How to Build a Community of Learners
The goal of teaching is not just to dispense information. While this is a major part of the educational process, the ultimate goal is to foster in each child the fundamental skills that instill the need and the desire to learn. A child that has mastered skills in a certain area is not sufficiently prepared for their future, they have to see the need to apply it outside of the school environment in order teaching would be effective. As the world continues to change the knowledge that we all must is changing as well. Children who stop learning when they are not in school risk to be ill prepared for the years ahead. The Manitoba Education Office explained this very important point,
“For…children, becoming a member of a community involves both learning to join in the talking and simultaneously learning how to understand the world as people around them do.” (Barnes, 1995, p. 2) These attitudes do not develop alone, but in the company of others, for learning is both an individual and social process.
It is important that throughout the developmental process of learning students recognized how their knowledge connects them to the world around. This will provide them with many benefits that could reward for years to come.
Benefits of Becoming a Community Learner
If you are teaching a child that learning is a lifelong process, they will always be motivated to seek out more information when they need it. As they get older their minds will stay active and just like any other muscle in the body, they need to be able to keep it strong and well prepared for the future.
Community learners are always hungry for more information. As they get older they will be more curious about history, current events, the political scene, the environment, or the culture of others they may meet. They will be more accepting of new things and will be open to the rest of the world.
How Community Learners Can Benefit from the Community
Community learners are actually lifelong learners. The more curious you are about the world around you, the more likely you’ll want to support it. Lifelong learners are avid supporters of the world they live in and are often in search of supporting it in many different ways. As each student grows in appreciation for their personal community their sense of responsibility will also grow with it and they will always be compelled to find ways to improve so everyone will benefit as a result.
How to Build a Community of Learners
Start with the classroom: The classroom environment will be a key ingredient in the student’s learning process. Teachers should foster a caring atmosphere that allows all students to be accepted and feel comfortable with each other. Especially at the earliest stages of development, children should believe that their peers and those surrounding accept them and want to include them in their group. Being able to identify where they fit in their world, it will not be a far leap for students to envision themselves as contributing members in the outside world.
Become an example: Teachers should make themselves a role model and demonstrate the concept of a community learner themselves. As a teacher, you should accept the unique difference of every child that enters your classroom. Children are master imitators so whatever actions the teacher demonstrates, the more likely the children will follow suit.
Offer varied, functional, and meaningful activities in order to incorporate the different beliefs, lifestyles, and values of each child’s background throughout the daily course of study. It will increase awareness about each student and what they can contribute making new things more palatable for everyone.
Students learn from not just what the teacher says but also from what they have seen and have observed for themselves. When teachers set the example of making learning a lifestyle choice everyone will benefit.