Series: David Olio: Case Study of a Teacher

Tribes: Agreements for Learning Together
Lesson Objective: Create a positive learning environment
All Grades / All Subjects / Culture

Thought starters

  1. How does this strategy affect class culture?
  2. What are the benefits of having this approach adapted across grade levels?
  3. How does Mr. Olio engage students socially, intellectually, and emotionally?
Very helpful and easily applicable. Thank you for this positive video.
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The entire tribe concept is very innovative.
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As a new teacher I will adapt these "Tribes" to my class in order to create a positive learning classroom.
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I think this would be a great strategy to use in the classrooms with such the vast diversity of cultures we have in the class rooms. The concepts mentioned are core foundations for most cultures.
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This is an essential premise for any class: treating each student as an independent, unique individual. I particularly like to see the right to participate included into the agreements; forcing a student to participant is (generally) a recipe for closed minds and a culture where students do not believe they are the authors of their own learning experience.
Recommended (1)


  • Tribes: Agreements for Learning Together Transcript

    Teacher [classroom]: Let's see if we can do this quickly and transition desks into groups.


    Tribes: Agreements for Learning Together Transcript

    Teacher [classroom]: Let's see if we can do this quickly and transition desks into groups.

    Teacher [interview]: Tribes is an approach to a classroom learning environment. And it' looking at the student as a whole person.

    Teacher [classroom]: Yes, Austin.

    Teacher [interview]: There are four Tribes agreements. The first is attentive listening. You want to be able to listen attentively to one another. That's the first agreement. The second agreement is showing appreciations, not putting people down. So it's an environment of thinking about who's helped me to be a good learner and I want to be able to appreciate that. The third agreement is the right to pass and the right to participate. If a student gets into a space where they feel uncomfortable, they should just be able to say pass and then come back. Te fourth agreement is mutual respect. We want to respect all students for whomever they are when they come into the classroom and make space for them.


    Teacher [interview]: Tribes really is a process in our district that begins in Elementary School. All students who walk into my classroom when I say this is a Tribes classroom - know exactly what I'm talking about. There's lots of studies about engaging students socially, engaging students intellectually, engaging students emotionally. All three of those levels need to be addressed when I am working with students, assessing their work, deigning them - as a result, our next lessons, and they need to be part of that process and Tribes is really both an attitude that one needs to have toward that and it offers some strategies in order to facilitate that.


    Teacher [interview]: Tribes involves respect for all students. It involves students' ability to choose their best way to participate - it's their ability to both appreciate and be appreciated for their work and have mutual respect for all people.



School Details

South Windsor High School
161 Nevers Road
South Windsor CT 06074
Population: 1318

Data Provided By:



David Olio


Teaching Practice

Project-based Learning, PBL, Projects, Engagement

Teaching Practice

All Grades/ All Subjects/ Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Culture

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement