Balancing fun and fairness: creating the best classroom environment
It is always daunting when you take on a new class each year; trying to strike the perfect balance between being a 'fun' teacher and being 'strict.'
So what's not fair? Let's start by taking a look at a short video to get an insight into what some of our children may consider to be unfair in general.
Now read on to discover our top five tips on how to create a happy and healthy learning environment amongst you and your students.
School desk layout - Children love to socialise, though of course there need to be boundaries. There has been plenty of research that explores how beneficial clustered school desks can be in creating a collaborative environment when tackling group work and projects in the classroom. However, you will want to ensure that students will listen to you during the important teaching bits. Therefore, you should experiment with seating plans, try to spot friendship groups and try divvying them up between the school desk; you're still keeping a friend or two together, but limiting chatter and encouraging cross-collaboration.
Exciting classroom plans - It's difficult as a teacher to create classroom plans that cover all the essential subjects and topics that also incorporate fun. You don't want your children to grumble every single time you tell them Maths is on the cards.
To keep the timetable fun and exciting, why not try focusing the class' attention by starting the subject with a game that's related to the topic. For example, if you're going to be teaching English, you could try playing the rhyming game for the first ten minutes, asking students one-by-one to go around the classroom thinking of a word that rhymes with the first. It's a great way to get them thinking around the topic without plunging directly into the hard subject matter.
Getting students involved - To create a fun and collaborative class environment, it's key to get students involved in as much as possible. This can take the form of encouraging debates amongst them whilst they're sat in the groups at their desks, as well as asking volunteers to help with handing out materials for the class.
Start by defining the rules - One of the first and most important parts of being able to achieve a balance between fun and fairness is to set clear boundaries from the start. Once students have had the boundaries set at the beginning, it is easy to remind them of the rules during times that they get giddy and excitable - that should help to keep the classroom exciting but controlled.
Consistency - Finally, our biggest piece of advice is to always be consistent with your students. If you want your students to be quiet when you count down from three, make sure you do this method every single time you are trying to get their attention. If you start Monday morning off with a quick-fire maths quiz, then keep it going so they understand your expectations. Children are more comfortable with routine and are less likely to get distracted, leading to a happier and healthier classroom environment.