I’m going to talk about how to create a positive classroom environment. I’m an ESL teacher but these tips could apply basically to any situation in which you’re teaching.
How to Create a Positive Classroom Environment: Top 10 Tips
Let’s get into all the tips and tricks for creating an ideal learning environment for students. Check out these tips.
#1: Positive vs Negative Reinforcement
The first one is positive reinforcement versus negative reinforcement. I try to focus on the positive things that students are doing. Here are some examples:
- You work so well together.
- Your handwriting is so neat.
- You were really helpful to your classmate.
- I heard that you were very kind.
These things are better than don’t do that, sit down, or be quiet. The difference is obvious, right? I like to focus on the positive because it ends up creating more positivity in my classroom.
Also, be sure to check out these ESL classroom rules.
#2: Reward Systems
The next thing is a reward system. So this is a little bit tricky. I’m like what should the motivation for students be? should it be to get a little candy at the end of class or should it be to actually learn something? However, reward systems do certainly have a place in the classroom.
I often do this for children if I’m teaching them for example, over a summer or winter camp. And I give them little points for good behaviour for like a really good performance on a little activity that we did and even just for being like a very nice person. For example, picking up some trash without me asking them or just being very quiet when everyone else is kind of rowdy. They’re just sitting and waiting for class to start. I give them a point and then at the end of the week, the person with the most points would get a first ticket prize but then everybody would end up getting a prize in the end.
#3: Create Interesting Lessons
The next one is to create interesting lessons. Choose topics that students are interested in. Of course, if you’re choosing topics that students are not interested in, you will not have a positive classroom environment. People will be kind of negative and just kind of uninspired to talk about or discuss whatever the topic of the day is.
Here’s some solid advice and simple steps about how to plan a lesson for a language class for any age or level:
#4: Use a Variety of Interesting Activities
And the second part of it is to choose interesting activities. Nobody likes doing the same thing over and over, and over again. So yeah, choose a variety of activities and games to use in your class. Here are some of my favourite ideas:
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Smith, Jennifer Booker (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 134 Pages - 03/31/2016 (Publication Date)
#5: Make Expectations Clear
The next thing to create a positive classroom environment is to make your expectations very clear. If students aren’t really sure what you expect from them, how can they live up to those expectations? So set your expectations high and then enforce them. I don’t mean to enforce them in kind of like a mean, angry way but just remind students of what you expect.
Here are some examples of my expectations:
- Please put your cell phone in your pocket.
- Remember we don’t use cell phones in our class.
- Please come on time.
- You need to have your book and a pencil for each class.
- Please put your nametag on your desk.
#6: Pay Attention to the Classroom Environment
Pay attention to the physical environment in your classroom. If people are too hot or too cold or sitting next to someone they hate, they’re not going to like your class. So have a comfortable environment and do all that you can to ensure that people are interacting and talking with people that they actually like and people that they get along with because that will go a long way to creating a better environment in your class.
#7: Enlist the Troublemakers
The next tip is to enlist troublemakers. So I don’t like to give the troublemakers in my class negative attention. It just kind of feeds into it a little bit I think and then they end up doing worse things in the end if I’m always paying attention to their negative behaviour.
So instead, I get them to sit in the front row and then I’ll say, “Bob, please hand out these papers.” “Bob, can you do attendance today?” I make them my go-to person for helping me do simple tasks in class. Because then they feel like they have value in class besides just bad things. And they’ll think, “My teacher likes me and wants me to help her.”
#8: Ask for Feedback from the Students
Ask students for feedback. So this can kind of happen throughout the semester and then I also do it at the end of the semester to improve my classes in the future.
I ask students maybe just on the midterm exam or the final exam what their favourite part of the class was and what was one thing that they didn’t really like about the class and you can either do it on your exam just for no points or else I’ll just give one point as long as you answer like literally anything on that question.
Or, you can do anonymous forms and the answers have been quite interesting. It’s kind of unexpected.
Sometimes what students remember and what students liked and then things that they didn’t like is surprising to me. Some activities that I think went really well, students actually hated them. And so in that case, I wouldn’t do that again in the future. But there are some activities that I thought were not that interesting or fun and students actually remembered them and found them very helpful. Always try to improve your classes from one semester to the next!
#9: Remember that Teaching is All About Relationship
Remember that teaching is all about the relationship between people. Be there for students. Show them that you care. Listen to them. Be kind and generous whenever possible. This will go a long way toward creating an ideal learning environment.
#10: Use Current Teaching Methods
There is always a new fad when it comes to education in general and teaching languages more specifically. However, if you’re still rocking the grammar-translation approach, it’s probably not ideal for students. That fell out of favour hundreds of years ago.
These days, there are so many better approaches and methods for teaching languages including task-based learning and the communicative approach so stay up to date by doing some reading and attending conferences or workshops.
Those are my top tips for creating a positive classroom environment. Need more advice? Check out: Top 10 Tips for New Teachers.
Positive Learning Environments FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about making a positive environment in the classroom. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
How do you create a positive environment in the classroom?
To create a positive environment in the classroom, you’ll need to set expectations, use a variety of interesting topics and activities, build relationships, pay attention to the physical environment, be open to feedback, use current teaching methodology and collaborate with colleagues.
Why is a positive classroom environment important?
A positive classroom environment is important because it will motivate learners to reach their maximum potential. A stressful or chaotic environment will inhibit learning.
What kind of classroom environment is most effective?
The most effective kind of classroom environment is one in which the teacher and students work together to achieve learning goals. It’s collaborative, built on mutual respect and has clearly defined rules and expectations.
Positive Environment in Classroom Examples
Here are some examples of a positive classroom learning environment:
- Most students are on task, most of the time.
- Disruptions are minimal and handled quickly and effectively, with compassion and kindness.
- Mutual respect between teachers and students is obvious.
- The classroom is arranged effectively and is neither too hot nor too cold.
- There is a variety of interactive and engaging activities every day.
- Students enjoy coming to school.
- Students are cooperative about things like cleaning up and keeping the classroom tidy and organized.
- There is minimal downtime when moving between activities.
- There are early finisher tasks.
- Expectations are clear and are met by most students most days.
- Students are learning the material to a reasonable level of mastery.
- There are routines and the classroom is organized.
Need More Tips for Making a Good Classroom Learning Environment?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Smith, Jennifer Booker (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 72 Pages - 12/24/2015 (Publication Date)
Yes? Thought so! Then you’ll definitely want to check out this book: ESL Classroom Management Tips and Tricks. It’s the book you need if you want to take control of your classroom and have effective, engaging lessons with children.
Pick up a copy of the book today and get ready for better lessons tomorrow:
Positive Classroom Environments: Join the Conversation
Do you have any tips or tricks for making a positive environment in the classroom? Leave a comment and let us know. We’d love to hear from you!
Last update on 2023-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API