To which level of community are you and your learners connected: community, Community, or COMMUNITY? How connected are you and your learners to a community, any community?
This week I attended the Trinity School 60th Anniversary Speaker Series featuring Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs since I am invited and included in this learning community. Dr. Jacobs asked
“Who owns the learning?”
How do we use technology to broaden the learning community for the children in our care so that they own their learning? How do we use technology to broaden our own learning community so that we continue to learn and grow?
I’ve been thinking about the literal meaning of being a member of a community which has inspired me to ask:
- Do the learners that assemble in my classroom form a community?
- Do the learners in my school form a community?
- Do the faculty in my school form a community?
- Are our learners’ parents part of our learning community?
- Are our learners’ parents part of their child’s learning community?
- What about the authors, teachers, learners, etc. outside my school – are they part of our community?
- Are the teachers that learn with me at conferences part of a community of learners that contribute to the success of my learners?
We talk at length about community. Being a community member is highlighted in our Best Practices Statement, our Vision Statement, and our Mission Statement.
In our faculty’s Best Practices Statement we say:
“As members of our school community and the wider community, [our] faculty strive, individually and collectively, to be teachers that model lifelong learning, joy, professionalism, and integrity.”
From our Learning for Life Vision Statement:
“We begin knowing we must model and promote lifelong learning in a global community. We commit to use technology and research to help us learn these essential skills.
From our Mission Statement:
“[We are] a Christian, independent day school for boys and girls, which seeks to develop the whole person for college and for life through excellent education.”
From our Philosophy:
“Throughout their school experience, young people encounter opportunities to question, to reason, to express themselves, to discover and pursue a passion, to risk, and sometimes even to fail and to learn from that failure.”
I have to ask myself if my learners are in a community that is restricted only to the 26 people that assemble during Xnd period. Are my colleagues or the parents of my learners invited to be in our Xnd period learning community, creating Community? Are our national and international colleagues, friends, and experts invited to join our Xnd period community, creating COMMUNITY?
How will learners own their learning, and how will they encounter opportunities to question, to reason, to express themselves, to discover and pursue a passion? With whom will our learners question, reason, express themselves, discover and pursue a passion?
How open are we, really, to these ideas? What actions do we take? How are we modeling learning and owning our learning?
To which do we belong: community, Community, COMMUNITY?
To which should we belong: community, Community, COMMUNITY?
As a mathematics teacher, I really want to explore how I can push what I do in my small community to a larger one. I am doing better of expanding my community within the school so that all members of my courses have some commonality with those taught by others. So we are fostering a community of faculty. But do my students even have a community with the other students in classes of the same subject? How about other schools within Atlanta, the US and the world? How can we use technology to foster our school as a member of a global learning community?