NEW SCHOOL YEAR: TIPS AND ACTIVITIES TO PROMOTE A GOOD CLASSROOM ATMOSPHERE

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In particular, the change of the academic order is a challenging step, because there are many expectations and fears related to the new and the unknown.

In September, students embark on a nine-month journey. To tackle it you need: a good equipment, a detailed map of the road to follow to reach the goal and, not insignificantly, good adventure companions!

The class is the main learning environment within our school system. Creating a good climate when returning to the classroom means working on three relationships: between classmates, between teachers & students (as well as between teachers themselves) and, equally important, the relationship with the study and in general with scholastic commitment. The perception that students have of being in the classroom with different teachers and the shared values ​​within it can influence their motivation and their commitment. In order for the class to become a group, it is essential to share a goal , recognize its role and consider it capable of achieving it .

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD CLASS CLIMATE
It is important to bear in minds that the dynamics of a group arise from opposing forces that balance each other in a necessary and stimulating tension . It is therefore necessary to be able to give importance to various factors: the shared rules, the positive image of the group, communication, activities, contents. Before adhering to the rules of behavior necessary to work together, students must feel that this is their class, develop a sense of belonging.

To have a good climate when returning to the classroom it is therefore important that there are:

Clarity : the teacher’s expectations regarding the learning and behavior of students in the classroom must be high (rather than minimal) and clearly shared with the whole class group; the clarity of the aims of each lesson is necessary, both with respect to the broader program of the relative disciplines, and to the aims and objectives of the school.
Participation : intended as a concrete possibility for all students to play an important role during the lessons, through discussion, questions, work on material prepared by the teacher and other similar activities.
Support: encouraging commitment and attention to emotional aspects to motivate students to try new things and learn from mistakes.
Interest: the class as a stimulating place, rich in solicitations for learning but also without interruptions and sources of disturbance.
Environment : on the one hand, comfortable, well-organized, clean and attractive physical places; on the other hand, a non-noisy social environment, respectful of differences, fair in evaluations, safe and non-violent.

TO GET BACK TO CLASS ON THE RIGHT FOOT …
Here are some suggestions for activities for teachers who will be taking first-class first and second-level secondary schools in September.

1 Treasure hunt : it is an activity that allows students to know not only their own class, the objects and the people “guarded” in it, but also the other spaces of the school. Playing in small teams can facilitate the acquaintance between the companions. The treasure? Books or other educational material that will remain available to the whole class.

2 ” The rules of the class … to each his own “: in order for each student to take direct responsibility for life in the classroom and for the management of internal regulations, certain rules can be agreed together. Once established (through the circle time methodology), we are divided into small groups, each of which becomes the “guardian” of a rule and defines the attitudes to be taken to respect it and the sanctions to be applied for those who do not observe it. It is important to foresee various moments during the year in which, in group and with the whole class, the actual application and the possible revision of the rules is verified.

3 Ciak- you turn! Collaboration and mutual respect are not born spontaneously: a way to feed them is the realization of dramatization activities that allow active participation also to pupils with greater learning difficulties. You can stage topics that are being addressed in the various disciplines or assign roles and themes on which to make the kids improvise. Immediately after the performances, the public and the actors can share their feelings respecting the rule of avoiding making judgments to others and always remaining on their own experience: “It seemed to me”, “I heard”, “I liked it”.