Have you ever thought why classroom management where learning can actually happen is so essential?
In her article on the value of safe learning environments, Lora Desautels, Ph.D., reminds us that during adolescence, the part of the brain that controls emotional responses—the amygdala—develops faster than other centers of the brain while the prefrontal cortex, a center for logical thought and rational response, develops later. Thus, our students are more effectively wired for emotion than logic. Their systems are primed to react to situations with feelings and they have not yet fully developed the ability to apply logical thinking to keep those feelings in check. It follows that the stimuli within and surrounding the learning environment can have great effects on these emotional responses and can serve to either support or impair the learning process.
So what can we as educators do to bring down the levels of stress in our classrooms and make sure that our learning environments are safe places where optimal learning can take place? How can we create spaces that keep the emotional responses as positive and free of stress and anxiety as possible so that we can most effectively engage fresh young minds? Rebecca Alber has a wonderful list of twenty tips to create a safe learning environment. Check them out:
1. Community Build All Year Long.
2. Post Student Work.
3. Have Non-Negotiables.
4. Admit When You Don't Know.
5. Read with Your Students.
6. Remain Calm at All Times.
7. Take Every Opportunity to Model Kindness.
9. Address Grudges Early On.
10. Write with Your Students.
11. Model Vulnerability.
12. Follow Through with Consequences.
13. Smile Often.
14. Use Every Opportunity to Model Patience.
15. Give Kids a Chance to Problem Solve on Their Own.
16. Laugh with your Students.
17. Offer Options.
18. Keep the Vibes Good.
19. Sit with Your Students.
20. Art and Music Feed the Soul.
For more information on each tip go to: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/20-tips-create-safe-
learning-environment-rebecca-alber. I highly recommend reading it in full!