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Classroom Environment Resources

Having a healthy and positive classroom climate is one of the most important ways to prevent the occurrence of problem behavior.  Published research establishes that environmental factors have the strongest direct relationship with positive student outcomes. In particularly, a number of critical classroom environment features have been linked to positive outcomes for students.   Published findings suggest that supportive teacher behaviors (e.g., caring helpfulness, quality of interactions, listening, trust, etc.) and classroom conditions (e.g., clear expectations and routines, high quality instruction, frequent praise, etc.) are more important than any other predictor of performance (e.g., Bond et al.; Dubow et al.; Leithwood, Wahlstrom & Anderson; Malecki & Demaray; Roeser et al.; Schochet, Dadds, Ham & Montague; Solomon et al.).

 

The critical features of an effective classroom environment include:

 

Further  Reading:

Reinke W.M., Herman, K.C, Stormont, M. (2012).  Classroom-level positive behavior supports in schools implementing SW-PBIS:  Identifying areas for enhancement.  Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 15(1), 39-50.DOI: 10.1177/1098300712459079http://jpbi.sagepub.com

 

Supporting and Responding to Behavior:  Evidence-Based Classroom Strategies for Teachers.

 

Teerlink, E., Caldarella, P., Anderson, D.H., Richardson, M.J., & Guzman, E.G.  Addressing problem behavior at Recess using peer praise notes.  Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 1-12. October 29, 2016.   DOI: 10.1177/1098300716675733. http://jpbi.sagepub.com

 

Simonsen, B., Freeman, R., Goodman,  S., Mitchell,  B., Swain-Bradway, J.,  Flannery,  B., Sugai, g.,   George, H. & Putman, B. (2015).Supporting and Responding to Behavior:  Evidence-Based Classroom Strategies for Teachers. U.S. Office of Special Education Programs.


Considerations for Class Environment

Tools and Resources

Reflect on class climate features.  The Classroom Environment Checklist can be a helpful tool to support ongoing reflections of the extent to which class climate features are in place.
Build cooperation and rapport. Intentional building of rapport is one of the most important things a teacher can do.  Students respond well to adults to who demonstrate they are familiar with their personal interests and strengths.
Use high quality cooperative group and center-based learning.  Cooperative groups and center-based learning are a great way for students to explore content, learn and practice the information.  Additionally, cooperative groups and center-based learning create the opportunity to develop important social and problem solving skills.  Consider the suggestions provided to maximize cooperative group and center based learning. 
Plan for transitions and staggered endings. Transitions are a frequent predictor of problem behavior.  Establishing some simple and consistent procedures to guide transitions will maximize time available for learning.
Keep students highly engaged.  When students are highly engaged in learning, they are less likely to engage in problem behavior.  Consider these strategies for engaging students in the learning process.
Maximize the role of paraprofessionals in the classroom.  Paraprofessionals offer an opportunity to support the range of student needs in the classroom.  They play an important role in supporting students with unique learning needs.  Communication, cooperative planning and clearly defined roles are critical to an effective working relationship among multiple adults in a classroom.  Consider the strategies offered for maximizing the role of paraprofessionals in your classroom.
Have procedures for redirecting unwanted behaviors.  The occurrence of problem behavior in the classroom can be a challenging experience for teachers. Consistently employing effective redirection techniques can circumvent escalation of the situation.  The redirection protocol provides step by step guidance for managing conduct infractions in the classroom.