Element 2 - Classroom Culture

Why is this important?

A positive nurturing learning-centered classroom culture is key to standards-based learning. If you hope students will ask lots of questions, try new things, and take intellectual risks, you have to establish a classroom culture where exploration, failure, feedback and celebration of success are all routine. Students need to feel that "you have their back," and they need to know your expectation is that they will support and respect one another and take care of the space and materials. You want your students to know that when they are working with you, it is a good, safe place and time to learn.

You might want to start here: 

TeachThought article: "10-characteristics-of-a-highly-effective-learning-environment" by Terry Heick

Edutopia: Creating a Welcoming and Intellectually Challenging Classroom by Susie Boss 

When thinking about Amphibious Design...How can you foster active and respectful interaction whether in person or online? Do you need the same norms when teaching and learning in person and online? How will you establish routines in person that can transfer to online? How will students have ownership of the online classroom space like they do the physical classroom? Here are some ideas and approaches to consider:

See it in action:

Deeper Dives:
  • Teaching Channel's Learning to Communicate and Work Together: 6th Grade, ELA
    • Applicable to all grades
    • Focus on teaching students how to effectively participate in class discussions
    • Questions to consider:
      • Why is it important to include students in establishing criteria for group discussions?

      • What type of questions, feedback and directions are given to each group?

      • How will taking time to teach students how to work together help them learn?

      • What other connections with Community Building can we make?

  • Teaching Channel's Teaching as a Team Sport: Grades 6-12, Math, Bronx Latin School
    • Collaborating in teacher teams to advance student learning
    • Questions to consider:
      • How does Ms. Tanenbaum frame her questions about probability to her students?
      • How does Ms. Tabor use examples of student work to begin a lesson?

      • What opportunities for student participation are there in Ms.Tabor’s class?

      • What other connections with Community Building can we make?

  • Teaching Channel's Collaborating in Close Reading: AP English
    • Use close reading strategies to analyze an author's choices
    • Understand the difference between cooperative learning and collaboration
    • Questions to consider:
      • How does the "Interrupted Passages" strategy encourage deeper analysis?

      • What kinds of collaboration strategies do Mr. Olio and his students discuss?

      • How does Mr. Olio interact with his students as they work?

      • What other connections with Community Building can we make?


Teacher Centered vs Student Centered classrooms