This is the second part in a series called “Rediscover the Wonder of Your Classroom”. You can read the first part of the series here.
The classroom is a magical place. It’s a place where knowledge is created, a place where concepts are explored and a place where questions are provoked. The classroom is also a dynamic place, which grows and develops around the needs of the students.
Two tips to keep your classrooms full of energy and life were covered last week. Here are three more:
3. Provide a safety net to make mistakes and discover new solutions.
Classroom dynamics are not only determined by the space, but also by the attitudes and expectations of the teacher and the students. One thing I am passionate about is making my classroom a safe place where students can experiment with ideas, ask any questions and try things out without the fear of failure or judgment. Mistakes are a part of life and classrooms need to be places in which students feel comfortable and confident to try and solve problems even if they might get it wrong. In my opinion, making mistakes and learning from your mistakes is not encouraged enough in schools. Championing students who take a risk for a positive outcome is one of the best things you can do as a teacher.
4. Enrich their lives and their learning experience.
Your students should leave your classroom – whether at the end of the day, at the end of the term, or at the end of year – feeling inspired and encouraged to be their best. In many of the schools that I have worked in, the classroom is sometimes the most stable and encouraging place in a child’s life. Your classroom should represent a place where children are encouraged to be themselves, try new things, challenge their thinking and be their best. I find laughter and personal encouragement are vital to making the classroom an enriching place.
5. Cater to many learning styles.
Howard Gardiner (1983), the famous educational researcher, identified at least eight “types of intelligences”. If you have been living in a cave and you are not familiar with his work, you need to be! He argues that each child is gifted in a type or a variety of intelligences. When setting up your classroom you must ensure that every intelligence is catered for. For example, the special learners need to have content that stimulates spatial judgment and the ability to visualize with the mind’s eye. When designing your classroom and your teaching program, make sure that each of these intelligences are equally catered for so that all students are engaged.
Never underestimate the difference your class can make in a student’s life. For many children, the classroom may be the only place of refuge and encouragement they have. We owe it to our students to provide them with an engaging environment, which challenges and inspires them.
- What do you do in your classroom to make it an engaging and fun space?
- What will you change this term to make it even better?