Classroom learning community: A co-mingling of student and teacher voices in a Grade 5 mathematics classroom
University of New Brunswick
This study examined the impact of student voices mingling with the teacher voice in a Grade 5 mathematics classroom through Professional Learning Community (PLC) and Communities of Practice (CoP) lenses. The purpose was to identify the impacts of mingling of the voices of the teacher and the students on assessment practices, student achievement, student engagement, and learning processes. Participants included the classroom teacher and 15 Grade 5 mathematics students. The literature review examined the roles of student voice, PLCs, and CoPs. This review highlighted a paucity of research done with upper elementary students to examine how their voices impact assessment practices and associated learning. A collaborative action inquiry (CAI) research study approach was used to develop this story. Three research questions guided this study: What are the shifts in operating a Grade 5 Mathematics classroom as a learning environment which incorporate aspects of PLCs, CoPs, and the greater involvement of students’ voices? How do the relationships among the members of the classroom evolve as students are encouraged to act as co-constructors and co-decision makers of their learning? How do these shifts impact student achievement? Methods of data collection included individual participant reflective journals, interviews, photographs, and observations. Truth about - and equity in - education are limited when the predominantly listened to voices are the adults involved. This CAI research shares one story of how children were listened to and how the children’s voices significantly impacted their learning and their teacher in the classroom they shared. Four findings highlighted this study. First, the children expressed the importance of fun in learning. Second, they indicated their preference for learning together rather than individually. Third, there was an increased resolve for the teacher to think critically about power relations in a classroom. For the teacher, it was important to advocate for all members of the classroom learning community to collaborate in assessment creation, tracking, and analysis to plan for learning. The development of Classroom Learning Community (CLC) questions guided collaboration. Fourth, the children affirmed how crucial it is to acknowledge that they can express what works for them in their learning. Therefore, it is critical for the teacher to remember to continue to listen to children’s voices.
SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Education