Positive Classroom Climate
Key items for establishing a good classroom climate are;
To be Purposed and Task Orientated
A business like classroom maintains the glow and focus of the lesson, whilst ensuring that all parties know what actions are needed via the clear and concise initial exposition. Opportunities for learning should be presented well, as these provide a high emotional risk. Positive encouragement should be forthcoming within the environment to help compensate for this.
To be Relaxed, Warm and Supportive
The relaxed nature within the classroom comes from the existing positive relationship that exists between teacher and students. Warmth, in tern, is shown by the care you give to the class, through actions and nonverbal communication. To support students you should encourage students to do everything in their power to meet the demands. Ensuring that students are only helped after a suitable amount of independent time has passed.
To have Order
Order is gained by establishing a rules orientated lesson, including meeting the students at the classroom door to ensure orderly entry. Order can be maintained by ensuring appropriate thought has been given to the lesson planning and that the presentation is relevant enough to keep the student’s interest.
Intrinsic Motivation – From the pupils curiosity and questioning nature to learn. T his type of motivation is best when using a choice of task, as this will ensure active involvement and participation. Cooperation is developed by seeking and utilising feedback on the learning activity or task.
Extrinsic Motivation – From the reward of completing task, due to either short or long-term rewards. This motivation in built from linking the effort that student puts in to the resulting success. Balance should be given to the rewards, for risk of alienating unsuccessful students.
Expectations of Success – Based on how likely the student feels that they are to succeed. If the task is too difficult they wont attempt it, through risk of failing. Challenging tasks should be used, but with a realistic chance of success or completion. The explanation of the task should be complete, so that students have all the tools that they need to carry out the task, giving ownership of the task to the student. A teachers expectation can be used show their confidence in the student, giving encouragement should there be any miss-steps in the path.
Mutual Respect and Rapport
Respect is shown when teachers action demonstrate competence, care and effectiveness during the lessons. Rapport come from genuine interest in individual students and empathy with their perspectives. Both are linked to the students pastoral care.
Respect can also be show by setting a good example, such as ensuring neat work on the board when demanding neat work from the students.
Sometimes humour can be used within the classroom, however it is important to ensure that no students are going to become upset at this. Humour is best used sparingly an at ones own expense, it can be a great aid in developing rapport. It can be also good at defusing situations and reassuring students.
Improving Student Self-esteem
Along with subject content, teachers also need to be aware of students pastoral needs. This is often referred to the ‘hidden’ curriculum and includes experiences and feelings. To develop self-esteem teachers should try to shift the emphasis of success, in a similar manner of providing support when students are struggling. Another key aspect is to ensure that students aren’t compared to one another.
This awareness of ‘person’ is often referred to as a humanistic approach to teaching, considering the personal growth of the whole student, rather than just their subject related items. Student teachers often enter with this approach and find it very difficult to sustain the ideal further into teaching.
This includes feedback on student work encouraging involvement and increasing self-esteem. Body language also is a key aspect of communication, ensuring that the content of the vocal message and tone or body language match is key to encouraging students. Rephrasing or refocusing feedback from a negative aspect to a piece of advice helps with supportive responses.
Classroom appearance can give a great deal of support to students, a generally neat and tidy environment is one way of showing that the teacher cares about the student and creates positive expectations. Displays of student work can convey to students that their teacher has pride in their work, thus encourages the students.
The layout of the classroom can help with deciding on the general learning activities, as more open classroom can encourage whole class discussion whilst a grouped table layout can be more conducive to group work. Establishing a standard or average teaching style can save time, as rearranging the room is not required.
Teacher self presentation can also have a large impact on pupils, showing that care and attention is given to presentation can encourage student presentation. Appropriate dress in relation to the establishment demonstrates the respect for the school, from the teacher. This can be helpful when dealing with behaviour issues related to dress. Ensuring that you, as a teacher, are prepared for the lesson is also a means of setting a good example to the students.
Composition of the Class
The classroom climate can also be effected by the students within it, for example classes can be set, mixed ability or streamed. Setting and streaming are different options to separate students by ability. Setting is dependant on the subject, for example having science sets and mixed other lessons. Streaming is where the students are taught all lessons within the same ability range.
Both of these can have a negative impact on students in the lower groupings, as they have negative expectations of their own ability. Mixed ability shows that all students are cared for equally, and also helps with administration within the timetable. Learning activities can and should depend highly on how the class is set up.