If workplaces can create and nurture a culture that attracts, engages, and retains happy employees that leads to accomplishment of objectives and goals – and ultimately success – then why can’t we create our own version of organizational culture in our classrooms?

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A Learning Agreement Rationale

Organizational culture is the ‘how we do things around here’ and ‘what it’s like to work here’ attitude and mentality. It can make or break an organization. As said by Peter Drucker, a management consultant, author and educator: “Organizational culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

A strong and positive classroom culture produces a sense of community that provides a feeling of connection amongst students and instructor, and that leads to comfort with and willingness to commit to an agreement about the ways to engage, learn, and grow within the classroom.

Attitudes and actions of leadership (the instructor) contribute to an organization's (the classroom’s) culture - and culture shapes and influences behavior.

Developing your Learning Agreement

An effective way to establish classroom culture and ultimately arrive at a learning agreement amongst the class is to:

1)     Identify the students’ core values (what’s important to them about being a member of the class).

2)     Unify the class through an activity to identify the “common” core values of the group (contact Jenny for creative ideas on how to arrive at the final set).

3)     Turn the core values into statements that represent how the values will be practiced in the classroom and represented throughout the semester.

4)     Formally vote to adopt the core values & class code; signed commitment forms could also be required.

5)     Keep the Class Code visually accessible:

  1. Projected on whiteboard upon arrival into the classroom throughout the semester
  2. Displayed in Canvas
  3. Printed copy for the notebook

6)     Hold each other accountable.

  1. Host a mid-term chat on which values have been most represented and which have been least represented
  2. Ask students periodically how they see each of these present and what they, individually and as a group, are doing to model them

Additional Resources and Examples

Contact Information

Center for Teaching and Learning

Meriwether Lewis Hall 320

500 8th Avenue

Lewiston, Idaho 83501