As we enter this last 30 days of school, here are a couple of things to keep in mind about fostering a positive classroom community. The Center on PBIS’ Cultural Responsiveness Field Guide defined a supportive environment as one where: 

1) a positive school culture is identified as a top outcome;

2) students feel valued because they see their lives reflected in the lessons, images, and examples available around the school; and 

3) staff commit to teaching pro-social behaviors rather than punishing students into assimilation, especially when there is a cultural mismatch. 

Cosmopolitan Classroom, according to Dr. Emdin, “a space where each student is a full citizen, responsible for how well the class meets the collective academic, social, and emotional goals”.3  A few strategies Dr. Emdin uses: 

  • Give everyone a job.
  • Use your student’s language (one way to incorporate student language could be call-and-response, affirmation in unison). 
  • Showcase student culture everywhere: Building a supportive environment means your students’ identities, histories, and cultures are visible and positively incorporated into your school’s culture and physical spaces.  

To read the entire article: Supportive Environments Create Classroom Community 

References:
1.  Leverson, M., Smith, K., McIntosh, K., Rose, J., & Pinkelman, S. (2019). PBIS Cultural Responsiveness Field Guide: Resources for trainers and coaches. OSEP Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. www.pbis.org.

2.  Kozleski, E., & Waitoller, F. (2010). Teacher learning for inclusive education: understanding teaching as a cultural and political practice. International Journal Of Inclusive Education, 14(7), 655-666. doi: 10.1080/13603111003778379

3.  Emdin, C. (2016). For white folks who teach in the hood - and the rest of y'all too. Boston: Beacon Press Books.