An safe place, an oasis, is created within my classroom through various means. In the previous post I discussed a portion of how this is done through the establishing and maintaining of rules and procedure within my classroom and the positive feedback associated with them. Following I will discuss how cultural responsiveness and interaction can contribute to creating a feeling of safety within my classroom.
As for cultural responsiveness, that is something that I have to practice every day within my classroom. I'm in a very unique position in which I have students from all over the world; Romania, Australia, Scotland, Vietnam, Korea, and England. Not to mention that the school where I teach has another 10 or so different countries represented within. Because of that, I must be extremely culturally responsive every single day with these students because some historically do not get along, such as Vietnam and South Korea, or South Korea and Japan. When my students talk about difficulties between their countries being manifest into not liking a particular person because of the country that they come from, I always have a sit down and explain that just because someone is Japanese doesn't mean that they're bad or want to hurt you as a Korean person. I've had to explain to South Koreans that just because someone is Vietnamese doesn't mean that they're poor, or stupid, or less educated than they are. I always make sure that my students respect each other with in my classroom and respect each other within the school, in fact, it’s a school rule. Due to me addressing these issues in an extremely timely manner, as Hubbell & Goodwin (2013) say, “I create an oasis of safety and respect in my classroom” (p. 106).
I also interact with every student that I can every day. I try to learn every student in the primary school’s name, that is an admittedly very hard task as the students are of many nationalities and have names that are hard to pronounce, but I try my best to do it. I stand at my door and greet the students after they follow me up from the canteen, I greet my students when I get them from music class, and I greet every student in the hallway. I interact with every one of my students, and more, every single day and my classroom is known as a safe place. My students do bring me their problems first before they go to anybody else, unless of course I'm not there and they're on the playground, and I feel that that shows that I am fostering ‘the oasis’ that Hubbell & Goodwin (2013) talk at length about. I believe I help to create the safe and secure learning place that all students should all have.
Hubbell, E. R., & Goodwin, B. (2013). The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching: A Checklist for Staying Focused Every Day. ASCD.
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Benjamin Snitker. A master's candidate at Colorado State University-Global Campus.