Using questions to build community

At the start of each academic year I always tell myself that I’ll find a new and authentic way to build culture within my classroom and get to to know my students. 1 week later, I usually look back and realise that those all-so-important early moments were lost to tiresome admin and uninspiring ice breakers. Today, I encountered a new idea. A simple idea. An idea that I’m going to steal and so should you. Discussion cards.

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Credit to Sam Sherratt for using this great idea in his cool session at Learning2 Luxembourg. Cards on the table facilitated discussion between strangers in a way that removed some of that awkwardness that so often comes with having to introduce yourself to others. In responding to a meaningful question, we reveal that little bit more about who we are and, if repeated over time, this process could help to build trust and a supportive team environment. If we are comfortable being ourselves, then hopefully our contributions become stronger – galvanised by the knowledge that in sharing our vulnerability we invite the trust of others.

Questions and provocations included the following:

  • What are you most grateful for?
  • What do you love about spring?
  • What does the word respect mean to you?
  • What makes you smile?
  • What one thing do you do on a daily basis that makes you feel good?
  • What are you wondering about at the moment?
  • What current event or news story has grabbed your attention recently?

 

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