George Lucas Educational Foundation

Creating a Positive and Productive Environment in Any Classroom

Creating a Positive and Productive Environment in Any Classroom

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A positive and productive environment in a classroom will lead to positive and productive students. To achieve this goal one must have a positive relationship with the students. If students are to feel safe, the teacher should start with themselves and make sure they understand each student individually.

In order for your class to be positive, the teacher needs to lay down expectations in the beginning of the school year. If the students know what is expected of them, this will help the atmosphere of my classroom become peaceful. According to Kohlberg, his theory states, “Young children generally follow rules because of external consequences that might befall them if they do not” (Janice L. Nath, 2011). When children are younger they want to make people happy, they want people to be proud of them.

Most of the time when people think of the environment of the classroom, they think of the behavior of the students, but the environment includes the teacher. Teachers must also focus on their behavior and be very careful not to send mixed messages to students. For example; if there is a student that seems to be struggling with an assignment, a teacher could walk past this student and make them feel like the teacher knows they understand the lesson. This could cause the student to feel as though I’m not caring if they are struggling or it could make them feel as though I believe they are capable of doing the assignment on their own. Mixed messages could also go different ways if I decide to stop and help a student. I could make the student feel like I don’t believe he/she is able to complete an assignment without any assistance, or it could make the student feel grateful that I am there to assist. As a teacher, I need to understand when I am walking around and providing my assistance, it could possibly be better if I wait until the students ask me before I decide to walk over and help them.

Another way to plan on making sure the classroom has a positive environment is making sure that the students come up with the classroom rules that are fair to all the students. I understand that I should not have rules for the classroom and only apply them to one student and not apply them to another student. When one student is allowed to break the rules and not be corrected, this allows the other students in the classroom to feel there is favoritism going on in the class. This can cause conflict between students, and I also believe it could cause students to become rebellious against the teacher, because they are not feeling as though the teacher is being fair. There are times when I think rules should only apply to a certain student, but this should be handled in a private affair. This can be done though a behavior contract. According to (Janice L. Nath, 2011) at the beginning of the contract the student(s) agrees that a small number of behaviors are required for a reward, moving toward a greater number of behaviors to receive a reward. The reward must be meaningful in order to work. I must find a way to motivate the student and encourage him/her to follow the rule(s) that is being broken.

There are times when that small misbehavior should go unnoticed. There are students who like attention and may do small things, such as, tapping a pencil on a table, rustling paper, or any other small things; this is behavior that I could look over when I am presenting my lesson. The way this could be handled is by simply standing next to the student, this way the lesson is still being taught, but not bringing all the attention to what the student is doing wrong in the classroom.

Communication is the key to a successful classroom, is what I think. When there is clear communication misunderstandings are at a minimum. When presenting or reviewing a lesson in my classroom I understand that it may take some students a little longer to answer a question. I should allow the student think time in order to answer the question. If a teacher quickly moves to the next student when a student does not answer as fast as expected, this could cause the student self-esteem to become low and it could possibly make other students think little of the student also. According to Nath, research shows that if a teacher extends wait time, more children will have answers and more students will attain a deeper level of thought. Counting silently to ten or walking across the room before calling on a child may be helpful when there is an impulse of wanting to call on a student who is waving his/her hands to answer a question. Class participation is very important. I want all my students to feel comfortable enough to answer questions, without feeling like if they do not answer the question right off hand the next student could answer their question and their thoughts will not matter.

Be creative and understand that classrooms are full of individuals and there are not any one size fits all classes. Clear expectations and providing each student with their individual needs, allow time and understanding of a positive and productive classroom.


Works Cited
Janice L. Nath, M. D. (2011). Becoming an EC-6 Teacher in Texas. Linda Schreiber-Ganster.
Nath, J. L. (n.d.).

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Katie Schellenberg, JD, MA's picture
Katie Schellenberg, JD, MA
Advocate, Lawyer, Teacher and Founder of Beyond Tutoring

Great reminder of communication and expectation as essential to positive and productive classrooms. Have you ever considered letting your students create their own expectations? Has that worked for you?

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