How I use personal stories to build connections in a middle school
What has become my most magnificent skill is my ability to cultivate and create connections between learners within their school community by using their personal stories. I have learned that when a child is free to share his or her own stories they become part of a classroom community, connected to their learning, validated as a person and confident in the classroom. These attributes are necessary for students to succeed at school. As a teacher, I have had to adapt what I am teaching, my routines in the classroom and my personal philosophies in order to create connections between myself and the learners in our school. I have learned to make space and time for learners to have a voice in their classroom, and I have done so through the use of Learning Maps, activities and the development of listening skills. This is an autoethnographic research project designed to draw out and reflect upon the power that learning about the personal lives of each other can have on the relationships in our school. I feel that the results demonstrate the importance of learning to listen, building relationships, and trusting your learning partners.