Sunday, May 29, 2005
The teachers power to create a learning climate
Creating conditions for growth.
It is the climate that conditions how organisms develop. In the school situation it is the culture of the school – ‘how things are done around here’ that influences the behaviors of both students and teachers! Some cultures are anti growth while others bring the best out in everyone. In a positive school culture all classrooms are aligned behind shared beliefs and all teachers speak a common language. In a negative culture schools can be compared to a number of sole charges with a shared car park!
One of the great educators of our time Haim Ginott summed up the powerful influence that the individual teachers have on children:
‘It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather…I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humour, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.'
The principal holds similar power in creating the climate of a school. If teachers and principals empower students and teachers then their behaviors flow from this belief. Our actions influence others behaviors. We are influenced by the people around us all the time. We need to be aware of our power and act accordingly.
Good questions to ask students are
1 What do adults do to help you learn at school?
2 What do adults do to put you off learning at your school?
3 What do other students do to help you learn?
4 What do other students do to put you off learning?
The answers to these questions will help teachers and students create positive learning climates – most of all it will make teachers aware of their part in creating the climate in their room.