The development of a caring learning environment does not just magically occur after the first week of school. Creating a successful classroom community involves the teacher's careful planning of curriculum that incorporates cummunity building into the daily lesson plans. Therefore I will give students as many opportunities as possible to form positive relationships with each other. In an English classroom, I believe it is especially important that there is a level of trust and respect among students and teachers in order for everyone to freely participate in thoughtful discussion. As often as possible, I would have students form small groups, and write funny or interesting things about themselves to share with each other. I would also invite students to express their thoughts on a subject within a roundtable or “fishbowl” discussion format, in which they would be able to learn more about their peers’ thoughts and feelings towards different ideas.
Furthermore, I would encourage students to share their thoughts in various writing prompts and journal entries. I think it is important for students to collaborate as often as possible in order for them to grow comfortable speaking within their groups, and then in whole class discussions as well. Students may feel reluctant if they are not frequently given an opportunity to gain confidence in their ability to speak their minds in front of their peers, much less the teacher. I also think it is important for students to have some degree of autonomy in the classroom. For example, they could be involved in creating a list of classroom rules or guidelines. This would give students a sense of responsibility, while holding themselves accountable for the rules they felt were important to the classroom.