Creating a Safe and Caring Commons

How do we do this? In much the same way in which the Caring and Safe Schools document infers we do it within the building. We create…

…an inclusive community where diversity is affirmed within a framework of common values, and where all members participate in decision making and cooperate to promote the well –being of all. Students feel that adults care for them as a group and as individuals. High expectations exist so that students are successful both academically and socially.

Within the Commons, this can be cultivated in a variety of ways. It  means “following” our students, so that they know that we are acting as the “wise and judicious parents” that are needed in order for the students to understand that their voice within our space is not only heard, but valued. A student without a teacher there listening, and providing guidance and feedback, is an orphan in the community. The “village” is there to attempt to guide them, but the combination of face-to-face access, along with a virtual presence, is the true key to expressing to a student their value.

The high expectations mentioned in that document need to be reflected in the activities students are participating in within the space. Idle contributions, unfocused dialogue,  or contributions that do not help to enhance the learning goals at work within the classroom, create the ingredients for what may look like a classroom without a teacher. Celebrating intellect, student creativity, and academic dialogue are key in ensuring that the community does not descend into moral turpitude (it is also clearly the stance the OCT would endorse when interacting with students within a space such as this.). One need only look to the comment areas within the You Tube community to understand what a climate of low expectations will inevitably create.

Published by jarbenne

Jared Bennett is the Student Information System Consultant at Hamilton Wentworth District School Board.

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