Practical ideas to create positive learning environments
Kids want positive learning environments.
Teachers who are willing to go the extra mile to create safe and engaging learning conditions find that their students achieve more. There are fewer off-task behaviors. Attendance improves.
Getting to know who your students are and providing what they need are essential steps you can take to create a positive learning environment in any classroom, regardless of your students’ ages.
These ideas will help you.
Learn who your students are
Learn your students’ name right away, but don’t stop there. Ask your students to tell you about themselves.
By asking your students the right questions, you build empathy and develop compassion.
Question your students with, “What do you like about class so far?” Students can jot down their answers or share responses with a partner. As the year progresses, continue to ask questions that cause students to reflect deeply. Discover student inspiration and what helps them be resilient.
Encourage student buy-in and ownership
Positive learning environments are kid-friendly places where children have a voice in what happens.
Engage your students in classroom decision-making whenever possible. They can make suggestions for the room’s arrangement, recommend class rules, and help with tasks.
Believe that your students can be successful
Rather than point out your students have forgotten what you taught them, encourage your students to build on previous success. If they were successful the day or week before, remind them of that success. Help them achieve it again through encouragement instead of accusation.
Maintain the same attitude about learning for yourself; you are your students’ role model.
Make your class a safe zone
Physical and emotional safety is critical for student success. The children in your classroom need to know that you will see to it that their needs are met, and no one will bully them.
Students of color and second-language learners are more likely to experience swift disciplinary action when they misbehave. Most students appreciate when their teachers establish safe zones by applying consequences for misbehavior fairly and privately.
Your positive learning environment can make a difference in student behavior. Students who feel safe and nurtured are less likely to engage in risky behaviors that can get them in trouble.
Your students will make plenty of mistakes in the classroom. So will you. That’s okay, as long as you learn and grow from them, just like you’d want your students to do.
Admit your errors. Show that you can recover from them. A mistake doesn’t make you a bad teacher any more than a mistake makes a child terrible. Mistakes make us human. If you can show how you overcome mistakes, you’ll be teaching a valuable lesson in humility and grace.
There’s no magic to creating a positive learning environment for your students.
It grows out of empathy and compassion. You develop these two traits one day at a time. Get to know your students by asking the right questions. Allow for ownership in class decisions. Believe that success is imminent. Keep everyone safe.
In the process of establishing your positive learning environment, be the best version of yourself.