As teachers, we kick off the new school year, we prepare our bags of tricks to provide an engaging environment on a daily basis.
We often see signages that talk about school safety zones. But safety in the classroom is more than the physical aspects, as it should encompass the emotional stability of the students. Hence, we come to think about how an emotionally safe classroom fosters learning.
Our desire for a safe classroom should spell out nurturing the children under our care. We should take care of their emotions so that they feel comfortable in the learning environment we create for them.
As teachers, it’s our main concern to give our young learners a happy learning place so they can perform at their best and don’t feel any negativity around them.
It will not surprise us if our students behave differently. Some have emotional outbursts at times because of some underlying factors that call for our understanding as teachers. Therefore, it’s imperative that we create a safe learning environment where students feel both physically and emotionally confident.
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How an Emotionally Safe Classroom Fosters Learning? 5 Lovely Ways
Promoting the emotional well-being of the students is crucial to improving their performance in the classroom. For that, I’d like to present 5 lovely ways on how an emotionally safe classroom fosters quality student learning.
Before imparting the following ways, try to answer these questions in your mind:
- How do you treat your students in the classroom?
- What do you value as the classroom manager and facilitator of learning?
An emotionally safe classroom…
1. Makes students comfortable
Creating an appropriate learning environment for the students requires an assessment of their learning needs. They feel more comfortable if they feel your support as their teacher. If their needs are addressed accordingly, their self-belief is raised, hence, making them feel more valued and loved.
I know that studying is already overwhelming to students because they feel all kinds of pressure around them. However, if they are comfortable in the learning place, they will be motivated to study and to participate in the activities without fear of being discriminated against and humiliated.
Being comfortable means having a sense of accommodation and a sense of welcome in the classroom. This should be done in the first few weeks of classes when students and teachers are in the getting to know stage. When our students feel comfortable with us, it raises students’ self-confidence and it can make them feel good.
2. Emphasizes students’ feelings
The emotions of young learners are fragile. Hence, they have to be nurtured. We should not make them feel less about themselves by berating their capabilities. We should make them feel that they are capable of doing great things. In other words, we should consider the feelings of our students and tell them encouraging words.
In an emotionally safe classroom, the emotions of the learners are extremely considered. They work much comfortably once they feel that we can be trusted as their teacher. And gaining their trust and confidence takes time and requires practice.
The support system we establish in the classroom can make the students feel confident and will heighten their relationship with us and with their peers. If students show imperfections, they should not be scolded in front of the class. Call their attention in private and take disciplinary actions discreetly. Certainly, students should not be hurt physically or emotionally.
Furthermore, it helps if classroom rules and expectations are explained to the students right from the start so they will be guided accordingly.
3. Signifies effective behavior management strategies
I know that one of the big challenges teachers face is managing student behavior. Maintaining harmony in the classroom is essential to foster student learning.
Implementing effective behavior management strategies in the classroom is bound to give students more meaningful learning experiences. This happens in an emotionally safe classroom.
Additionally, if students are managed well, they will be more conscious of their actions, thus, they display self-discipline at all times. However, we should not buy the idea of using punishment in the classroom as part of our behavior management plan. This creates negative feelings among our students and will not make the classroom emotionally safe anymore.
I know there can be a presence of students with problematic behavior in the classroom. It’s very common. Hence, it’s vital to establish effective behavior management techniques that make students manage their own behavior thus signifying the prevention of disruptive ones.
4. Establishes respect for one another
Establishing a respectful environment is crucial to student learning as well. How well do your students get along with others? How do they interact with you and with their peers?
If there’s a need to teach your students the value of respect and its importance, then do it. I am doing it especially in the first week of classes. Usually, I involve my students in setting classroom rules so they will understand by heart how it can affect the classroom setting.
Certainly, more learning will take place if students feel emotionally safe in the classroom and are respected. If this has been established in the classroom, a positive learning environment will flourish as well. This will take work from you and your students.
A simple act of calling your students by their first names will make them feel special. Hence, it’s really important to get to know each of your learners and memorize their names. It’s also needed in giving performance assessments.
Furthermore, the more you teach your students about respect, the more students work together cooperatively. It’s highly commendable seeing students establish rapport and have a strong relationship. Hence, it’s important to solidify respect in your classroom. This happens if your classroom is made emotionally safe.
5. Builds students’ self-esteem
If students are emotionally confident in their learning environment, they will not be afraid to try and do their best. But if they feel intimidated, they will also feel negative about themselves.
Young learners must be taught about self-worth so they can do better in their individual performances. If the classroom you set for your students is emotionally safe, you are offering them a positive atmosphere for self-actualization.
One of the best ways I know to build students’ self-esteem and make them emotionally stable, is by sharing your stories of successes and achievements. Tell them your stories of overcoming your fears and insecurities. This will somehow encourage your students to do the same.
6. Model good behavior at all times
Each day in the classroom should be an opportunity for us to model kindness and patience with our students. Your attitude in the classroom makes or breaks the whole setup.
Hence, it’s important to be mindful of our attitude and how we deal with our students.
All things considered…
Students will learn the most in an emotionally safe and supportive learning environment. Of course, we should not ignore physical safety in the classroom as it should always come first, but we should work harder in nurturing the emotions of young children.
The concept of safety in the classroom is very grand. To make it simpler, we should just promote quality student learning with due consideration to their overall well-being.
When students feel safe in the classroom because the room is prepared for them and they have been treated well by the teacher, they will learn the most and develop their potential.
How do you make your students feel secure in the classroom? Have we missed any descriptions of an emotionally safe learning environment? Feel free to comment below.