Online Communities & Community Building Strategies – 521

I joined two online communities this week. After reading about creating an online community, I did not want to wait until I graduated to affect a change. As Key Spouse, I am trying to reach other spouses, particularly younger ones, to engage in our organization. As a result, I created my first page on Facebook outside my own personal Facebook page. Due to the nature of a military base and the possibilities of security breaches, the page has a small viewing audience. People can see it but they must ask to join or be asked. If the constraint from the Squadron Commander was not there, I think we could network more globally as I do on other military spouse networks. We are up to five members and still growing, albeit slowly. With over seventy service members, I hope it continues to grow. It should serve as another means of communicating and hopefully build a feeling of community online.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/149288171948417/

I also joined EducatorsConnect. I selected it because it had a social feel and yet offered the opportunity to read and react to other educators in varied fields. I have identified myself as a 9-12 teacher and have established contacts with educators in the 6-8 realm as well as college professors teaching English and Composition. It is interesting to communicate with current teachers both above and below the grades I teach. I have read many blogs from others on this site and find many issues familiar and some new. I like the communication (questions and answers) and even like reading the conversations of others that are visible through posts. It has a feel of Facebook; but the subject matter is relevant to me as opposed to rants about Starbucks or the loud neighbor next door.

http://www.educatorsconnect.com/members/home

The building of community is about listening as much as talking. Offering forums supports students so they feel comfortable learning with others. Challenges are easier to take when you feel like you are not alone. I remember a student I had in Advanced Composition in 1988. Faculty warned me about him. He walked in the room with a bandana, a leather jacket with spikes on it, black jump boots, and jeans with chains all over. I did not react. I called on him expecting him to be prepared. We had a great relationship. I found him to be brilliant in all facets of the class. He did not speak on each and every topic. Yet, when it did, it was always worth the wait. At the end of the year, a stellar one for him, he stopped me and said, “You are the only one to see past what I wore. I always thought from day 1 that you saw me.” Dr. Rice, you practice what you preach in your book. I am connected to this class. I feel that if I apply what I am learning, I can still be THAT teacher online to a new kid in a different outfit, helping establish a place where he can be comfortable in his own skin.

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About "B" Bernheim
“B”, his nickname, returns to the other side of the desk after many years. Graduating from UNC-Charlotte in 1983 with a BA in Education (K-12), he entered active service with the US Army. He began teaching high school upon completion of his tour of duty. B taught Language Arts and Social Studies for one year at the middle school level. English, Composition, Public Speaking, Theater, Forensics, and Technical Theater are among the subjects he has taught in public high school settings. Most recently, he was a Strategies of Instruction teacher, Assistant Dean of Students, dorm parent, girls’ hockey coach and rock climbing instructor at The Forman School in Litchfield, CT. The Forman School is a 9-12 boarding school specifically targeting students who learn differently.

2 Responses to Online Communities & Community Building Strategies – 521

  1. Making connections like that with students makes it all worth while. You have some great strategies for building community. How did you distinguish between Ownership and Individual Identity? I found the 2 hard to distinguish when I was doing this assignment.

  2. "B" Bernheim says:

    Thanks for the compliments. I appreciate the affirmation more than you may know. To me, Ownership represents accountability. I can share aspects of my individuality or contribute to a group identity and yet not own the document. Commitment to and change of behavior for an ideal would constitute ownership in my opinion. ~ B

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