In particular, when we’re younger and still exploring ourselves to discover who we really are.
For that reason, schools must incorporate community-building programs that promote learning among students.
Studies show that the benefits of such programs improve the overall school quality.
Community building activities contribute to students’ academic, socio-emotional, and career success.
A healthy school learning atmosphere is one where students and teachers have the utmost physical, mental, and emotional stability.
Physical stability means that everyone is healthy and the school structures have an ergonomic design.
When it comes to mental stability, the school must promote positive mental health and a bully-free environment. Teachers can achieve that by having accessible communication channels and promoting good behavior.
Emotional stability is important in making judgments and remaining productive. It’s demonstrated in the students’ ability to manage their feelings and thoughts to make responsible choices.
However, it’s important to note that children are at different development stages. Therefore, teachers can not use the same principles and teaching methods. That’s why Positive Action has a tailored curriculum to cater to all children from Pre-K to high school level.
Community building activities involve grouping students into small teams (randomized or non-randomized groups) and assigning them activities that they must achieve as a team.
Community building activities foster a healthy learning environment among students by:
Over 600 schools have enrolled in the Positive Action programs and helped their students achieve the above four benefits.
Community building activities foster collaborative discourse learning among students. That’s because, in small groups, students understand complex tasks faster and engage at deeper levels.
Why is that?
As a group they quickly embrace the team spirit and aim to win together!
Here’re are the collaboration and discourse skills that students learn when they engage in community building activities:
These collaboration skills work for the benefit of the entire team of students and teachers. It reduces the occurrence of conflicts thereby maintaining a healthy learning environment.
Students have a better chance of learning these skills when working in smaller teams during community-building activities. That’s because the inter-personal interactions with their peers are more direct — as opposed to when they’re in a bigger group.
More so, these skills encourage uniform participation. Teachers reported that using Positive Action programs enhanced student collaboration by 25.7% and led to a corresponding 21.1% improved school quality.
To achieve similar results, enroll in Positive Action classroom management programs. They’ll help the quiet and shy students feel that they’re active participants in every community-building exercise.
Expert tip: Remember to shuffle the students each time they form groups so that they interact with everyone. As you divide students into small groups, mix them up to encourage diversity.
A diversified group helps the students to brainstorm more ideas and have more engaging activities. Similarly, maximize simultaneous engagement by giving the students fun activities that integrate multiple skills and concepts.
Engaging in community-building activities (especially outside of a classroom) enables students to bring theoretical lessons to life.
That can involve acting out a book, recycling paper, or building a volcano. Whatever it is, the teams create or replicate real-life situations using their imagination.
Positive Action's theory of multiple intelligences is excellent in molding the creativity of students. It recognizes that children’s learning abilities differ depending on the sensory and cognitive functions.
The theory comes with lessons that involve different community-building activities across the cognitive and sensory spectrum. It does so by combining several intelligence activities at once.
These include curriculum activities and materials such as:
Success story: 2nd-grade students perform 17 out of 27 Positive Action songs at a two-night musical program. Further, research outcomes in NE District showed that the programs improved Pre-K students’ intellectual capacity by 19%.
The above community-building activities also foster problem-solving skills among pupils. Teachers can use stories, drama, or class discussions with illustrations on real-life conflicts for the students to resolve.
For example, through acting and drama, the student assumes the life of someone else and they’re tasked with thinking of what decisions they would make. Therefore, students learn creative thinking and at the same time get to have fun.
To further creativity, allow your pupils to participate in decision-making — especially in coming up with community-building project ideas.
Not only does that help students discover new things but it also makes them know that they’ve contributed to creating a healthy learning environment.
Community building activities play an important role in the socio-emotional aspect of children by helping them break out of their shells.
For you to have a healthy learning environment, the children must feel safe amongst themselves. Therefore as a teacher, you must:
Regardless of academic ability or behavioral needs, children are aware when they feel included in a classroom community.
To enhance inclusivity, aim to schedule team bonding activities and fun games (in the classroom or outside) that involve the entire group of students.
Team bonding games such as building blocks are fun icebreakers. They create a relaxed ambiance and help students get to know you and each other. You can also split the whole group into two teams and play a fun game such as football or tug of war.
A relaxed indoor or outdoor team building game focuses on helping students to meet the basic needs of being a team member. That includes:
Once these social-emotional basic needs are met, they feel they’re living in a positive learning community. Results show that 4 out of 5 students demonstrated desirable behavior after undertaking the Positive Action social-emotional and character development program.
Subsequently, that creates a healthy learning environment and encourages the students to take academic risks. That can include leading their group in a project, participating in a life skill class, starting a revision club, or signing up for a new sport.
Teachers should allow students to choose their responsibilities when they group themselves to do a team-building activity. Then closely observe how they lead so that you can identify team members' strong and weak points.
If a pupil often volunteers to present the group work, then their strength is probably in public speaking. And if another student shows consistency in designing the presentation chart and accompanying props, then art is possibly their strong area.
The gifted and talented program by Positive Action promotes learning by teaching children how to recognize their interests. They can learn leadership skills from role-playing and conflict-resolution activities.
Such lessons further reinforce the concepts that were lacking in the student. With time, children discover how best to improve themselves and the skills they need to work on at an early age.
In the end, you’ll notice that a healthy learning environment will continue to exist positively even when the teacher is absent.
That’s because the students know each other and can trust other team members to take charge of certain duties while you’re away.
For instance, if you step out to attend to an urgent matter during a morning meeting, the public speaker enthusiast can step in. Perhaps they can collect ideas for the next community-building activity and present that to you once you return.
A healthy classroom community improves trust among children, decreases the tendency of negative behavior issues, and helps them develop a feeling of ownership of their environment and learning.
Community building activities give the student a common goal to work towards. Thus, the grouping system automatically puts them in a collaborative spirit where they know they must work together and win.
As a result, the students take academic risks, sharpen the talents that drive them to success later in life, and build long-lasting positive relationships with each other.
We all desire a future where our children will collaborate in businesses and live together in harmony. And to achieve that, we’ve got to start instilling these qualities as early as when the children are in pre-K.
Most importantly, teachers should introduce community-building activities as soon as students are back to school. Informing the students about the inclusion of these activities in the first week allows them to prepare and build momentum to actively participate and learn.
Contact the Positive Action support team today. They’re always ready to chat with you and guide you in selecting the most suitable programs that'll promote a healthy learning environment for your school.