Establishing Community Norms

September 11, 2016




The Importance of Community Norms

Jen Cort


Community norms are a set of agreements informing member behavior and rooted in community values, beliefs, interests. Establishing norms creates a reciprocal relationship between the individual and the classroom community as well as the classroom, the school, and broader society. 


Developing Community Norms:

  • Identify community values, mission and/or vision

  • Define the non-negotiables

  • Articulate goals

  • Prioritize needs

  • Ensure inclusivity 

  • Consider the role of technology

  • Reach consensus (in the sense that not everyone has to agree with all norms but must be able to support and live with all of them)

  • Create safe and judgment-free agreements


Suggested Community Norms:

  • Be engaged, limit known distractors

  • Communicate directly, clearly and with respect

  • Use active and reflective listening

  • Speak for yourself

  • Allow time and space for all members of the group to share opinions 

  • Lean into brave spaces, allowing yourself to be challenged

  • Recognize the contributions, efforts, and participation of all

  • Put challenges in the middle of the table for consideration by all

  • Ensure confidentiality of words, images, gifts, discord

  • Utilize conflict resolution skills

  • Allow yourself to fumble with ideas, concepts, behaviors

  • Engage with mistakes as learning opportunities

  • Be comfortable with silence:

    • Ask for a gathered silence

    • Ask for a reflective silence with the conversation gets too heated

    • State that you do not know how to interpret the silence 

    • Remind the group that silence can be interpreted for agreement to observe silence as a loud means of communication 

    • Convey the confusion when silence is the answer to a question

    • Request an empathy-based approach to silence in digital communications

  • Ensure an evaluation process and adjust norms as needed



Creating Positive Community Norms by the CDC










Please reload

Featured Posts

Parenting and teaching are like enjoying swimming with sharks and avoiding dolphins

September 13, 2017

Please reload

Recent Posts

April 1, 2020

Please reload

Search By Tags