Resources for Educators
If student classroom behavior is periodically an issue for you, or if you have trouble understanding the needs and motivations of younger students, here are a few ways to frame your learning environment that can help students focus and help you get your classroom back on track.
- Invite everyone to adopt a posture of humility and gratitude at the beginning of each class. As wellness practitioners, setting an intention and focusing are essential skills. Describe and demonstrate humility and gratitude (do not assume that all your students have experienced this in their past), and ask students to start practicing these attitudes from day one.
- Create and share personal mission statements that include a commitment to classroom citizenship behavior. Share with your students why you are teaching and how it allows you to express your core values. Invite them to create their own personal mission statements. Make sure you include specific behaviors to be practiced during classroom interactions. Again, do not assume that all students are familiar with what we would consider common civility behaviors like making eye contact, dressing appropriately, or admitting mistakes without shaming/blaming.
- Confront disruptive behavior directly and compassionately. When possible, talk to the student privately after class to describe the inappropriate behavior and tell them not to do it again. If it becomes a persistent problem, you will have to confront the behavior immediately in the classroom (without emotion), to demonstrate that you are in control. This also demonstrates to other students that you intend to protect their positive learning environment.
- Ask students to do things that are hard and scary; assure there is a pathway to success. Start by giving them smaller, achievable assignments to build confidence. Allow for frequent collaboration with their classmates and offer clear feedback.
- Acknowledge your own mistakes immediately and publicly. Showing that you are human can endear you to your students and creates trust in the learning environment. The author of this reference article actually tells her students, “I am a really good teacher, but I will make mistakes. If you see one, bring it to my attention so that I can correct my errors the way I’m asking you to correct the errors you make.” I like that.
Adapted from an article by Deborah Miller Fox called Six Ways to Promote a Positive Learning Environment.