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Five Essentials for Creating a Positive Classroom

Establishing a positive environment within your classroom is not something that will happen straight away. As you adjust various aspects of your classroom, you will start to notice slow changes beginning to have their effect on your students and the quality of your teaching. This often involves trial and error and the slight adjustment of your reaction to a situation. This article will highlight five tips to help you to start making small changes to your classroom routine that may create a more optimistic classroom setting.

1. Self discipline. It is essential that you learn to control your emotions and anger and you will find controlling your class a lot easier. Practice disciplining your emotions, body language, facial expressions and tone of voice, as well as your choice of words. Let students who cause disruptions have a bit of 'wiggle room' to avoid any further physical or emotional confrontation.

2. Stop taking things personally. Whenever a student displays a bad attitude or behavior or uses foul language, remember that it is completely unrelated to you and that it is not directed at you. When you master taking yourself out of the equation, you will find it a lot easier to be less judgmental and see things from both points of view. You will also be more able to recognize when a student is distressed. All of these will make the situation a lot less threatening and easier to solve.

3. Adopt humor instead of sarcasm. The ability to laugh at yourself will show to your students that you are human and will help them to feel more comfortable around you. If you sense a situation developing that is potentially "harmful" or "difficult", then you may find that a small dose of humor will help to diffuse the tension. On the other hand, sarcasm encourages any existing tension and can often make situations more difficult. It can also cause hurt to your students. However, something you may have learned already is that your students will be far more adept and quick at sarcasm than you are, so it may be a wise idea to try and banish it from your classroom permanently.

4. Keep things simple. Establish ground rules from the very beginning of the semester and make it very clear to your class. Tell the students that keeping and abiding by the rules will enhance their personal development both personally and in their school life. A few simple posted where they can be reinforced affirmatively and have the most effect will make any uncomfortable situations more impersonal and more readily acceptable. Stick a list of your simple rules up in your classroom where everyone can see it. Any general school rules should also be up there too. Everyone now and then, review these rules, especially if you feel trouble brewing. Make sure that these rules are worked into your daily lesson plans.

5. Convey confidence, expertise and genuine interest in what your students and fellow teachers are saying. Even if you don't feel confident, fake it and you will be surprised at how well people believe it. If you need more help or advice in establishing a positive classroom, there are many teaching resources available online for you to consult.

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