The Appreciative Close: A Strategy for Creating a Classroom Community
“What you appreciate appreciates” (Twist, n.d.). One of the practices I have employed in most of my classes during the past several years is “the appreciative close,” which is an offshoot of “the appreciative pause” recommended by Stephen Brookfield (Brookfield, 2015, pp.95-96). Brookfield suggests using the appreciative pause at the end of whole class discussions, providing an opportunity for students to acknowledge each other’s contributions in terms of how those supported classmates’ learning. I use the appreciative close at the end of each class session as a way for students to acknowledge each other’s broader contributions. In doing so, my aims are to help build a sense of community in the classroom, to strengthen the sense that learning is about bringing our whole selves into the classroom, and to support students’ self-awareness of the gifts they have to offer both inside and outside the classroom.