EducationWorld is pleased to present this administrator resource shared by Linda Dusenbury, Ph.D., a researcher and expert in evidence-based prevention strategies designed to promote student competencies and motivation, and to create safe and nurturing classrooms and schools.
These tips are based in part on "Best Practices in Classroom Management," a training DVD that Dr. Dusenbury helped develop.
Creating a classroom that is organized and that is characterized by mutual respect makes it a lot easier to teach effectively, and one of the most important things teachers can do to promote learning is to create classroom environments where students feel safe. If you’re using interactive approaches such as small groups and cooperative learning, it’s especially important to create a classroom where students feel safe asking questions and contributing to discussions.
Students need to feel safe in order to learn. They need to feel secure in order to want to participate. There are a number of things teachers can do to set up classrooms that feel safe and well-organized. Here are some tips:
It is also important to think about the environment of the school, beyond the classroom. When you stand in the hallway or cafeteria, what do you see? What do you hear? Some schools feel like prisons, where students may not even be allowed to talk, and students may seem overly compliant. Other schools can be totally out of control. Both extremes are likely to take something away from the learning experience. Work together with other teachers and administrators to encourage positive interaction among students. If you want students to be interactive and engaged in your class, what happens at school after they leave your class also matters.
Some schools have given a lot of attention to what happens in all areas of the building, working hard to make sure students are always well supervised by adults. They may taken additional measures to cut down on fights by improving traffic flow through the hallways by staggering the times classes dismiss, or removing obstacles such as trash cans.
Be conscious of the environment in your school and classroom. When you create a climate of safety and respect, learning will follow.
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