A purpose of all schools should be to ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed academically. I am not simply referring to students excelling on standardized tests either. Success academically should also be about how well students are able to analyze and apply the information learned in class to their lives because the greatest purpose of education is to prepare students for life.
How then do we get students involved and essentially engaged in our classrooms?
Connecting with them!
At times, it is easier said than done, but meaningful connections between students and teachers are essential in making sure students stay engaged in class.
After all, my mantra is, “You can’t teach them, if you don’t reach them.”
A way for you to connect with your students is to promote and celebrate community on a consistent basis in your classroom, and not only at a one-day event on your campus. You can’t always dictate what gets acknowledged school-wide. But you can choose what gets celebrated in your class.
Students come from various backgrounds, ethnicities, and celebrate numerous cultural norms that you may or may not be familiar with. Therefore, when you celebrate community, you honor the diversity that exists in your classroom.
Here are some ways to consistently celebrate community:
If you have students from different ethnic groups in your class, have them teach the class how they say “hello” in their native language, and then practice saying it together.
Provide students a platform within your class activities and assignments to share aspects of their culture and showcase what makes them different.
Bring in books and other types of media like music and films that showcase diversity and are created by authors and artists from different backgrounds.
Create a wall of achievement where students can list their accomplishments weekly or daily throughout the school year.