The Five Ws (and one H) to Cultivating a Positive Classroom Environment – Who?


Imagine a baseball game. The umpires order the teams to take their positions in lieu of the start of the game. The home team’s coach walks back into the dugout as the players realize that they do not know who is playing what position. The coach neglected to disclose this information. Sounds like

For a team to work together and for an environment to run smoothly, all people involved must be aware of their role and how it contributes to the whole. If baseball players do not know who is supposed to fill each position for a game, the baseball environment is not cohesive. In a classroom, those who are involved must be cognizant of the role they play in creating a positive classroom environment. Who contributes to the whole and how can each party have an impact?

My field placement experience has allowed me to see how the relationships between various roles influence the classroom climate, especially the way that the teachers and children interact with each other. I have observed countless days where one party’s behavior impacts the tone of the room. For example, I have seen instances where a child’s behavior has reached an out of control level and it affects the way that the teacher instructs the rest of the class. I have also witnessed days where one of the two teachers in the class was absent, so the environment was much more disorganized and loud. On the flip side, there was a time where the teacher chose to act in a much more engaging, silly way with the kids and the overall mood became increasingly light-hearted and fun. Those who play a role in the classroom environment have the power to influence the climate on a day to day basis.

“Five Half Truths About Classroom Management” discusses the level of responsibility that teachers have for what occurs in the classroom. As leaders, their classrooms can often reflect their values and beliefs. To make it even more complex, the values that teachers carry into their classrooms must intertwine with the values that come from the child and the environment that the child comes from. Since students cannot leave their true identities at the door when they enter the school building, their family influence enters the school as well. Teachers must learn to manage the varying belief systems that impact the class environment.

My field observations involving classroom climate go so beyond mere observation. It is very difficult to judge every antecedent of each behavior because there are so many factors that influence one’s behavior. Yes, teachers, students, families, along with many other entities, affect the classroom environment. However, we should not ignore the complexities that come with each of those entities. Each of these parties play a role in the class environment, but their roles run much deeper than what we see. It is not just a matter of who influences the classroom but is also the in depth identities behind each role that lead to the ultimate impact.

As I continue growing through my field placement, I want to ask myself what makes a child a child, or a teacher a teacher. Understanding who makes up the classroom and how their assets contribute to the environment will lead me to be more successful at cultivating a positive classroom environment. Who are the types of people that made your school experience more enjoyable?