How does a teacher create a positive classroom and school environment?

Expert Answers
mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many qualities that exist in a healthy classroom environment. The most important quality is safety. Safety can be examined through a number of different lenses. First, is the classroom physically safe? That is pretty basic for the most part. Consider the spacing of desks, computer cords, exit ways and things of that nature so as to ensure that students do not have an accident. Common sense tends to prevail when considering the physical safety of the room and school.  

Safety also can mean the classroom discipline model used. Are students safe to learn because the teacher has provided a calm and steady classroom? There are a number of classroom management models that teachers can utilize to guarantee that the room is orderly and safe for learning.  All of the models depend on the teacher communicating and enforcing classroom norms and expectations.  

When considering a safe classroom learning environment, it is also necessary to consider the emotional climate of the room. Do students feel safe and prepared to achieve? Are they comfortable to fail in the classroom? Can the student express viewpoints that are different from the teacher and the rest of the classroom? It is important that the teacher provides a caring and compassionate classroom if students are to feel safe in their academic progress in that environment.  

In addition to safety, functionality is important in establishing a strong classroom environment. The style of the teacher and their methodology will dictate how a classroom is arranged. If a teacher is comfortable with cooperative learning and collaboration in the classroom, desks should be organized to reflect that. Maybe utilize tables or arrange desks into squares or circles to achieve this. If a teacher-centered approach is preferred by the teacher, perhaps a traditional arrangement of rows and columns is utilized. If the teacher wishes to utilize technology, the proper tools must be available in the classroom.  When creating a successful classroom environment, considering the functionality that matches the teacher's goals and methods is necessary.

The most important aspect of a positive classroom environment, however, still remains the interaction and communication between students and teacher. An environment of mutual respect and understanding is necessary. This process needs to happen in the early days of the school year. An important aspect of this interaction is that expectations are clearly communicated. The communication of expectations needs to be ongoing throughout the course of the school year. Having a safe and compassionate classroom environment will ultimately dictate the level of academic achievement that your students acquire.

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