Element 5: Teachers create and maintain safe and challenging learning environments through the use of classroom management skills.
Standard: 5.1.1 Demonstrate a variety of strategies to develop rapport with all students.
“Teachers who foster positive relationships with their students create classroom environments more conducive to learning and meet students’ developmental, emotional and academic needs” (Karns, 1994).
Teaching inside the classroom is more than lecturing and pouring information into students’ heads. As teachers, we need to connect with our students, earn their trust, show we are interested in their lives and in them as people. I believe a strong relationship with students is vital for classroom success so it is worth while spending time and energy to get it right. In my second year of Practicum placement and being assigned to Stage 3, instead of jumping right into instruction I ensured I spent my entire first week taking the time to just getting to know the students. This was also an ample opportunity to explicitly teach my own set of classroom expectations.
Karns (1994) states, “The more we know about the child the more we can build learning environments and curriculums that are going to work for them,” (p. 34). In knowing I had to plan for lessons that needed to be of benefit in all aspects, I required a foundation of what the students enjoyed to ensure that my lessons would be of interest. By daily playing a simple fun game with the class covertly provided me with the research into who and what the students were all about and how to approach the class as a whole.
A game that was used to build a good teacher-student relationship was called “Getting to know you Bingo” where in the boxes on the cards had queries that were completed by finding someone in the room who has that experience or knowledge. I joined in and made sure I asked some content-related questions to learn a little about what the students knew about natural resources, recreational activities, music and cultural awareness. Whoever completed the card first won a prize. I quickly noticed that Stage 3 was a very competitive bunch and it was great to see the effort the children put in.
It is believed that, “If a student feels a personal connection to a teacher then the student is likely to become more trustful of that teacher, show more engagement in the academic content presented and display better classroom behaviour” (Rimm-Kaufman, 2011). By using a simple ‘break the ice’ game allowed for the better comprehension of Stage 3s interests outside of the classroom. In analyzing the bingo cards later assisted in a better understanding of the background of the students as it helped with programming for lessons to include their needs.
Work sample of student in Stage 3 Getting to know you Bingo
This evidence was selected to show professional documentation that demonstrates my ability to display equitable amounts of time and engagment with students and to exhibit a caring attitude in showing interest in my students, ultimately fostering positive teacher-student relationships. This standard is ticked evident by my colleague teacher during and on completion of practicum placement showing my compentency in creating a safe and challenging learning environment.
Education World- Icebreakers Volume 5: All-About-You Activities for the First Days of School is a fantastic wesbite resource that has presented a new wave of ‘getting to know you ideas’ for those first days of school. Click on the link to view 19 new ideas to help develop a classroom camaraderie during the opening days of school.