How To Make Your Classroom A Safe Haven For Your Students
It is important to foster a learning environment in which students feel safe, relaxed, and willing to take risks, especially for learners who may have had negative experiences in traditional classroom environments. Students often describe supportive learning environments as expanding their sense of family and enhancing their self-esteem, which, when combined with increased literacy skills, help students take more chances in pursuing their goals.
Build a strong classroom community
The adult education classroom can play an important role in helping students build stronger and larger networks. Classrooms provide students and staff with friendship, skills, and contacts beyond their immediate communities. Intentionally building networks in the classroom can create meaningful, supportive relationships among students and teachers.
- Use pair work, as well as small-group and whole-class activities, beginning the first day of class to help students get acquainted, and provide ongoing opportunities for students to form connections with students they don’t interact with as frequently in the classroom.
- Provide students with opportunities to share about their backgrounds and cultures.
Seek to connect students with the greater community, through field trips, current events discussions, bringing guest speakers, etc.
Build self-esteem and self-efficacy
Students’ determination and belief that they can achieve their goals are important factors in their persistence in ongoing learning. Adult learners may have negative feelings about themselves due to failure experienced in their lives, due to dropping out of school, losing a job, or not being able to read or write well enough to complete a job application or read to their children .
- Ensure that students experience success at their first meeting so the first experience is a positive one. It may be appropriate to start with material that is slightly below the student’s level.
- Be patient! Patience is an extremely important characteristic for any teacher or tutor of adults. Adults can often take a longer time in the learning process because of various learning barriers, but this does not mean they aren’t motivated to learn.
- Accept your student as he/she is and respect his/her values even if they differ from yours.
- Believe in your student and he/she will begin to believe in him/herself.
- Memorize the names of all your students within the first week of instruction. Use students’ names frequently.
- If your students are English learners, learn a few key phrases in their native languages to model that it is acceptable to struggle with pronunciation and language learning.
Build a clean learning environment
Clean schools enable districts to have more funds available for educational resources.People often overlook the implications of a dirty school in terms of the cost to the school district. Those 5.3 days a year teachers are absent cost schools more than $25 billion annually, with an additional $4 billion spent on substitute teachers. If a school is properly cleaned, total absences decrease and much of that $29 billion can be used for educational purposes.
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