Electronic Journal for Inclusive Education


This article examines two critical questions for building trust to provide learners in communities that have experienced violence with the ability to participate with hope in classroom settings: (1) After the many recent alarming and violent events that have occurred in our society, how can educators best meet the affective needs of students to create a positive environment for learning? (2) Are there strategies and methods that any educator can use to help students feel interested in learning and ready to learn in spite of the repeated upsetting events in the news and in their communities? The answer is yes. Johnson’s (2011) research showed that students need faith in one another and the system that proposes to educate them. Given the dizzying, frightening, and sometimes dreadful events confronting students in their communities and in the news, educators need to promote affective skills for guidance in cross-racial dialogues, in emotional situations to acknowledge injustice, in validating feelings, and in building positive ideas toward knowledge and the future. Acknowledging and analyzing structural racism, sexism, and classism prevent the hiding and smothering of students’ needs. It takes more than knowledge of a hierarchy of needs, or cases requiring social justice, for educators to develop an environment of trust, mutual respect, and hope in the classroom.