TIPS FOR SUCCESS IN THE CLASSROOM
Five Steps Toward a More Inviting Classroom
If you remember your best experiences in school, chances are some of the memories involve the classrooms in which you learned. Think about it: the rooms themselves were inviting, welcoming places that made it easy and fun to learn. Here are five simple steps that today’s teachers can use to create an ambience in which students want to learn.
Bulletin Boards. Chances are the four walls in your classroom are yours, for the most part, to do with as you please. Make use of them. Designing informative, attractive, and engaging bulletin boards can improve student attitude and make them feel welcome in the learning environment. Similarly, placing aesthetically pleasing artwork on the wall—whether posters, pictures, paintings, or even sculptures!—can draw the student in and increase his or her interest in your lesson.
Student Projects. If your budget doesn’t allow for lots of posters, borders, or other artwork, student projects are a wonderfully effective alternative. Using sheets of butcher paper as well as crayons, markers, paints, or colored pencils to do individual or group projects and then displaying them on the walls not only enhances your curriculum, but makes for a great classroom look . Think, too, about how it will raise your students’ sense of pride to see their very own artwork gracing the walls of the classroom, making them want to return again and again.
Music. The right music can make any classroom inviting and welcoming. Playing music as students enter or exit, or putting on some classical or instrumental music while they work, can make the learning environment infinitely more appealing. Music can motivate, inspire, and uplift. Make use of it to make your classroom the place to be. Caveat: Make sure the music never becomes a distraction to your curriculum and that any lyrics are classroom appropriate.
Eliminate Clutter. No one enjoys learning in a messy classroom. Taking the extra time to straighten up stray stacks of papers, shelve books, or run a dustcloth over the counters will pay you great dividends when it comes to your students’ attitude about being in the learning environment. It will improve your outlook as well when materials are easier to find, the room is more organized, and you have room and energy for some of the more enjoyable activities that you can never seem to find the time for. Your students will appreciate—and silently thank you—for creating a structured and organized space in which they can learn.
Give ‘em a Smile. Your attitude as the teacher is the single most powerful element of an inviting classroom. When students see you smile as they enter the room, when you seem genuinely glad to be there with them, and when your desire to be present with them and share your knowledge is obvious, your enthusiasm and vitality will be infectious. Consequently, your students will want to be there and they will want to learn.
Teachers have a myriad of ways at their disposal to make their classrooms warm and welcoming. Use these five easy steps, then, as a sure beginning toward better learning for all.