Mastering Classroom Culture: A Simplified Approach

Classroom culture has become one of those buzz words in education lately. You know what I’m talking about, right? Those words that people through around in conversations and presentations, but don’t ever really explain what it means? But, don’t stress, I’ve got your back!

Grab a cup of coffee, or a different beverage (nudge, nudge…wink, wink 😉). There is NO judgement here! Now, let’s break it down into manageable pieces. What is classroom culture? Why you need it? How can you build it?   

What is classroom culture?

Well, classroom culture is really all about how things are done in the classroom. It’s the norms, values, and behaviors that shape the learning environment. It’s the way things are done; the way you communicate and interact with your students, as well as the relationships that help form a sense of belonging. It’s just like the culture of a society…looking at you geography teachers! 🫵🫵

Classroom culture is a blend of everything, really…everything YOU say and do as well as everything you ALLOW to be said and done in the classroom. 

Think about it like this…if your classroom had a personality, that’s your classroom culture. 

The Power of the right classroom environment

A group of middle school students happily engaged in collaborative learning activities with their teacher, fostering a positive classroom culture.

Have you ever walked into a classroom and wondered how the teacher made it look so easy? They aren’t flustered or raising their voice. The students are engaged, confident, and happy to be there. That’s probably because the teacher was intentional about creating the right classroom environment.

Then there are the other classrooms…you know, the ones where you can hear the teacher from down the hall? 😧😧😧

Those teachers are overwhelmed; trying to teach over the disruptive behaviors…actually if we are being honest, we’ve all been “those teachers” at some point. 

Teaching is not the easiest profession in the world, but a positive classroom culture can make teaching and learning easier. 

          Why is classroom culture important?

Classroom culture is so important because it has a huge impact on student learning and engagement.

When students feel like they belong in the classroom, they’re more likely to participate. When their participation is recognized and supported, they might even take more intellectual risks, put themselves out there, and be open to exploring new ideas and perspectives.

Classrooms like this provide an environment for students to grow and thrive. When middle schoolers are exposed to environments like this, it helps them to be better equipped to face challenges, and more likely to persevere when things get tough.

 

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So, how do you create a positive classroom culture?

It’s all about promoting an environment that helps students feel safe, supported, and valued. As a teacher, you can do so much more than teach the curriculum.  You have the power to influence your students’ lives, shape their attitude, and inspire them for the future. Use the strategies below to start focusing on your classroom culture today!

Relationships

The foundation of a postive classroom culture is to build authentic relationships with your students. Take time to get to know them as individuals, listen to their ideas and concerns, and show them that you care.  Ready to take action on this?  Check out these relationship building strategies.

Belonging

Encourage collaboration and teamwork. Provide lots of opportunities for students to work together and get to know each other. Model celebrating diversity and the strengths each student brings to the class. A strong community help students to feel a sense of belonging. Grab some quick community building ideas here.

S.E.L.

Social-emotional learning is a game changer for middle school students. Adolescence is much easier to navigate when communication and interpersonal skills are strong. In addition, learning to identify and react to emotions helps students manage everyday challenges.

voice & choice

Empower students by providing opportunities for them to shape the classroom culture., have their opinions heard, and have a say in how/what they learn.  When students have a sense of ownership in the classroom and their learning, they become more invested and engaged! Grab this lesson plan to guide your students through the creation of a classroom contract. 

Flexibility

Remember, we are all humans and life happens. Be flexible and understanding. Give students time and space to process and deal with life’s ups and downs, if they need to. Don’t forget to give yourself some grace too! If a lesson didn’t work out the way you wanted it to…it’ll be ok! 

Creating a postive classroom culture takes time and efforts, but it’s totally worth it! When students experience a supportive and inclusive classroom environment, it sets the stage for success and makes learning more enjoyable. And, let’s face it…teaching is more enjoyable when students are happy to be there!

 

To get continued support in building your classroom culture, comment below “I want in” and I’ll add you to the Classroom Culture Crew community!

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