Monday, May 13, 2019

Positive Emotional Environments

“What are ways you create a positive emotional environment in your classroom or school?  How do you set the tone each day for connection and care? What behaviors need to be addressed that are damaging the emotional environment?”

I think having a positive learning environment is important in a classroom and when I mentioned this to my husband, he asked me to explain what that meant. He is absolutely right. If I don’t know what it is, how can I create it or set the tone for it?

To me a Positive Emotional Environment is:
1.     A safe place to learn.
2.     A safe place to make mistakes.
3.     A safe place to learn from my mistakes.
4.     A place open to constructive criticism about my work.
5.     A place where criticism will not be personal.
6.     A place of understanding when our fellow students don’t succeed at first.
7.     A place to encourage our fellow students not to give up.
8.     A place to share information freely.
9.     A place to help fellow students figure out ways to overcome obstacles.
10.  A place to cheer our fellow students when they have a victory.

I think it is important to discuss this in the first class meeting. It may take a few days (or weeks) for students to learn that these are non-negotiables. This will set the tone for each day. Once students learn that this is important and follow these guidelines, I think our classroom becomes a positive learning environment.

If a student says negative statements about another student, I stop and explain that this behavior is not acceptable. If they have constructive criticism about other students work, they may share it and give suggestions on how to make it better. I also work on modeling these behaviors for the students. When a victory occurs, I have everyone stop what they are doing and have everyone give a round of applause. I explain to them that even though the individual victory goes to the student who did the work, everyone else deserves the applause for being supportive. At first, students feel a little uncomfortable doing this but by the end of the quarter, everyone is used to this and really gets into it.

How do you encourage a positive emotional environment? Please share.

Photo by Katrina on Unsplash

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