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  • Heather Marchek-Lopez

Must See Live: Belonging in the Classroom

We tried a new evening time and a shorter talk for this Live conversation, and it couldn't have worked out better! We were able to learn so much about the idea of belonging in a space, whether you're an adult or a child, and especially what it means to belong in the classroom. Our guest is the compassionate, empathetic and inspiring public school teacher, JJ Hill.

Arielle and JJ believe belonging is central to our sense of being as human beings. We enter a space and inherently ask ourselves, "Do I belong here?" This sense of belonging can make the difference between impassioned learning and progress or complete shut down.

JJ tells us how she creates an inclusive classroom and a sense of belonging and with her students, and it all begins with creating a connection with each of them.

Just a handful of my takeaways:

* At our core, we are one; we are all connected. As children, we know this naturally, and it is only when we become adults that we learn how to divide ourselves. We receive messages as we grow older about our differences, but really we have more in common than some of us are ready to admit.

* Belonging is having a strong sense of who you are. If an individual really knows themselves, negative and divisive messages won't be as effective.

* If a student doesn't feel a sense of belonging or comfort in the classroom, how can they be expected to learn? It all starts with building a rapport and supportive network with the teacher and with the other students - it has to feel like a safe space to be themselves.

* When given the chance to share stories, people can see themselves in each other. There will be differences, but there will be a natural connection when you realize the common experiences.

We'd love to hear what you think. Do you remember what it's like to be a student? Or maybe you're a teacher? What does it mean to belong in a classroom? Watch it and share it right here!

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