Tuesday, 24 May, 2022
E-paper

Making Classroom Environment Safe for Learners

Masum Billah

A child needs to feel safe in the classroom for learning to take place. As teachers, it is our responsibility to provide an environment which does not trigger fear or anxiety, but helps the child feel comfortable and happy. A safe learning environment indicates free of threat of emotional or psychological harm and allows students explore difficult issues and express their views honestly. Emotional dynamics are different for each student, but there are general ways we can establish a learning climate that allows all students to participate and work with issues that are challenging to them. When a classroom lacks safety and suitable environment, it adds a level of anxiety for students that doesn’t need to be there. Students should be able to just focus on the learning that is happening, and not have to worry about navigating their time and space.

As a first step towards creating a safe learning environment, the connection a teacher establishes with his/her students plays a key role. A teacher should remind the students that they are there to help and guide them, and listen to them when they share their stories. A teacher is the   string that connects all of them together. They should know their home, living condition, their liking, disliking, what their fears are and what makes them happy. A teacher should create a sense of community in her classroom: Students should feel a sense of belonging and that of a second home in their classrooms. They should look forward to coming to their class with enthusiasm. It’s essential for students to learn to get along with and understand people from all walks of life. Each one of them may come from diverse backgrounds; have their accomplishments, failures, family problems, language barriers, and class barriers. By encouraging diversity, creating a collaborative environment, digital literacy, communication skills, and a self-learning attitude, we shape their success.

As classroom teachers, we should allow students to express their thoughts and ideas, build relationships, and practice collaboration. Remind them that trying is more important than being right. This will help grow and maintain a feeling of emotional safety in the classroom. Our attitudes, behaviour and actions towards students should be consistent. We must avoid outbursts of anger, harsh disciplinary methods, raised voices and insensitive comments as these will only alienate them. We should rely on firm instructions and kind gestures and actions to convey messages to the class instead and model positive behaviour and provide opportunities for students to demonstrate the same. We must be lavish in our praises and reward them for acts of goodness, also appreciate students for their behaviour, effort and participation in individual and group activities. Embarrassing the students in front of their peers does not necessarily mean disciplining them. They must be encouraged to treat each other with respect and use appropriate communication when in class. When students are asked to write on the board, it encourages students to be directly involved, it helps them develop a basic skill – writing so that others can read what they write, and most importantly, it will save a teacher’s work and allows her to keep her face to the students. Keeping her face to the students is important for good classroom control, especially when she is using active teaching methods that will invite students’ participation.

 Creating a classroom that is organized and characterized by mutual respect makes it a lot easier to teach effectively, and one of the most important things teachers can do to promote learning is to create classroom environments where students feel safe. The more smiles we offer to students, the more we will receive. Learning doesn't have to always be so serious, nor do we. Sometimes, when tensions are high, like during testing or when crazy things are happening around us or on campus, we need to laugh together to make the environment light. If you’re using interactive approaches such as small groups and cooperative learning, it’s especially important to create a classroom where students feel safe asking questions and contributing to discussions.

Students need to feel safe in order to learn. They need to feel secure in order to want to participate. There are a number of things teachers can do to set up classrooms that are safe and well-organized. Make it safe for students to participate and ask questions. No matter what a student says, make it a habit to respond with respect. Model respect for your students, and teach them to show respect to one another. Some schools feel like prisons, where students may not even be allowed to talk, and students may seem overly compliant. Other schools can be totally out of control. Both extremes are likely to take something away from the learning experience. Positive interaction must be encouraged to work together with other teachers and administrators of the school.

Students and teachers spend most of their school days in classrooms, so these rooms must be transformed into welcoming educational environments. They can bring life to an otherwise bland space with decorations and inspire students with innovative lesson plans. And they should be equipped with simple safety precautions that can prevent injuries to themselves and their students. Classroom safety is an essential part of school risk management. It’s where students and teachers spend most of their time. Prevention is an essential component to classroom safety, and learning to recognize potential dangers in the classroom is often the first step. With the right tools and guidance, teachers can advocate for prevention and promote a culture of safety. Whatever type and wherever you teach, the cleanliness and order of the classroom must be ensured. You must ask yourself whether the classroom is suitable for teaching learning or disorderly things, papers and dust distract the students. We must remember that the classroom must given a heavenly beauty that will definitely invite students and attract them to come to the class.

 

The writer is the Country

Director-Volunteers Association

for Bangladesh. Email:

[email protected]