Building a positive school culture

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

A huge part of student management is setting the tone and the culture of the learning environment. This sets expectations and provides positive examples to the students on how to behave. Focus should always be placed on pro-active strategies to student management. The better primed students are to show good behaviour, the less intervention needs to be done, and a better time is had by all.

These are the big ideas that help build a positive school culture:

Restorative teaching style

  • High expectations

  • Positive, caring and supportive relationships

  • Mutual respect

  • Effective classroom management strategies

  • Sense of hope and optimism

  • Students feeling a sense of safety and competence

  • High level of work quality

  • High job satisfaction

  • Positive classroom atmosphere

Utilising 3 coherent messages

  • Limit the messages to ensure retention and clarity

  • Classroom rules and expectations need to be summarised into 3 main points

Requests lead to greater cooperation

  • Asking students to do little tasks gives them responsibility and allows them to feel a sense of belonging

  • Always phrase these questions as requests and not demands

  • This gives students a choice and a sense of ownership over their actions

Proximal prompts

  • Constant reminders of what good behaviour looks like and what good attitude looks like

  • These prompts can be verbal or visual

Model desired behaviours (hyper-dignity)

  • Exaggerate the desired behaviours to ensure that students understand the expectations

  • Always use 'please' and 'thank you'

  • Greetings are important as well as they show respect for another person

Offer solutions to fears (rejection, isolation, abandonment)

  • This allows students to feel safe and secure in your classroom

  • This offsets the fear of failure and allows students to reach further

Sources: Partly adapted from and McCold & Wachtel, 2000

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