Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Building a Positive School Community: The Community Stewardship Model

“. . . community life does not organize itself in an enduring way purely spontaneously. It requires thought and planning ahead. The educator is responsible for knowledge of individuals and for a knowledge of subject-matter that will enable activities to be selected which lend themselves to social organization, an organization in which all individuals have an opportunity to contribute something, and in which the activities in which all participate are the chief carrier of control.”
-John Dewey, Experience & Education (1938)

Successful teaching and learning are largely dependent on the community structures created by administrators and teachers.  Educators can--and should-- shape supportive communities that foster positive learning experiences and give greater meaning to learning.

Friday, October 13, 2017

What is a Positive School Community?

The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology describes community as “people having something in common, although there is much debate about precisely what that thing is”(1).  Another article describes community as “a group of people with diverse characteristics who are linked by social ties, share common perspectives, and engage in joint action”(2). Others contend that a community is a group of people sharing a common geographical area, however many argue against a proximity requirement, stating that technology has created virtual communities that are as fulfilling as “real” communities (3).  I recently posed the question, “What is community?”, to a class of students at Venture High School. Through discussion, they crafted the following definitions: "a group of people working toward a common good,” “a group with similar values that support each other,” and “a feeling of safety and welcoming.”