Resources for Educators

Teaching Tip

From the Teacher’s Aide Newsletter

2008 Spring

Creating a Safe Space

The instructor must appropriately set the tone for honest communication through some authentic self-disclosure. Good places to start are talking about how you learned how to handle difficult ethical situations, mistakes you have made or why you are teaching this course.

Utilize exercises and learning experiences to create a safe emotional environment. Encourage learners to share things at the appropriate depth; too much or too deep a self-disclosure in the beginning of a group’s development can act as an inhibiting factor.

  • Be authentic and psychologically savvy.
  • Encourage an open atmosphere.
  • Set clear limits and boundaries
  • Incorporate experiential learning concepts and activities.
  • Maintain neutrality.
  • Keep a non-judgmental demeanor.
  • Be honest, humble and sincere.
  • Express strength of character, warmth and a caring attitude.
  • State and reinforce the concepts of classroom confidentiality.
  • Model confidentiality by keeping student’s paperwork and records in a locked cabinet.
  • Refrain from talking about a student when you can be overheard.
  • Ideally, arrange the seating so that everyone is facing each other.