Giving Compass' Take:

• Gerard Dawson suggests that the foundational components of improving classroom culture are about making the students feel heard, clear communication with parents, implementing social/emotional learning, authentic learning experiences, and facilitating collaboration. 

• What are some potential barriers to creating a successful and effective classroom culture where students thrive?

• Read about how educators are fostering classroom culture around social-emotional learning practices. 

Improving classroom culture consists of concrete steps that teachers can take to ensure a better learning environment for their students. While the results may not be easy to collect data about, they can certainly be felt. Here are some of the first steps I recommend.

  • Make sure every voice is heard. When all students’ voices are consistently heard in the classroom, then teachers have the chance to push students in their speaking abilities, even using tools like cold calling to maximize participation and formatively assess the class.
  • Create a clear communication line with parents. It’s easy to fall into the day-to-day rhythm of the school year and forget that students have lives outside of the hours we spend with them each week. Opening up a solid line of communication with parents allows teachers to see a fuller picture of students’ personalities and behavior in the classroom.
  • Integrate social and emotional learning program. Encouraging grit, self-monitoring, collaboration, and other positive social and emotional skills has an exponential effect on all other activities that happen in the classroom.
  • Offer authentic learning experiences. When students get the feeling that they must “play school” by earning points and passing arbitrary assessments in a class, classroom management issues are more likely to arise. If worksheets, anthologies, and irrelevant curricular materials are the norm than both the students and the teachers will be bored. This is a toxic force in classroom culture. Boredom breeds other problems.
  • Facilitate successful collaboration. One simple shift that teachers can make when it comes to facilitating successful collaboration is to use model teaching.

Read the full article about improving classroom culture by Gerard Dawson at Getting Smart.