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.


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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