What I wanted:
Research suggests that connected learners are more successful in school. I wanted to create a trusting community in the class, where students felt comfortable opening up to each other, and would begin to look to each other as resources.
What I tried
“Help? Help.” Instead of a “High/Low” check-in at the beginning of the first year student class I teach, I frame the discussion to encourage students to 1) see each other as resources, and 2) de-stigmatize the sharing of needs.
Help? — Students share something that they’re struggling with on campus. Other students respond.
Help. — Students share something they learned that they found useful in navigating campus.
Next time I would…
In one-on-one meetings, students report that this is one of the most significant aspects of the class because they feel safe asking each other questions, and feel useful and appreciated when they provide answers.