Creating a classroom climate that optimizes learning

Updated: May 30


How can we create classroom climates that optimize learning for all students? This is an important question to ask, as the climate has a huge impact on how well students learn. In this post, we'll explore what classroom climate is, and discuss some ways to create a positive learning environment in your classroom.


What is classroom climate and why is it important for learning to take place effectively


Classroom climate is the overall feeling of the classroom. It encompasses everything from the physical space to the relationships among classmates. A positive classroom climate is one in which students feel comfortable and safe, and are able to focus on the material presented. Conversely, a negative classroom climate can lead to disruptive behaviors and hinder learning outcomes.


How can you create a classroom climate that is conducive to learning for all students?


Creating a classroom climate that facilitates learning involves more than just classroom management. It is important to create positive relations among students and between teachers and students, as well as clear classroom rules about what is expected of students. Additionally, it's important to create an environment for learning that allows students to feel safe enough to take risks and fail sometimes.


F.A.I.L
[noun]
First attempt in learning


What are some strategies for establishing classroom rules and procedures?


Some classroom rules and procedures that teachers can establish include:


-Come in quietly, sit in your chair, and get out your notebook.

Why: This shows the teacher and your classmates that you are ready to learn and are an independent starter.


-Raise your hand if you have a question or to share something.

Why: This lets that teacher and other students know that you have something to contribute but says you are willing to wait your turn in respect of someone who might already be speaking.


-Silence technology means putting away all electronics so they are completely silent.

Why: When technology is silenced we can focus and be actively listening or actively working without the distraction of non school related input.


These classroom rules and routines are simple but are effective for classroom management and stand true for all grade levels.

These classroom rules and procedures also show that there is a reason behind every rule or procedure, which reduces the likelihood that students will misbehave just to see what happens. It's natural, and everyone performs better when they understand why it is critical to do so.


What is emotional intelligence?


Emotional intelligence is the capability of individuals to recognize their own and other people's emotions, comprehend their meaning, and manage them in a healthy manner in order to promote emotional well-being in themselves and others. It also accounts for an individual's ability to perceive who has power over them and how they can resist oppression. Emotional intelligence includes not just "how one thinks" but "how others think about 'what you think'".


How can emotional intelligence help you create a better classroom climate?


Students need to believe that what they are learning is useful, relevant, and meaningful. Most learners want to be engaged in an emotionally stimulating classroom climate.


Emotional intelligence may help students maintain classroom rules, build good relationships with classmates, and make positive contributions to classroom conversations. This not only makes classroom management easier for teachers but also creates a classroom space where everyone feels safe enough to be a risk-taker.


Ways to encourage student engagement and participation in classroom activities


1. Look for nonverbal cues and clues to figure out if everyone is on board with classroom activities. If you notice students looking around the room, rolling their eyes, or having a disinterested expression on their face when you ask for volunteers, there may be something wrong with classroom dynamics that need to be addressed. Ask students what they might think is wrong or what would make participation easier, and talk to the class about whether they think classroom dynamics might be somehow related.


2. Ask students how they want to participate in classroom activities instead of assuming everyone wants to work alone. Some students will really love working alone while others prefer the social aspect of group work. Knowing who prefers what can help you better connect with a part of your classroom community.


3. Sometimes students will not want to participate in classroom activities because they are scared of being wrong or looking stupid, especially if there is a lot on the line for their grade. It's important that you let them know that it's okay not to get things right all the time and that you have high expectations for their learning. If they feel bad about being wrong, they may not want to engage in classroom activities at all.


4. To create a classroom climate that motivates student participation, make sure classroom activities are meaningful and relevant to them as students. Engagement with the content you're teaching is key to classroom dynamics.


Tips on how to deal with disruptive behaviors in the classroom


1. If classroom management issues are coming up, try having a conversation with your classroom community about classroom expectations and classroom culture to see if there is anything that needs to change/improve. Listen carefully for ideas on how you can fix any problems students may observe in the classroom. Sometimes students will be able to come up with better solutions than classroom management.


2. If classroom management issues persist, talk to classroom management about what you think the source of classroom disruption might be and how you can work together to improve classroom dynamics. You may find that they have ideas that will help the classroom atmosphere in a way that matches your teaching style better than what was already happening.


3. Sit down with students to come up with classroom consequences for disruptive behaviors in place of sending students out or making them stay in. Use classroom consequences that are directly related to disruptive behavior so it has a lesser impact on classroom dynamics in general. For example, if a student is being disruptive by whispering in class, make the classroom consequence about the whispering instead of something unrelated, like not being able to go to recess.


4. If classroom management issues are still plaguing you and your classroom, check in with classroom management about what they think might be happening. It could be that classroom disruption is more serious than you thought or that students are exhibiting different behaviors than usual. You can also talk to them about whether classroom management is working well with classroom culture or if that needs to be addressed.


5. If classroom management issues are still stewing in your classroom, talk to students about whether anything has changed recently in the classroom dynamic