Resolution # 4: Creating community

My fourth resolution for 2023 is to create community in my world language class. This is not new to me, in fact I have been talking about this topic for a few years now, but I return to the idea because I believe that community creation is not static. That is, we cannot simply follow a few steps and consider ourselves served. Classes, especially classes in the field of the humanities, are constantly changing, evolving and the ideas I had for creating community five years ago may no longer be the most effective and appropriate for 2023. You can see what I was proposing a few years ago HERE.

Creating community in the world language class is easy and at the same time more complex than we can imagine. I will start by defining what things do NOT necessarily make a community in the classroom.

Sometimes we believe that in order to create community it is necessary to be extremely flexible, have food or candy for each class, have school supplies available when students do not bring them, or change our policies for handing in projects or taking tests. Creating community doesn’t mean making students dependent on the teacher. On the contrary, we manage to establish a community when we help students to be autonomous. We cannot become confidants of some because we cannot be confidants of all and this immediately generates inequality.

On the other hand, to make a community in the world language class, it is not necessary to know details about students´personal life in order to make them trust in us. In the vast majority of cases, knowing too much about the personal life of students lends itself to situations that in the long run are difficult to handle.

So what is the best way to create community in the world language class in 2023? The answer is simple: we teachers must be people before being anything else. That is, we teachers must be ourselves and from there establish interactions, relationships and connections with our students. It may sound a bit contradictory, but in a world language class it is better and more effective for students to get to know us and see us as human beings before identifying us as teachers. The interesting thing about this suggestion is that when we allow ourselves to really be ourselves in front of our students, we are transmitting our values, world vision and expectations not in an imposing or fake way but very naturally.  By being ourselves and allowing the students to get to know us as a person, they will know and understand the limits.  

When as world language teachers we allow us to be ourselves in front of our students, we share not only the second language but also all those things that make us love it. We share and communicate the importance of learning about other cultures and respecting them without having to repeat a script from the curriculum or textbook.

In 2023 I will be even more me than I was in 2022. My fourth purpose in 2023 is to feel in my classroom as I feel at this moment when I write this blog entry, relaxed and very comfortable in my favorite chair on the mezzanine of my house while I reflect, visualize my first day back and learn.  We learn more and acquire the L2 better when we are relaxed, calm, comfortable and especially when we do it from a place of mutual trust.

Who is Diego Ojeda? Learn more about me HERE

Resolution # 1: Planning

Resolution # 2: No more warm ups!

Resolution # 3: Rethinking quizzes and exams