An author shares, “A sense of belonging is the heartbeat of inclusion.” How do you foster inclusivity in the classroom?
Students would love to know if you’re an accommodating teacher. Why is it important for students to feel like they belong?
Research shows that belonging to a group at school promotes kids’ intellectual, psychological, and social growth by giving them a sense of self-worth and identity.
Essentially, students who have a sense of belonging in the classroom are more likely to excel academically and have the greatest desire to learn. They thrive and do better.
But, let’s more specific. For you to be more inspired to create a sense of community in the classroom, let me share with you the great advantages of fostering a sense of belonging in the classroom.
What is a sense of belonging?
Belongingness is a term used to describe a person’s desire to be a part of a group and to be accepted by the other members of that group. It’s one of our emotional needs as human beings.
Belonging to a group is something that many people strive for, whether it’s in school, the workplace, sports, or religion.
When a sense of belonging is created in schools, students are more engaged to learn.
Why is it important for students to feel like they belong?
As teachers, we should create an inclusive learning environment where all students feel great acceptance and respect.
DeLeon Gray, an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology and Equity in the College of Education at North Carolina State University, shared that teachers can assist foster a sense of community among their pupils by fostering links between the classroom and the broader community through the development of meaningful classroom relationships.
5 Advantages of Belongingness
1. To boost students’ confidence
An important part of confidence is persistence. When students feel a sense of belonging in the classroom, they are more likely to feel motivated to participate in discussions and to accept challenges.
Students persist to learn if they are confident that they can do it. Therefore, creating a learning environment where every student is supported is integral to the provision of quality education for all.
When students feel they have support, they are more resilient. And because we let them feel that they are not alone, they have high regard for us and deal with us with high respect.
With their strengthened confidence, students cope immediately with challenging times. They persist.
2. To achieve better academic performance
To boost a student’s sense of belonging helps him or her do better and achieve more. With increased academic motivation, students find satisfaction in what they do and so they are more inspired to do more.
It can be about expressing appreciation for what students say or do. Our words of appreciation for the great work done give students a sense of pride which in turn makes them feel that they are accepted and recognized.
“You’re doing great” “Thank you for participating in the activity. Your energy makes everyone happy” These are delightful praise that shapes a student’s well-being.
Developing a greater sense of belonging in school can make students excited about waking up early and going to school on time.
Their eagerness in school can help them increase their academic achievements and hone their learning potential.
3. To foster interactive discussions
A sense of belonging in the classroom makes students confident to share their ideas and thoughts.
During group activities, if students feel fairness and support, they are most likely very active in brainstorming activities and share their inner thoughts. They create their identities and assume responsibility for their own learning.
The interactive discussions help students acquire psychosocial skills to build positive relationships with their peers. It can reduce the state of alienation and seclusion in the classroom.
4. To reduce misbehavior issues
Fostering a sense of belonging in the classroom is a strategy for behavior management. Misbehavior issues come out because of a lack of trust and confidence, aside from the feelings of intimidation.
This makes a sense of belonging really a fundamental component in classroom management.
Stress and other behavioral disorders can be better managed when one has a strong feeling of social connection.
When students feel acceptance rather than rejection, they are more committed to adhering to the group’s standards and norms. This encourages positive behavior which is important in establishing strong relationships in the learning environment.
And because students feel a greater sense of belonging, the likelihood of any forms of abuse and aggression are avoided. Students can learn how to adjust and be one of the group. Thus, misbehavior issues such as school bullying and misconduct are avoided.
5. To create more enjoyable learning experiences
When students feel like they belong, they develop a positive attitude towards learning and create enjoyable learning experiences with their classmates.
As they enjoy working with their classmates, excitement reigns. Notably, they are more engaged to finish tasks and actively participate in group discussions.
As this happens, happiness and satisfaction invade the room. There will be no instance of unfulfilled needs as students are more expressive of their feelings because they enjoy what they’re doing.
Furthermore, as enjoyment happens, students are really happy and excited that peer conflicts are avoided.
What is the heartbeat of inclusion? If you’re confident in saying that it’s making students feel like they belong, then you must have made an impact in your students’ lives.
Students who feel like they fit in at school are more likely to succeed academically. The degree to which students feel like they belong at school has a significant impact on their motivation and effort in the classroom.
I believe that we need to be reminded of the advantages of making our students feel like they belong so it can be pushed as a long-term educational objective in the future.