Head of English Faculty, Emma Jones, offers her advice…
A calm classroom leads to focused learning. In order to achieve this, effective teachers must ensure the classroom environment is totally student focused. Keeping resources organised, in excellent condition and readily available will encourage students to follow established routines. They will benefit from well-kept and purposeful wall displays, regularly referred to by the teacher so that they are seen as part of the learning process.
Arrangement of tables or desks is crucial and should be based on strategic planning. Class dependent, a seating plan can be useful to create a calm and positive environment. Students may be seated according to ability, personalities or learning styles and this can obviously be changed depending on the activities within the lesson.
It is important that high expectations are established and upheld every lesson. Expectations need to be consistent, regardless of subject matter. Clear rules around how to answer questions need to be established as students need to know whether they are required to put their hand up or if answers are shared in another way. It is important to create an environment that promotes the skill of listening to each other.
Students respond positively and calmly if they are welcomed at the door at the start of each lesson and directed towards an activity. The activity can either build on prior learning or introduce a new idea, engaging and promoting thought. This immediacy will encourage students to adjust from previous lessons or leisure time and focus their thoughts on the learning that will take place.
Knowing students is a powerful tool in creating the right working environment. This enables personalised learning as different classes respond differently to various routines. Using students’ names cannot be underestimated in building a rapport with a class and individual students and adds to a calm environment, built on mutual respect. Relevant lessons produce a sense of calm which in turn leads to learning and progress. Awareness of the purpose and context of what they are learning focuses students on the activities and challenges presented to them.