The students in this class formed a bond with one another that was important to them. They formed a community in that they identified themselves as a unified group having shared a unique experience:
There was talk about the whole class having been a “one of a kind” experience because even though the research is over they will always be “bonded” to the people in the class (Field notes, December 14, 2004).
The sharing of personal narratives played a significant role in establishing these bonds. Students formed meaningful connections with one another. Two students wrote about the use of personal narratives in establishing these bonds:
I think it is a good technique for English. You know English is not everybody’s favorite class to come to. When you know everyone and you’ve shared personal stuff—just makes it all better and it keeps people in class. I know it has for me (Individual feedback form, November 2004).
English is like…Ah, man; do I have to go to English? But then you have friends there. There are people that you want to see and talk to (Individual feedback form, November 2004).
Feeling part of a classroom community and having friends in the room kept students attending. It also encouraged them to want to talk with one another. As one student explained at the semester-end discussion, “If you don’t know each other, you are probably less likely to speak up.” Because the students saw one another, felt bonded to one another, they participated with one another in the learning. The bond was also evident as the students talked about themselves as an “us.” Two students displayed this sense of community as they talked about the CD that everyone received at the end of the semester, containing the theme song of each student in the class:
Students in the class felt a bond with one another. The CD was a tangible memory of the uniqueness of each one of them that had been shared in class. They had seen each other and in turn they saw themselves as a “unified body of individuals,” as an “us,” as “a community.”