By Teachers, For Teachers
You can tell a lot about a classroom just by stepping inside. Ask anyone that enters your room what atmosphere permeates the space. Within a matter of seconds, they will be able to tell you. If you were to walk into your classroom as a stranger, what kind of environment would you see? Does it look safe and welcoming, or is it intimidating? Is it a place where students are free to roam and share and collaborate with others, or is a place that is rigid and defined by discipline? Does it feel homey and have pictures and paintings on the walls, or is a place that is bare? You need to think about the kind of classroom management culture that you create. You have the power to use classroom management to create a space that is conducive to what you want to instill and develop in your students. Here are a few classroom management tips on how to create your own culture.
The first question that you have to ask yourself, is “What do I want my students to develop, or what do I want to instill in my students?” Once you think about the skills, behaviors, actions, etc., then you can choose your activities, lessons, and the way students will interact with one another based around that.
Teachers who choose a more student-driven classroom culture will create a space where students collaborate, share, and make their own choices. Teachers who demand that their students work independently will be establishing a culture that is teacher-driven and regimented. The downside to a teacher-led classroom is that the students will lack some development of social skills. The upside to this approach is that the classroom will be more obedient.
Teachers who plan for an open-concept classroom put an emphasis on allowing the students to join in on the learning process. They act as a facilitator rather than a leader. Teachers who want to take a more hands-off approach may act as the delegator or a guide and create their classroom culture by observing and actively involving the students in their own learning process. Whichever way that you choose, the choice is yours to make.
The way that you structure your lessons and the way that you structure your overall classroom both play a part in how your classroom culture will be perceived. If your lessons are student-driven, the desks are arranged in groups where students can collaborate with their peers, and the walls are filled with students’ artwork and projects, then it will affect the way your classroom culture is. If your classroom walls are bare, the desks are in traditional rows, and the students are silently working, then you will have structured your classroom in way that is regimented and teacher-driven. Every choice that you make affects your classroom structure. From the questions that you ask to the lessons that you choose, to the way that you develop your routines and procedures, all affect your classroom structure.
How do you interact with your students? Do you take the time to get to know them, or do you just think of them as just another number in your classroom? The connection that you make with your students will determine the kind of classroom culture that you have as well. If you take the time to really get to know your students on a deeper level then just another numbered head, then you will be showing the students that they are cared for and loved. When you take an avid interest in your students, you are showing them that you care for how they learn. If you are a teacher who treats her students with respect, kindness, and value, then you will have created a classroom culture that is loving and encouraging. However, if you do not take the time to make a connection with your students, then you are showing them that you do not value them, and that they are just another student in your class.
Once you are aware of all of the elements -- the way you structure your lessons and activities, your classroom setup, the way you engage with student and how they will engage with others -- will all affect your classroom culture. The best way to figure out how you want your classroom culture is by thinking about what you hold dear to your heart. Think about what you value the most and what your teaching style is. Once you know that, then you will be able to create a classroom that not only suits your students’ needs, but your needs as well.
Do you have any classroom management tips on how to create a culture? Please share your tips and suggestions in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say about this topic
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Skyword. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.