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Tribes Learning Community - Previously to my training I had never heard about Tribes. I knew the term learning community as it is extensively used in European classrooms, but tribes? My colleagues told me that if I wanted to do one good thing this year for myself and my students, I should go to the tribes training.
So I went, and boy did it blow my mind. I started off tentatively, listening and exploring but mostly analyzing and organizing the new information into categories that I was used to handle. I recognized some of the activities and concepts as I had used them or encountered them in a simplified form: that was my turning point. We do many activities with our students in class to enhance their learning but during the training it hit me: we leave out a very important aspect: ‘An alive community. The Tribes process turns what we do in class into a breathing, living community’, instead of an abstract string of teaching strategies.
You have to trust the process - Tribes Learning Community is not a quick fix, it is a process; even during the training this aspect was obvious. Donna and Michael led us through this process, advancing step by step into getting to know each other, respecting each other for our differences, getting to appreciate each other and finally they managed to make complete strangers work successfully together in a tribe. The feeling of belonging, success and safety was an incredible gift to receive on top of the method on how to make this magic work for your own students.
Step by step I am implementing Tribes into my classroom, the students notice the difference, and even the parents do. It is very clearly a process, sometimes of trial and error, sometimes of adaptation but always rewarding for everybody who is involved. My students actually ask for "circle" activities and remind me to include them frequently in my teaching. The process is actually supported and pushed forwards by the students themselves.
So, thank you very much Donna and Michael for starting the process for me and my students, it is truly a magical gift.
Isabelle Bartholomey, Grade 6, 7 and 8 French Teacher, Dubai American Academy
Speaking from a shy person's perspective, I think that Tribes really helped me become more confident. At first, I didn't believe that building a close sense of community and friendship was possible (at least I've never experienced one); especially with the way our society functions. However, after taking Tribes and learning about its approaches, I feel that the "potential" is there. I would recommend this workshop not only to upcoming and current teachers, but also to anyone in the work force. After all, we come together in not only a classroom but everywhere! Thanks, instructors, for lightening things up!
Edward Sum, Ottawa U
For Donna and Michael
I am writing this to express the importance of Tribes and how meaningful it really is. Before I took Tribes, I wasn’t sure what it was or what to expect, my friends however were very keen on it so I decided to join. Of course, the cost of it made me a little hesitant and giving up a weekend definitely wasn’t ideal, but after taking the course I can easily say it was the most helpful thing I took all of teacher’s college.
Donna and Michael are naturals together and maintained professionalism while creating a positive learning environment for all of us. Fellow candidates and I got to experience what it meant to be part of a Tribe, play some of the activities involved in Tribes, and most importantly learn the four mutual agreements that are the basis for Tribes.
After the weekend devoted to the Tribes course, I came out feeling a lot more confident in teaching and how to manage my future classroom. I also received a large book that is essentially the Tribes Bible and has loads of information in it that will provide further information on Tribes and tips for teaching. Donna and Michael have also sent multiple emails since the course with helpful information, such as tips and advice for interviews, which I studied thoroughly before my interview with the Toronto District School Board. I made sure to mention I had taken Tribes in school at my interview, and the interviewers seemed very impressed. I am now an Occasional Teacher with the TDSB, and I think being Tribes certified had a big part in that.
I cannot stress enough how important and helpful taking the Tribes course has been. If you are able to give up one weekend to play some fun games with friends and learn what Tribes is about in the process, then I would highly recommend doing it. You will not regret it.
If you want to know more about Tribes feel free to message me at email@example.com, I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Ian Cook, University of Ottawa
"As a first year high school teacher I have used TRIBES from the first day to build inclusion, and help connect a class that was full of dominant cliques when they arrived. I'm already starting to see the results in the form of teamwork."
Theresa Rutherford, Queen’s U.
Nothing and everything I ever expected! Every teacher should experience tribes! Inspiring
Julia Spadetto, Former Queen’s TC
Tribes Process and Training with Donna and Michael:
I feel truly fortunate to have been offered Tribes Training by Donna Bennett and Michael Eveleigh just over 3 years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed the training and have utilized many of the activities both in my Grade 3 class and currently in my ELL and Life Skills classes. What I find most valuable is the fact that I am dealing with students everyday, who have diverse learning needs, and the Tribes process is all about inclusion and making students feel valued. Tribes can be adjusted to suit any age student in any setting. Most significantly, the methods Donna and Michael used to teach us made the whole process seem so achievable in any classroom. They were incredibly organized, knowledgeable and approachable. As adults, we participated in the actual activities and formed our own tribes. We had a lot of fun hands-on participating in the lessons, that I was confident the students would LOVE Tribes too. Donna and Michael were extremely good facilitators, ensuring that each member of the training group felt safe and comfortable, exactly how our students should feel in a Tribes classroom. Both teachers were wonderful role models displaying high energy and enthusiasm. I left the training so excited by this new approach to teaching. They actually inspired me so much that I began the process of Tribes learning in my classroom the very next school day. Since the training there have been times that I need a particular activity for my group and both of them have been very forthcoming in providing a suitable suggestion or resource. I feel fully assured that wherever my job as a teacher takes me, I can develop a positive community of learners through the Tribes process. Thanks a million Donna and Michael for providing me with such a tremendous experience!
Heather Barker, Dubai American Academy
After working with grade 7 & 8's for 6 weeks and doing high school rotary for a few weeks I really see the usefulness of Tribes. My Associate Teacher has instinctively done this with her Grade 7's and she has had an amazing impact on the students. Even though teaching grade 7 & 8 is amazingly hectic, these grades give one the chance to actually implement the Tribes approach more consistently with one group of students and hopefully make a difference in the student’s lives through learning. I'm hoping one day to have my own grade 7 or 8 class to try and work this magic myself.
Linda Elliott, Trent University Teacher Candidate
Beneve Educational Consulting