How to Identify a Positive School Climate
26 SEP 2017
Positive school climates play an important role in academic achievement because they foster student learning and promote student engagement. Parents, educators and community members generally consider school climate when identifying a positive environment for their children. Consequently, there are certain climate characteristics parents, educators and community members can look for such as good social health, community support, student regulation and the ability to manage conflict.
1 Social Health
Students in positive school climates generally develop healthy peer relationships and have at least three peers they can seek for support during difficult times. When conflicts arise, students have the ability to resolve them without sacrificing friendships, and they feel safe and secure from physical aggression or bullying. In addition to peer relationships, students also have healthy relationships with their teachers, which fosters a warm and welcoming classroom environment.
2 Community Support
Teachers support one another in a positive school climate. Comparable to student relationships, teachers have co-workers they can seek for instructional resources or conflict resolution. Teachers also have support from student families who collaborate with schools to uphold expectations and values for student learning. When schools and families work together, the chances of miscommunication decrease, ultimately helping students to achieve their goals.
3 Student Regulation
Positive school climates implement strategies that help students behave appropriately to achieve their goals. Students learn to actively participate in class discussions and assignments. As students receive positive feedback and learn how to manage their own behavior, they also develop a self-efficacy, the belief that they can succeed at a task if they attempt it. Students who succeed will continue to set ambitious goals and try harder to achieve them. Positive comments from peers and teachers as well as appropriate classroom experiences can promote self-efficacy. A safe and caring learning environment increases student attachment to the school and improves their emotional and academic growth.
4 Positive Reinforcement
Teachers and administrators in a positive school climate often work to celebrate and reinforce positive behavior practices. To enhance the school climate, teachers and administrators often incorporate fun and inclusive activities that get students interested and involved. Teachers can use humor, enthusiasm and certain details of their daily lives to maintain relationships with students and parents. Educators also can celebrate cultural differences by conducting family interviews or working with students in their communities. In addition to this, administrators seek to minimize conflict, prevent bullying or harassment and promote autonomy among their students. Through the careful selection of highly qualified teachers, administrators can develop a positive social climate that fosters close relationships and creates opportunities for student growth and success.