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Evidence-based Strategies - Examples, Research and Tools

Strategy e: Continually build community and sense of belonging in the class among students.


Activities to Foster Community Building
Joyce Malley
A description of seven creative strategies for building community by inviting students to share their lives, listen to each other, and celebrate together.

Building Community and Skills through Multilevel Classes
Judy Hofer and Pat Larson
Contrary to the current movement away from mixed levels, this program finds that multilevel classes better reflect the diversity of the world in which adults function and communicates to students that they all have strengths and can learn from one another. The authors illustrate that building connections and community helps students work across differences to hear a range of perspectives and collaboratively solve problems.

Creating a Classroom Learning Community the First Day of Class
Sherry Nash
One Texas educator's suggestions for ways to build community with learners from the first day, including: creating opportunities for everyone to get to know one another (including the teacher), establishing class “norms,” and actually learning something right away.

Creating a Learning Community
Kiran Malavade and Krista Shaffer
In a library-based class designed to build a learning community through teamwork, peer support, and participation in class decisions, students show an 85% completion rate.

Improving Student Persistence at the Genesis Center
Nancy Fritz and Barbara Piccirilli Alsabek
In this Providence-based program, two teachers tested the impact of implementing three related persistence strategies: democratizing the classroom, adjusting the curriculum to respond to student interests, and helping learners develop metacognitive awareness of their learning and progress. The combined strategies had strong effect on both attendance and learning gains.

Less Teaching and More Learning
Susan Gaer
In two distinct settings, the author used projects to build motivation, confidence, and sense of community among her ESOL students.

Attendance and Classroom Community
In this video, an instructor speaks about the barriers that affect student attendance and engagement and provides strategies for increasing both.  These breakthrough strategies are initiators for allowing first generation college students to bond with their college community.


Is Goal Setting Primary to Every Student?
Susan Bubp
In this practitioner research study, groups of current and former students were asked about what makes them stay and succeed in their studies. Findings show that supportive relationships with teachers and peers was the overriding factor and that up-front goal-setting is not effective for all students.


Peer Interview Questions
Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences (SCALE)
This is a set of questions the SCALE program used to help students get to know one another (referenced in “Making it Worth the Stay,” pp. 77-78).