Monday, August 29, 2016

Tips to Build a Culture of Learning

The idea of school is changing and becoming more of a community for learners of all ages. Every learner comes to school with their strengths, challenges, background, and concerns. For learners to grow and flourish, we need to create learning environments where every child is recognized as a learner.

A culture that values every learner will empower them to discover the joy of learning. The idea of creating environments that are learner-centered sounds attractive. Building a culture of learning based on trust and respect doesn't happen overnight. We had a #plearnchat a year ago on Changing and Building Culture where some of the same and many new participants joined us in today's chat. Everyone agrees that culture is all about building relationships but it goes deeper than that when you are a teacher or administrator. So we decided to reach out to our PLN and ask what tips they have to build a culture of learning.

Here are the questions posed to educators tonight:

  1. Why is it important for learners to feel they belong and are accepted? 
  2. How do you build relationships with each of your learners? 
  3. How do you collaborate with your learners to simplify rules and build consensus? 
  4. How do you recognize contributions of individuals and celebrate accomplishments? 
  5. How do you build an environment that encourages equity and social justice? 
  6. How do you build a culture of learning that values each learner?

There were so many good quotes in this chat that we decided to choose just a few people and share several of their quotes this post:

    Trish Donlin @donlin_trish has joined us several #plearnchats, and we love this quote on the left that she shared. Every learner deserves respect including the different cultures all of us come from. Here are two more quotes she shared about showcasing work and learners collaborating:

    "Showcase their work. Let them decide what is good. Have conversations with the whole group with shoutouts if the learner is okay with it."

    "Share passions, team building, reading "Oh the places you'll go!" Being honest."

    Mark Levine @LevineWrites always keeps the conversations lively in many of our #plearnchats. Here's a few more on culture from Mark:

    "The culture needs to exist daily, not only on special occasions. It truly needs to be THE culture. Value!"

    "I believe in guiding my students towards reflective self-pride. Help to see the worth of their journey and success."

    "I may be weird, but I find being REAL with students builds the quickest relationships and readiness to learn."

    Jen Hegna @jenhegna jumped in and shared not only great quotes and graphics. Here's a few of her quotes:

    "I am learning that listening is a critical communication skill! Find strengths and build upon them."

    "I like to have my learners reflect/share out things they have done, progress they are making, challenges that have overcome!"

    "We are implementing K-12 ePortfolios where students choose artifacts based on 21st century competencies. "

    Congratulations to Nancy Gajewski who won our book, Make Learning Personal

    Nancy Gajewski, @ngajewski, has been teaching at D.C. Everest Senior High in Weston, Wisconsin since 1984. She loves teaching 8th grade American History and states that 8th graders are just the perfect students! Nancy is project manager for their Oral History Program with authentic student projects and primary sources.

    "So important for kids to know they matter."

    Nancy's blogs: 
    Mrs. Gajewski's Blog
    Mrs. Gajewski's AAP Blog
    Intech 2011 Gajewski
    Historical Reading

    Our new book, How to Personalize Learning, coming out this October, 2016 shares how to go deeper in Chapter 9 on Building Culture. We share examples from educators who we met in #plearnchat. You can pre-order our new book at a discount right now until it is released on October 18th.


    Save the Date: Monday, September 12th

    4pm PST, 5pm MST, 6pm CST and 7pm EST

    Our next #plearnchat: Personal Learning Backpack

    Big Question: How can learners support their own learning?

    We archived the entire #plearnchat about Tips to Build a Culture of Learning below for your convenience and as a resource.