Surveys reveal that a percentage of middle and high school students these days experience bullying. Some of the reasons are often race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or other factors of their social identity. Cyberbullying or some sort of online harassment is also another major issue that hits all grade levels.
As a teacher, how do you create emotional safety in your classroom in such a manner that students also feel safe to be themselves? These things affect a student’s health, learning, and academic performance. The fight-or-flight response is triggered when they feel threatened which has a negative impact on physical health, and brain development.
What is emotional safety?
How secure a kid feels in expressing their emotions in class is referred to as emotional safety in schools. As they express themselves and take on challenges that motivate them to try something new, they should feel secure and confident.
If you go around classrooms, you’ll be intrigued by the many methods that instructors begin the new academic year as well as by the manner that they “manage their rooms” on a daily basis. Let me share some of what teachers highly recommend to make your classroom a secure, open, and welcoming environment for learning.
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How Do You Create Emotional Safety in Your Classroom
1) Build a Classroom Community
Building community includes techniques and exercises that encourage students to communicate their ideas, express freely, form relationships, and practice teamwork. Incorporating it along with your regular lessons can support the upkeep of emotional safety.
Holding weekly meetings with your class is a quick, fun, and effective approach to fostering a sense of community. The meeting can be used to discuss how well the class is meeting its goals, or if the rules are being observed. Teachers can pick students to raise a specific question about the classroom, share a memorable moment from the previous week, or anything else that can initiate conversations and discussions.
2) Post Students’ Work
Display projects, essays, poetry, and other pieces of accomplishment on the walls. Doing so not only boosts morale as they see their own writing and ideas but also feel more worthwhile than store-bought posters. When you need instructional posters or educational postings, ask your class to make them.
As they express themselves, it also helps them take on challenges that motivate them to try something new. Your class will uncover truths and insights about classmates along with learning experiences just by looking and thinking of their work on display. By making social and emotional learning (SEL) a priority in the classroom, it is possible to create emotionally secure learning environments.
3) Read with Your Students
Reading-based activities help students regulate and understand their emotions. When you read to your pupils, it also conveys the idea that you too enjoy spending time with them. Reading fosters imagination and empathy as it helps learners feel and think through books. Numerous works cover a wide range of issues, challenges, and answers.
When children explore picture books with adults, they get the opportunity to name sentiments they may not have yet recognized in themselves. Children can learn to recognize emotions by seeing the facial expressions and body language of fictional characters. By normalizing their sentiments, this technique can assist youngsters in learning to identify these emotions in themselves when they manifest in day-to-day situations.
4) Deal with Resentments Early On
Address unfavorable situations early to give you a clearer view of any tensions or negative energy brewing with groups or between students. Share, listen, and check. Students also will learn how to listen to one another as they discuss their problems and understand each other’s reasons.
Making and maintaining friends requires the ability to solve problems and resolve conflicts. Young people who are taught problem-solving skills are more likely to express their feelings, self-regulate, and exhibit less impulsive conduct and violence. This fosters calmness, empathy, sincerity, patience, understanding, and self-awareness.
5) Model Vulnerability
If you want your students to be open to you about difficult times, be prepared to let down your guard to show the shortcomings and struggles that require you to keep growing. A potent technique for connection is to freely discuss challenges in class while acknowledging your vulnerabilities as a teacher.
You also need to model your own apology like“I’m sorry for the way I spoke to some of you the other day.” “I didn’t really give you an opportunity to explain, and that is not being courteous or polite. Please forgive me.”
Remember, a strong dose of emotional vulnerability is necessary for classrooms to promote social awareness. Once students learn to self-manage, they can bring the skills beyond the classroom. Your goal is to ensure that your class feels emotionally safe by being included, accepted, and heard at school.
6) Smile Often and Laugh with Your Students
Do you see to it that your students are having fun while learning? Are you at ease in a lively, engaged classroom? If this is the case, you harness the emotional benefits of a smile and laugh.
This reduces physical and mental stress, enhances attention to task, focuses on students’ strengths, and boosts their motivation to try new things and take risks. You actually don’t have to take learning so seriously all the time. Sharing a smile freely with every student as well as laughing together occasionally promotes emotional stability in the classroom.
7) Give Students a Chance to Problem Solve on Their Own
When learners find solutions and ideas, they develop problem-solving skills that encourage them to believe in their ability to think outside of the box. It also gives them the freedom to select activities based on their interests.
There are several opportunities for problem-solving that can prepare students to face complex interpersonal problems. The moment they rely on autonomous, creative thinking, it strengthens their sense of independence and ultimately prepares them for life.
The 21st-century problems require both theoretical knowledge as well as physiological strength to secure emotions in the classroom. Students need to think out of the box to find suitable solutions for new and upcoming challenges. Eliminating significant barriers requires attending to their emotional needs. Additionally, it entails assisting students in acquiring the emotional competencies required for success both inside and outside of the classroom.
Do you have something to add to the list? It would be great if you could leave them in the comments.