Creating urban classroom communities worthy of trust
Developing trusting relationships between teachers and students in urban secondary schools everywhere is a challenging task that is essential to maintaining an effective learning environment. Trust involves a fragile web of relationships nurtured through positive daily interactions. We examined strategies that US urban high school teachers used to encourage hard-to-teach students to comply with school and class rules and engage in learning. Based on recommendations of these alienated students, we interviewed 18 teachers and observed four of their classes regularly for 4 months. We examine themes supporting an emerging theoretical framework of educational trust. Teachers encouraged their marginalized students to participate in learning by creating a curriculum and class environment that permitted many opportunities for engagement, provided positive interactions, encouraged the development of shared curriculum, and fostered student ownership. These features provided the foundation for educational trust based on themes of shared expectations, persistence, commitment, and voice.
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