Pathways to Cultivate a Healthy Classroom Climate

Tihmily Li, Communications Officer
We were very excited to welcome Jennifer Gonzalez from Cult of Pedagogy to speak about ways that teachers can help cultivate a healthy classroom climate. Jennifer’s research has found that the emotional climate of a classroom can have a significant impact on students’ academic performance and motivation. It was great to gain expert advice on how to build, maintain and improve the emotional state of a classroom. 

Jennifer gave our staff five pathways to use in their teaching strategies in order to cultivate a healthier classroom climate. These five tips include:
  • Starts with You: Teachers should pay attention to what they bring into the classroom. This can mean examining their own biases, being open to feedback, modelling proper behaviour and being available to connect.
  • Build Strong Bonds: Form connections with students to build a safe, supportive environment. Teachers can encourage this with low-risk icebreakers, dialogue journals, forms of validation, participation in school life and in the school community and fun classroom moments. 
  • Create Academic Safety: In academically safe classrooms,students are more willing to ask questions, seek help and take risks. Creating more opportunities to allow students to voice their thoughts and questions while rephrasing vocabulary can make a space feel more academically safe.
  • Include All Students: The more welcome a student feels in the classroom, the more likely they are to participate and thrive. Staff can cultivate a classroom environment that encourages belonging with more diversified material, inclusive language, accessibility and awareness about issues facing different groups of people.
  • Refine Your Space: The classroom setup is also an important factor in making a more comfortable space to learn. This can involve assessing seating arrangements that can allow for concentration or collaboration as needed and making sure that decorations don’t make a room too “visually busy”. 

Thank you again to Jennifer for presenting her expertise on this matter! During the teacher PD session on March 8, staff participated in a follow-up session in which they discussed key takeaways from Jennifer's presentation and how they will implement these "next steps" into their classroom practice.
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