Building Our Safe Space: How Physical Environment Creates Community in a Constructivist Classroom
Corbett, Catherine B.
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The classroom can be a haven to shelter students from the dangerous hallways and give them the space to learn and grow and develop themselves as individuals. The classroom can also be a place to develop a community, which might be the very first community that some students experience because there is no community at home, in their neighborhoods or cities, and definitely not within the halls of their schools. My current mentor teacher, Kelly Killen has constructed an effective and influential community within her classroom where her students learn social responsibility, acceptance of others, and develop the ability to express and share their individual personalities with one another because their classroom is so safe. I hope to use this teacher and this particular classroom structure and dynamic as a model for developing my own strategies as a teacher in forming a cohesive community within my classrooms and forming a safe and comfortable environment with my students. With a collective and positive community environment. I believe that students will be able to develop themselves as individuals and welcome the dynamic personalities of others who might be different to build crucial social skills that will generate respectful and peaceful social responsibility, and to develop a sense of the importance of constructive community and the ability to develop community outside the classroom throughout their lives. During my student teaching I plan on observing the ways that Kelly constructs her classroom community; focusing on: How she has physically arranged the room and what conscious signifiers exist in the room? What classroom management techniques that she uses to respectfully administer a sense of order and integrity amongst her students? How she constructs a safe and expressive environment with her students to encourage self-expression and individuality? How she gives children the freedom and confidence to develop their individuality? How she fosters learning and literacy and maintains their attention and respect? How she develops relationships with each individual student and in what ways does she interact with each to add to this sense of secure community?