How to Create Safe Learning Environments
A few weeks ago, a high school sophomore in South Carolina received national attention after being caught using her phone during math class. Social media was abuzz with outraged comments as the world witnessed on video a white male police officer flip the black female student in her desk and drag her to the front of the room.
People were talking about how the student is yet another black victim of police brutality. People were talking about how she is a teenage girl who was assaulted by an adult male. People were talking about how this is yet another example of the mounting racial tensions in schools across the nation.
We’d like to draw your attention to the classroom teacher. A safe learning environment requires physical, emotional, and intellectual security for students. Discover ways to create that space for students to think, grow, and learn.
Going back to Maslow, children have a strong need to feel love and belonging. Teachers can help their students form friendships with and relate to their peers. Make sure that students know one another’s names and a little about each classmate. When kids can identify with a fellow student, they’re less likely to bully him or her. They may, in fact, even create bonds, which leads to a more harmonious classroom environment.
To initiate the positive atmosphere, establish a Put-Down Free Zone. In the classroom, students cannot make statements such as ‘You’re so stupid,’ or call someone a ‘loser.’ Some teachers even institute the rule that for every ‘put-down’ given, the student who said it must give the recipient two ‘put-ups’, or compliments such as ‘You’re a good basketball player’ or ‘You gave a good presentation yesterday’.
Helping students develop positive self-images will diminish bullying as well. When kids feel good about themselves, they don’t need to lower others to raise themselves. To boost students’ self-esteem, you can alter teaching strategies and employ community-building activities. Capitalize on students’ talents. If you know that a kid with low self-esteem is creative, include an artistic component in a group assignment. Assignments can focus on collaboration rather than competition. Teachers can also help students set manageable goals, which will bring them success so that they can continue to improve and achieve.
Start with the obvious – physical safety. When not being used in the lesson, scissors, sharp objects, and any other potentially harmful substances, like mosquitoes and other small fly insects. Make sure any electrical cords are not tripping hazards and that there is a clear path to the door. Before having any plants or animals in the classroom, check for possible student allergies. Likewise, before serving any snacks, survey students or parents for food allergies and make sure any goodies are allergen-free.
Consider the furniture. Jagged wooden surfaces can cause splinters, and missing bolts on chairs or desks can cause falls or injuries. Overstuffed furniture can hold dust mites or mold. Make sure not to use any hazardous furnishings. When creating a seating chart, consider the placement of students. If you know that friction exists between two students, seat them apart.
- How to create a safety environment without mosquito threaten?
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