Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Positive Classroom Culture

Setting the tone or culture in the classroom is something we all do, whether we realize it or not.  Everything we do to set up our classroom before the students ever walk in the door impacts the culture.  As a teacher, our behavior and attitude while on this campus leads to the level of comfort students will feel when sitting in our room.
In an attempt to establish a positive classroom culture, I start by greeting all my students at the door and having their materials out for them to pick up.  I call students by name and ask relatively shallow questions about things that are relevant to their world.  When the bell rings, I immediately step into the room and begin class. I try to give everyone an opportunity to speak during class and make sure each student knows it is unacceptable to talk or laugh when another student is speaking.
These are just a few things I do everyday to establish a positive classroom culture!  What do you do?


  1. I also call each student by their name, but I also insist that they call me by my name instead of "miss". They may call me "Ms. Abshire" or "Ms. A". I also don't let them call each other "hey you" or "that guy". I don't see how a culture can exist without everyone knowing each other's names.


    Above is a great article about the differences between self-esteem and self-concept. Below are a couple of excerpts from the article:

    "Although the terms self-concept and self-esteem are often used interchangeably, they represent different but related constructs. Self-concept refers to a student’s perceptions of competence or adequacy in academic and nonacademic
    (e.g., social, behavioral, and athletic) domains and is best represented by a
    profile of self-perceptions across domains. Self-esteem is a student’s overall
    evaluation of him- or herself, including feelings of general happiness and satisfaction." (Harter, 1999).

    "The interventions for a student who is considered to have low self-concept
    should be based on an accurate assessment of the student’s deficits and targeted to the student’s individual needs. Packaged programs. Avoid packaged programs that promise to boost self-concept. They do not work. Assumptions. Do not assume that students with deficits or difficulties in academics, behavior, or other domains have low self-esteem, even if they are bullying others, receiving low grades, or showing symptoms of depression." (Maureen A. Manning 2007)

    "Teachers also can promote self-concept by fostering supportive relationships
    among students. Students’ perceptions of their classroom as a caring community
    are positively related to their academic, social, and global self-concepts (Battistich, Solomon, Kim, Watson, & Schaps, 1995). The relationship between sense of
    community and academic self-concept is particularly pronounced in high-poverty
    schools (Battistich et al.). Schoolwide interventions that develop students’
    sense of belonging, eliminate bullying, and promote prosocial values and selfdiscipline can be effective."

    I believe icebreakers is a great tool to promote self concept. In my World History class we formed into a circle and took turns sharing information about ourselves. I used a ball to pass around the circle as each individual shared. I believed the ball help calmed the nerves as each person shared. We then preceded with each person having to call someone in the group by name and toss them the ball.You could not toss the ball to someone that had already received the ball. If you failed to call the person by their correct name or the ball hit the floor, we would have start over from the beginning. Once we perfectly completed the task of calling each person by their name and successfully passing the ball around without it hitting the floor, we would conclude our icebreaker by having each individual attempt to name everyone in the circle.
    Hopefully I have created a caring environment in my classroom where my students are not afraid to fail, and promote a positive self-concept to all of my students.