Creating A Warm Classroom Climate and Culture: The Real Key to Every Student Succeeding

The climate of our country and our world right now is a mixture of anger and divisiveness juxtaposed with empathy and support. The classroom is often a microcosm of trends taking place within the larger national and global communities. With that being said, as I plan for the upcoming school year, fostering a nurturing and accepting classroom environment takes on a whole new level of relevance and importance for my students and me. I know enough to know that learning requires vulnerability and that part of the science of education is creating a space in which students feel safe enough to be vulnerable.  Warm classroom climates have a catch-a-fire effect and become a thriving school climate and thus, a thriving school culture.

According to the educator professional association ASCD,

School climate refers to the school’s effects on students, including teaching practices; diversity; and the relationships among administrators, teachers, parents, and students.

School culture refers to the way teachers and other staff members work together and the set of beliefs, values, and assumptions they share. A positive school climate and school culture promote students’ ability to learn.

So much energy is spent assembling standardized tests, data-driven instruction, and inclusion classes, yet we miss the mark by not first and foremost focusing on establishing a fundamental educational foundation, one that is built on mutual respect, understanding, and a sense of belonging among all members of the school community. Students are not immune to the devastation and pain that they inevitably see around them. They have bad days just like everybody else does. The classroom should ideally be an environment in which they can discover more of what makes us humans alike rather than different, and to celebrate and embrace the differences through a real understanding. Classroom conversations, field trips, special guest visitors, assemblies, and after-school family events help paint this type of educational mosaic.

Just think about it: how can administrators execute plans if their vision for their school is not supported on the district level? How can teachers cultivate young minds if they do not feel genuinely heard or connected to their administration’s vision? How can students learn and inquire if their minds are preoccupied with all of the other very real aspects of their lives that go unnoticed and unattended to by the school in which they spend so much of their time? How can parents feel a part of the school community if they do not see themselves or their cultures reflected in the school community at large? It is in the sincere answering of these and other questions that create a warm and inviting school climate and culture.

I am proposing that each teacher join me and so many other teachers across the country who are getting ready to start the new school year in considering making one small change that will establish or further develop a classroom wherein students, teachers, and everyone who walks through your doors feels a vibe of love and learning. The results, I promise you, will be well worth the effort invested in our accountability for teaching the whole child. It is my firm belief that such actions. will have the greatest impact on ensuring that every student succeeds.

What do you think?

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