What a Caring Community Can Do for Learning
Friday, June 17, 2016
Considered to be one of the best international schools in the Philippines, Reedley is an educational institution that understands the importance of creating a kind, nurturing learning environment for its students. It has firmly established itself as a community; so much so that both students and staff refer to it as their “home away from home”.
Understandably, students will want to study in a place where they feel comfortable. But are there really benefits to studying in such an environment? Surprisingly, studies say yes!
The Importance of a Caring Environment
School can teach many things. How to read, how to write, how to think for one’s self, and even how to think critically. But by creating a community-like environment, it can be easier to teach other things too.
By making the students feel that they are valued members of the school family, then it will be easier for teachers to be more adept at cultivating the multiple aspects of their development such as the intellectual, the moral, or the social aspect.
For example, a student who has a good relationship with their teacher will be more receptive to their lessons. Perhaps when a teacher recounts a personal experience and the lessons they have learned, the student can apply it to themselves.
Alternatively, students who are in an overall nurturing and caring environment will also be more receptive to their peers. This openness allows students to teach each other about teamwork, confidence, and camaraderie. In addition, developing these traits will allow the students to improve on important life skills such as time management, interpersonal relationships, and personal battles will be easier for them to deal with. It will also open them to new concepts and ideas, which in turn will allow them to learn more about various cultures, geography, and world history.
The Benefits of a Caring Community
A caring classroom community provides a warm and safe environment for students, enabling them to maintain friendly interactions among their classmates and teachers while allowing a boost in learning. They will be able to grow and contribute to the lives of others positively. According to the Utah Education Network, the following are evident among students when in a caring school and classroom community:
- Speaking in such a way that others will listen with respect. They are also able to listen when others are speaking, know how to solve problems, and contribute to a group.
- Have opportunities to participate actively, to belong, and to exercise some control over their lives.
- Feel empowered when they are able to make choices during the day, to establish goals for themselves, to make decisions about their classroom, and to participate in meaningful and engaging work.
- Have multiple opportunities to work with partners and in small groups, promoting collaborative learning. They also share ideas, take turns, solve problems, listen to others, and receive and offer help.
Keeping the Students Happy
According to a study by Schaps and Solomon, both children and adults are able to thrive better when they are in caring communities. Being in such an environment allows them to develop personal commitments to each other, to the world around them, and to abiding human values.
A caring school community nurtures its students and ensures they learn the things they need to know before graduating, like how to navigate themselves out in the “real world”. These skills are practically a requirement, and what better way to teach them than through personal experience as opposed to reading it from a book?
As the old saying goes, “experience is the best teacher.”