7 Steps to a Positive Classroom Culture

Helping your students reach their potential is about more than providing the right lessons and assignments. Developing a positive classroom culture will go a long way toward helping your students feel comfortable in class and increasing their opportunities to learn.

Here are seven tips for improving your classroom environment.

  1. Schedule time for sharing. Having a weekly “check in” time with students, where everyone is given the opportunity share something about themselves, such as what they did over the weekend, is a good way to help them get to know each other—and you—better. Just be sure to make sharing optional, so that students never feel pressured to share if they don’t want to.
  2. Encourage students to take ownership of the class. Allow students to help decorate the classroom. Also, consider providing students with a few different options for projects, and get their feedback before you make your final assignments. Allowing them to voice their opinions will help them feel more invested in their work.
  3. Make sure students understand the real-world relevance of your subject. Communicating the real-world applications of assignments will increase student motivation and contribute to the overall positive classroom culture.
  4. Create classroom guidelines. It’s important not only to have guidelines but also to discuss them at length with your students. Post these rules someplace where students can easily see them, and remind students of them frequently. Guidelines should cover how students interact with each other, and should help students feel comfortable expressing themselves or asking questions without fear of embarrassment.
  5. Use social media as a class. Giving students something to work on as a group, such as maintaining a class Facebook page or blog, will help create a sense of community. And as a bonus, it serves as a great way to keep parents informed. For more tips on how to use social media as a class, see our Tips and Tricks: Social Media blog post.
  6. Consider incorporating flexible seating. Research has shown that flexible classroom design can improve student learning outcomes, and it’s another great way to help students feel comfortable and take ownership over their classroom. See our Tips and Tricks: Flexible Seating blog post for ideas.
  7. Show your passion for your subject matter. Students will be able to tell if you’re truly engaged with your subject matter, and if you’re not, it will affect their attitude in the classroom. Don’t be afraid to “geek out” with your students. Tell them what things thrill you about your subject, share new research or news in your field, and let them know how passionate you are about teaching them, too. Your attitude will be infectious!

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