Creating a Positive Classroom Climate
- Always model positive social skills such as empathy, patience, problem-solving, and effective communication.
- Ensure all students are assigned some kind of responsibility or role that make them feel a sense of belonging in the classroom environment.
- Make it clear to all students that they are valued and that any differences between them have no bearing on how they will be treated by you or others in the classroom.
- When addressing the class for misbehaving, express why what the students did upset you.
- Express optimism about each of your students’ capabilities.
- Plan relationship-building activities and games that encourage positive interactions.
- Ask students personal questions that will help you get to know them and what’s happening in their lives outside of school.
- Notice and reinforce casual positive interactions between students.
- Use self-esteem boosting activities to instill intrinsic motivation.
Students who demonstrate a growth mindset believe their abilities develop over time, tend to seek out opportunities to gain new knowledge, and do not typically shy away from challenges. Praising students for hard work, rather than intelligence, will help to foster confidence that anything can be learned with the right amount of effort. Help students focus on and value the process of learning. Example activities include:
- Sorting fixed and growth mindset statements
- Discussing the power of “yet”
- Changing fixed mindset statements to growth mindset statements
- Having students list their goals and provide steps for how they will achieve those goals
- Making a growth mindset action plan where students specify what did not work out for them, identify what they did, share how that made them feel and what they learned, decide on new strategies to try, and express how they feel now
- Discuss why it is important to have a growth mindset
Representation in the Classroom
It is common that we have students in our classroom that are learning English, speak a different language at home, or have recently moved here from a different country.
“How can we change the way we assess our students?” We can:
- provide students with books in their native language
- give students the options to write in their native language or both their native language and English
- give students the options to present their work in their native language
“How will I be able to assess the student if I am not able to understand them?” In some cases, you can:
- use a translator
- ask the student to read aloud their work in English as well if possible
In other cases:
- it is okay that you do not always understand them. Sometimes, it is enough to see that students are completing the promt presented to them. For students that are learning English, you will see a progression in their work where they are able to write, say, or read English more efficiently and more often.