Oct 6, 2022
S5E05 - “The Fertile Ground of Caring, Connected, Classroom Communities“ with Megan Aprim and Marie Stevens
The conditions for learning. So much has been said about what it takes to cultivate the fertile ground for deep learning. With all of the research and scholarship on how we learn, it is hard to deny the fundamental role relationships and emotions play in learning. Today we are going to speak with two highly-respected and beloved teachers who embed their practice with structures and routines that send the message to their students that, yes, they are cared for, and are safe and are important. Their pedagogy reflects this so that the students are ready and excited to learn, yes, … and also so that their students know that all people deserve to be cared for and accepted and respected, and that to be a caring and concerned person in community with others, is important for now in school, but for onward, in life. Yes, they create a fertile ground for learning, and they also cultivate a fertile ground for building caring, community-minded, socially and emotionally students.
Today we want to welcome to Community Room’s kitchen table, two classroom teachers from a community school in the lower mainland of BC: Megan Aprim and Marie Stevens.
- https://www.socialthinking.com/zones-of-regulation/free-stuff (Zones of Regulation)
- https://poets.org/poem/work-4 (Poem by Kahlil Gibran)
- https://www.portageandmainpress.com/Books/S/Stand-Like-a-Cedar (Stand Like a Cedar)
- https://www.amazon.ca/Rabbit-Listened-Cori-Doerrfeld/dp/073522935X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+rabbit+listened&qid=1665107776&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIwLjk0IiwicXNhIjoiMC43MyIsInFzcCI6IjAuNzUifQ%3D%3D&sr=8-1 (The Rabbit Listened)
“Empathy is an emotional state essential to forming healthy relationships and communities. When community members have high levels of empathy for one another, there is less hurt, people regulate their own behaviour, and there is more forgiveness, acceptance and kindness. Perhaps it would be hard to measure with standard assessments, but imagine what might be possible if we spent a year prioritizing, strategizing, and striving to build empathy in our schools – empathy among teachers and students, among students and peers, among teachers and administrators, and among staff, parents, guardians and the community at large. I suspect we’d meet all kinds of goals, because the lack of empathy in our schools and society might be one of the root causes of a great deal of dysfunction. “
- Elena Aguilar: "The Power of Empathy"
Megan Aprim has been teaching for 21 years, mostly as a primary teacher. Creating a safe, comfortable space where her students feel like they belong has always been a primary focus in her teaching. She loves to help her students discover a love of reading and currently has thousands of books in her classroom library. For the past 9 years, Megan has worked at an urban community school, and she enjoys taking her class to the nearby forest, where she and Marie love to plan and co-teach outdoor ed lessons. Megan has two teenage kids and seeing the education system from K-12 through their eyes has helped shape her beliefs around engagement and connection between teachers and students.
Marie Stevens has been teaching for 17 years, 5 of which in a lower mainland school district. What she enjoys most about teaching is forming connections with her students and getting to know each one as an individual. She loves to joke around and learn with her students, and enjoys watching each class come together as a cohesive community throughout the year. Working at her current school introduced Marie to teaching and learning as a community through platooning, team and co-teaching. Marie and Megan have been on the same grade group team for 5 years and together they have enjoyed taking their students to the large nearby park and forest area to engage in Social Emotional Learning through nature. When not teaching, Marie can be found cycling, open water swimming, cooking or eating. Right now, however, she is on personal leave and can be found in southern France cycling, eating, exploring, hopefully swimming and definitely improving her French.