Thursday, August 4, 2011

TRIBES LEARNING COMMUNITIES: I just finished a 4 Day Workshop!!!

I just had the most amazing 4-day workshop at school.  My principal is BIG on learning communities and a huge BELIEVER of Tribes Learning Communities.  She asked for volunteers to take this 4-day workshop, and I was very thrilled to see 28 staff members (teachers, specials, and support) attend.  There may have been some skeptics at the start of the workshop but by the end of today, everyone was sold on Tribes, and excited to begin the school year so that we can begin to implement what we learned.  Our trainer is not only an amazing trainer but she's also a Broward County teacher who has been practicing what she preaches...what she "believes" in her classroom for many years.  

What is Tribes?

‘Tribes’ is not a program or a curriculum. Tribes TLC® is a process, a step-by-step sequence of strategies to achieve specific learning goals. The Tribes Learning Community process is founded on four guiding principles:
   Mutual Respect
   Attentive Listening
   Appreciations/No Put Downs
   Participate with the "Right to Pass"

If you go to the Tribes website (, you will learn the following:

Tribes TLC® is designed to build inclusion and develop cooperative skills in students, teachers, parents and other members of the school community. It blends the fields of group processing and cooperative learning; prevention and resiliency; learning theory and school change into a comprehensive, meaningful whole.
The Tribes TLC® process fosters a sense of belonging, which we believe is vital to a student's ability to feel safe, respected, and willing to take risks that are a part of learning. Students who feel part of a community, who value and respect each other, and their teachers, learn well. It's that simple.
Tribes TLC® is a researched based process. More than 1,000 studies on the benefits of cooperative learning support the use of small group methods. Reports from schools using Tribes TLC® show at least 75% reduction in behavior problems, dramatic decline in school violence, and increases in academic achievement.
Students learn a set of collaborative skills so they can work well together in long-term groups called tribes. The focus is on how to:
   help each other work on tasks
   set goals and solve problems
   monitor and assess progress
   celebrate achievements
The learning of academic material and self-responsible behavior is assured because teachers use methods based upon brain-compatible learning, multiple intelligences, cooperative learning and social development research.
Throughout the process children learn to use specific collaborative skills, and to reflect both on the interaction and the learning that is taking place. The Tribes process not only establishes a caring environment for cooperative learning, but provides structure for positive interaction and continuity for working in groups.

For the Tribes process to work everyone in the class needs to agree and apply these agreements. Once they show that they can do this they will be placed into tribes where they can work as a team on various activities and have lots of fun. If you would like more information on the Tribes Learning Community feel free to visit their website:
I created posters with the agreements for my classroom.  I used the powerpoint template that Mrs. Magee created for Open House: Dr. Seuss Theme PPT and changed it up to create my posters.
See below:

Just 4 Teachers


Anonymous said... [Reply]

My child's school just sent something home saying they will be implementing tribes in her class next year. They say that each tribe will have a name, a color, and a special hand sign, and that each tribe will have a mix of older and younger kids, so that the older ones can protect the younger ones from bullies. It all sounds like street gangs to me. Is this what the program calls for? It doesn't sound like what you describe doing.

Jane said... [Reply]


I haven't gone to any trainings, but this sounds very interesting and I would like to implement this in my classroom.

How do you get everyone to enter into the agreement? What if there are kids who do not want to agree?

I teach High School....


Marilyn said... [Reply]

I took the training a week ago. There is a book for high school. I am now in the process of coordinating it with the lower level book. I feel it is worth the time.

Marilyn said... [Reply]

I am looking for other high school teacher who have implemented Tribes.

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