Although the dynamics of teaching may constantly seem to be evolving the one thing that doesn't change is that fostering positivity within the classroom is fundamental for students to learn and grow.
Ultimately, teachers are aiming to create an encouraging learning environment where students thrive and can be the best versions of themselves. For children to be more productive in the classroom, they should have a positive attitude towards learning.
The best time to start setting up a good learning environment would be during the first weeks of the school year. However, if you are struggling, it is never too late. Below we have outlined seven steps you can utilise in the classroom to create a more positive environment for students to succeed.
Building strong relationships
In order to create the best learning environment, it is vital to interact with each child on an individual level. In many cases, some students feel invisible because the teacher hasn't made any effort to get to know them. You should know about each child's strengths, weaknesses, and abilities to cater to their needs and create a better culture within the classroom. Students should feel a sense of comfort and know that the teacher cares for them.
Building positive relationships is not only limited to the children in the class. It also involves building trust and communicating with parents, families, and the community regularly. You can encourage effective communication with parents by regularly updating them with frequent and ongoing feedback. Make sure important information is accessible to parents and families, so everyone is on the same page.
Nurturing these relationships early on will help build a strong foundation. If parents are involved in the children's education at school, they will, in turn, be able to support children's learning at home.
Be flexible and make learning relevant
Flexibility in the classroom refers to using various teaching strategies in the classroom and applying them based on the children's needs. Teachers must be willing to adjust their teaching methods to foster positive learning within the classroom. When students are involved in the classroom, their learning is enriched. Look out for students' cues on whether they are genuinely interested in the lesson. Things might not go according to plan, but the children's needs must be put first before our own agenda.
Students will be more engaged if the lesson content is relevant to them. It can be a fun experience for students to make discoveries themselves whilst engaged in project-based learning or being involved in more hands-on activities where they can problem-solve themselves. Teachers should aim to link teaching to real-world experiences so students can relate things to their own life. The classroom shouldn't be too overstimulating for students and ensure that distractions are minimal.
Growingresearchsuggests that when children interact with nature, it boosts their creativity and problem-solving skills, reducing stress. In younger children, teachers must assess whether the environment provides sufficient learning opportunities and whether or not it challenges the student further.
Create an inclusive learning environment
An inclusive classroom ensures that learning is accessible to all students irrespective of their learning abilities. Every child is treated equally, and tailoring the classroom environment to suit the needs of children. For a positive learning environment in the classroom, each student must feel valued.
Activity-based learning is an excellent way for everyone to participate and learn by participating in the learning regardless of children's academic abilities. One of the important elements of a positive learning environment is differentiating the instruction for all students to understand. You can simplify and extend the lesson content based on the children's response.
Establish a routine
Following routines in the classroom is a great way to create some structure. Students know what to expect, which helps them to stay motivated throughout the day. Incorporate some physical activity during the day so children can have a balance of passive learning and active learning.
There's nothing worse than frantically running around finding materials whilst the students lose interest in waiting for you to deliver the lesson. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you prepare materials for the lesson beforehand, for better classroom management, maintaining children's focus and ensuring the lesson runs more smoothly.
Encourage class discussions and student collaboration
Rather than passively listening to the teacher talk or reading from a textbook, promoting positive classroom discussions is a great way for children to understand lesson content better. Help initiate discussions amongst the children and ask for their perspectives. An essential aspect of positive learning is simply listening to what the students have to say.
As students start feeling more comfortable sharing their opinions and ideas, they develop confidence and self-esteem. Try to ask children open-ended questions instead of yes/no questions. This will allow for children to give a more detailed answer. You can even practice problem-solving in pairs or groups so students can make discoveries on their own and engage in critical thinking together with their peers.
Provide positive reinforcement
By offering positive reinforcement to children after they have performed well in a task, the likelihood that the child will repeat the behaviour will increase. Examples of social reinforcers that teachers can use in the classroom include: praise, smile, compliments and high fives. You can also reward students with stickers, certificates, or free time for good behaviour.
The classroom you set up for your children must be authentic. Students should feel safe, valued and maintain trust within the classroom.
Be happy to be there
The amount of enthusiasm a teacher displays in the classroom directly correlates with student motivation and increased learning. The students can often pick up when teachers are not themselves because your actions and voice set the tone for the lesson.
If you are feeling stressed, engage in activities to declutter your mind to give maximum effort to the children's learning. Don't be afraid to ask for extra help when you need it. Having additional support will always ensure student well-being and that every child gets the attention they need.
There are many strategies teachers can implement within the classroom to ensure a positive learning environment is created and maintained. Students should feel valued, supported and motivated for them to succeed. Involving the children in learning and hearing their voices and perspectives will support their development and help them flourish.