Whether it is online or offline, many things go into making a positive working environment. It doesn’t matter whether you’re back in your classroom or are continuing the learning journey virtually. You might be spending your days looking for the best app for online teaching or scrolling through Youtube videos talking about taking the best online classes. There’s no doubt that all of us are struggling with the change, hence it is of utmost importance that we should focus on making our classes into a thriving environment for ourselves and the students.
It isn’t merely a nice idea to create a positive learning environment, rather it is a prerequisite to effective education. So, how do we go about it? Well, positive class experiences do not miraculously happen. Such experiences need to be created. The good news is that whether you teach in a classroom, or take classes online, there are some simple steps you can take to create a positive learning environment. Read on to find out about five such ways.
Get to know your students:
It might sound very trivial, but get to know your students. Start early and build a relationship with them. While you get to know the students, let them get to know you as well. Speak their lingo, and innovate your teaching strategies. For example, you can use memes to teach a concept. Also focus on addressing their needs, whether it is related to the classroom or the mental and emotional needs. When teachers focus on addressing such needs in the classroom, students tend to be happier, behavior incidents are infrequent, and student engagement and learning see a boost. It is of paramount importance to get to know your students when you teach online.
Let there be a routine:
Everyone, including your students, needs a routine and a structure. Just because you’re making your classes fun, doesn’t mean chaos should reign. It is upto the teacher to provide clear behavioral as well as academic expectations right from the beginning. The students should know what to expect and when to expect them. Also, develop a code of conduct. Let your students decide acceptable and unacceptable behaviors so it doesn’t feel enforced.
Let learning be fun and intrinsically motivated:
Learning doesn’t have to be drab and boring. For the creation of a positive learning environment, it is important that students enjoy learning. So how do you get students to enjoy learning? Well, making learning fun is one way to go about it, but another more effective way is to link learning to their intrinsic motivation. What this means is that you must make your students feel good and positive about their learning experience. Encourage them, motivate them, make them want to succeed. When students feel good about themselves, they produce positive actions, which in turn become a powerful internal motivator.
Celebrate small successes:
This is in lieu of the previously talked about point. Celebrate your students’ successes and achievements, no matter how small they might be. However, remember to celebrate such behavior and not reward it. Years of research have indicated that incentives such as stars and stickers, monetary rewards, etc only tend to undermine a student’s intrinsic motivation and lead to students doing nothing unless there’s a promised reward. So how do you celebrate student success? A celebration recognizes an achievement. It is not aimed at or promised ahead of time like a reward. You can set up a class goal, instead of individual ones. Discuss strategies and habits that students can apply to do better. Once you see improvement, celebrate that unified success. It need not be something outrageously big, but words of encouragement, recognizing effort or it can be material, like a small party or doing something besides studying for a bit.
Focus on the positives:
With times being as stressful as they are, a little understanding and help will go a long way. Identify the positive behavior that you see in individual students as well as in the class as a whole. Always respond with positivity. Positivity is one of the most powerful tools of change for establishing and maintaining a positive learning environment whether it is in your online class or your offline classroom.
By implementing even some of these tips, you will be able to create a learning environment that will allow improved academic performance and help promote students’ social and emotional wellbeing.