skills … they are great for connecting, for getting to know your kids, e.g. their interests, learning styles, and so much more!Anyway, enough said ;-)Cheers,Ally

  3. >I think the teacher I work with in Utah (via google talk) does class meetings probably for the same reasons you do. I'm sure they really are beneficial to the teacher and the students. Kudos for doing this. E 🙂 Elysabeth ElderingAuthor of the Junior Geography Detective Squad, 50-state, mystery, trivia seriesWhere will the adventure take you next?http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com

  4. >Cintiastella & Elysabeth, Thanks for the feedback!

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