Every teacher wishes to get the most out of their pupils, but many do not put the time and effort into creating the perfect learning environment in their classroom. A positive, stimulating classroom environment will maximise motivation, positivity and productivity to provide the best results.
There are five core steps which can help you to create a positive classroom environment for your students which, in turn, will provide incredible academic results.
Why is the classroom environment important?
Positive learning environments have been shown to increase productivity among students, helping to achieve better academic results and strengthen the students’ desire for learning. A positive, engaging learning environment will help your students to feel comfortable, safe and motivated, driving active participation and maximising motivation.
In the University of Salford’s recent study, it was found that the classroom environment directly affects a child’s academic progress by up to 25% over one year. This shows that a positive learning environment can truly affect the results of your students, so it’s important to dedicate some time towards creating an inviting classroom.
Five steps to create a positive classroom environment
1. Encourage Positivity
One of the first steps to creating a positive classroom environment is to remain positive yourself – positive teachers will create happy, successful students. Young children are particularly influenced by positivity and negativity, so it’s important to maintain a positive, upbeat outlook in order to boost morale within the classroom. A teacher with a negative attitude can drastically reduce their students’ motivation, leading to poor results, productivity and classroom morale.
Greeting your students with a smile each morning is a simple, easy way to get their day of learning off to a positive start and should encourage them to greet each other in the same way. Other ways to increase positivity within your classroom include:
• Setting achievable goals for your students
• Ask each student how they’re feeling
• Get each student to write a compliment down for the person next to them
• Teach them about the power of positivity
• Never lead with a negative point, especially when giving feedback
• Reinforce positive behaviour with rewards such as stickers, prizes and certificates
One of the best, most effective ways to create a truly inviting classroom is to evaluate the decor around the room. By dressing up the walls with interesting, attractive displays, you’ll increase your students’ desire for learning.
Creating a display of the best work around the classroom will ensure that your students take pride in their work. It will also demonstrate that you, their teacher, value their work and really reinforce their effort.
Alternatively, displaying a notice board on the walls can keep your students excited about upcoming events such as birthdays, holidays and school trips. Psychologists suggest that having an event to look forward to can help to alleviate any feelings of stress while creating healthy anticipation for the future.
While many classroom displays can look messy and disorganised, there are practical solutions to keep the walls looking tidy and well thought-out. Inflows have created a collection of flexible wall-mounted display boards which will help you to easily present your students’ work.
3. Get Personal
Taking the time to truly get to know your students can increase rapport and make them really want to try their best for you. There are a few steps you can take to build relationships with your students, particularly at the start of term. The tried and tested method of getting your students to take it in turns to stand up and introduce themselves not only helps you to get to know each student, but it can also help to strengthen the relationships between your students. Some other methods include:
• Learning all of their names
• Make it clear that you’re always available for one-to-one chats
• Get your students to fill out a fun survey with their likes and dislikes and learning styles
• Get to know their parents
• Observe each student in the classroom and playground to assess their personality
All of these methods will help you to really get to know each one of your students on a personal level. Children who feel truly nurtured and valued will be the most positive, motivated and successful students they can be.
4. Give each student some responsibility
Encouraging your students to take responsibility for a particular task inside the classroom will teach them an important lesson in independence and obedience. Whether they’re in charge of watering the plants inside the classroom, feeding the classroom pet or handing out worksheets, taking responsibility for a small task inside the classroom will make the student feel important, as well as teaching independent learning in the long run.
Some ideas include:
• Putting the child in charge of watering the plants in the classroom
• Feeding the class pet
• Sharpening pencils
• Door monitor
• Worksheet distributer
• Worksheet collector
• Desk inspector
• Blinds monitor
5. Set clear expectations
Finally, the last step to creating a positive, healthy classroom environment is to set clear expectations to your students. By making your students what is acceptable and what isn’t within your classroom, you’ll create a healthy, happy learning environment, as well as putting them at the centre of the learning process.
By having a set of clear expectations within your classroom, your students will be able to take responsibility for their learning and behaviour. They will know exactly what is expected of them from the minute they set foot in the classroom to the minute they leave. Equally, setting clear expectations has been proven to improve behaviour within the classroom, making your job just that little bit easier.