Module 1: Creating a Community of Learners

Introduction and Intended Outcome:

Module Overview


Watch this video showing community college students in an aquarium science class.

At the beginning of the video, Dr. John Bransford, professor of education from the University of Washington School of Education and editor of How People Learn, introduces the concept of a community of learners.

Video: Creating a Community of Learners (4:36)

Think About

What evidence do you see that this class is a community of learners? What do you see teachers doing to help build community in the classroom?

Did You Notice?

The teachers in this video use many strategies to make their students feel at ease in the classroom. They encourage students to ask questions by explicitly telling them that questions are welcome and expected. They respond thoughtfully to all questions that students ask, even those that may seem simple or silly. They give students opportunities to talk about their thinking in low-pressure situations, such as asking students to brainstorm ideas in teams (students may feel less vulnerable working with a partner) or making informal presentations in class (many students are more comfortable talking in class when they know they are not being graded).