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Fostering positive classroom environments is the easiest and most valuable thing we can do for our students as educators.
Besides providing relevant connections to learning and mindful assessment practices, this matters perhaps more than anything. Why, then, must we ensure we're fostering such learning environments for our learners as much as possible?
Here are a few good reasons worth considering. First of all, a safe and positive classroom is guaranteed to be a productive one.
Second, fostering positive classroom environments lays the foundation for students to build healthy beneficial relationships.
Finally, working in a positive learning space benefits students and teachers both mentally and physically.
As a result everyone is happy and healthy, and everyone is prepared for truly authentic learning all year round.
5 Ways to Begin Fostering Positive Classroom Environments
Below are 5 of the simplest and most effective ways you can start fostering positive classroom environments. What other ways are you building safe and positive learning places for your own kids?
1. Greet Them with a Smile
Terry Heick believes that starting with a smile goes a long way toward fostering positive classroom environments. "Getting the class started with a positive message allows for an immediate message of 'I care' to resonate with students," he says. "They know from the second they enter the room that you at least are taking an interest in their lives."
2. Get Them Moving
Sitting in desks all day trying to concentrate is tough to do, so it helps to mix things up. Aside from the obvious physical benefits, sporadic activity fuels our learners' brains as well. Marwa Abdelbary tells us, "Keeping the body active promotes mental clarity by increasing blood flow to the brain, making activity vital to both learning and physical and neurological health."
3. Talk Their Language
Lina Raffaelli believes that clear communication also helps with fostering positive classroom environments for learners. This doesn't mean going out of your way to be the "cool" teacher. However, it does mean closing the communication gap by getting to know how they connect. "Use humor, tech, or other strategies to get on their level," she advises. "That extra effort will go a long way in relating to students."
4. Work on Yourself as an Educator
Part of fostering positive classroom environments is leading by example. If you show kids how important kindness is by taking every opportunity to be kind yourself, they will follow. As such, it helps to demonstrate that you are comfortable in the environment that you’ve created. Before you know it they will begin to grow more at ease themselves.
5. Celebrate Success
One of the benefits of a positive learning environment is that students begin to take pride in their work and in themselves. You can help your kids along on this goal by celebrating their achievements as they are happening. By celebrating all students you foster an open environment filled with happiness and creativity. In effect, you build the ideal learning space for their outstanding growth and progress.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Mar 22, 2018, updated Dec 16, 2021