Building a positive classroom culture is a prerequisite for effective teaching. Classroom can have a positive as well as negative culture and relationships. A successful teaching and learning takes place only in an optimist classroom where the relationship is positive. For creating a positive classroom culture, we should use the tools of praise, appreciation and encouragement for students. We should teach optimism to students. Optimism brings confidence and encouragement to students. It is a belief that setbacks are normal and that it can be overcome through positive thinking and positive efforts. Students are vulnerable to a number of school or classroom related stress that leads to pessimism. This makes them prone to depression. Therefore, it is very important for us to teach optimism to our students so that they would be able to combat their depression and negative thinking. For developing optimism in students, Attribution theory plays an important role. Attribution develops motivation of students. Attribution theory is concerned with the ways in which people explain (or attribute) the behaviour of others. It explores how individuals “attribute” causes to events and how the cognitive perception affects their motivation. The attribution, persuasion, and reinforcement statements are the positive statements that rely on praising and encouraging students rather than ordering and scolding them. This increases the motivation of students. Students perceive their self-concept or self-image as attributed by others. Therefore, a positive attribution has to be conveyed to students.
Discipline-maintenance is essential for peaceful classroom environment. Discipline can be maintained best through love and logic where we need to replace punishments through empathy. We should use enforceable statements, for e.g. instead of “Please sit down, I am going to start”, we should use “I’ll begin as soon as you are seated”. Enforceable statements help in controlling classroom discipline though love and logic. Enforceable statements give students the opportunity to think when choices are an option. It helps teachers to keep from looking foolish when students will not do what is said. It makes students less likely to resist when some control is shared.
Delayed or ‘Anticipatory’ consequence is important for creating positive classroom culture. In real world classrooms, we, while teaching, are forced to react immediately on a violation of expected behaviour from students. Immediate consequences typically create more problems than they solve. Delayed consequences allow for individualization of consequences that helps in giving time to everyone to return to a calm state. It helps in establishing positive relationships between teacher and students.
Power-struggle is something very important to avoid for creating positive culture and relationships in classrooms. There should be a shared control in classroom because all human beings have a need for control. We should share control with students by providing them choices and decision-making power. When we provide choices to them, it gives opportunities to make mistakes and learn from the consequences. It creates situations in which students are forced to think and gives them opportunity to hear that we trust their thinking abilities. Some examples of the choices are “Would you rather have homework due Monday or Tuesday?” or “Would you like to edit your own paper or need a partner to do it?” On contrary, this choice can be turn into threat that spoils classroom culture and relationships “Would you rather turn in your homework or go to the principal’s office?” We should never reason with the students because reasoning turns into a power struggle and students get demotivated. There should be no use of sarcasm by teachers. Thinking words should be used rather than fighting words.
Students should always be encouraged to solve their own problems whereas a teacher should guide them to solve their problems through empathy, power message, choices, ownership of problem and encouragement. Showing empathy tells students that we really care for them. Sending a power message gives ownership of problem to the students. Offering choices gives guidance and having students respond make them take responsibility. Giving encouragement tells them that we have faith in them and it builds self-confidence.
A successful teaching-learning process takes place in a classroom having a positive culture and healthy relationship between teacher and students. The strategies for great classroom management will definitely help teachers in successfully managing classroom creating a positive classroom culture where the students experience the joy of learning rather than threats, coercion and sarcasms.
Powerpoint presentation on classroom management