Here are 3 ways you can create a more culturally connected learning community for young people this year. Each action step can be implemented in both virtual and face-to-face learning environments. Also, check out the YouTube Video on this topic, as well!
#1: Discover Dreams
Ask your learners (or their families) about their hopes and dreams to help humanize your goal-setting process and better align to your overall vision for your classroom or school community.
#2: Use Data to Design
Use the information you collect from your students and families to help you build more relevance and cultural connections into your instructional delivery. Collecting information about your students simply to further your behavior management strategies is literally a waste of time, the real solution to your behavior issues are in classroom engagement.
#3: Craft Community Contracts
Create a classroom contract with your students that model your communities citizenship expectations and core values as opposed to rules. It's not that young people do respect rules— they do. However, when they see rules being broken by adults without being held accountable, they lose trust in your system altogether.
With contracts- everyone within the community is expected to live up to those core values. Contracts speak to morals and responsibilities, ways of being, and core tenants, such as being resourceful and having integrity. Contracts encourage problem-solving and critical thinking in order to maintain the community; they are more sacred than rules and hold greater consequences when they are broken. Rules are more black and white and speak to control. Restoration is required when contracts are broken, where we tend the punish when rules are broken (which is a whole other blog post for later).