Building safe and supportive learning environments
Classroom management is one of the most pressing and challenging
areas of practice that beginning teachers encounter. Beginning teachers who are not supported in this area
often leave the profession out of a sense of frustration and helplessness.
As the school leader, principals are critical in helping beginning
teachers deal effectively with issues of classroom management. Principals are responsible for making sure that beginning teachers
understand school and district discipline policies and codes of conduct.
Principals must also help beginning teachers to resolve their immediate
problems and to build safe and supportive learning environments for
their students. Further, fully supporting beginning teachers requires
that principals foster a school culture that is safe and supportive of all students, faculty and staff.
The following tools will help you assist beginning teachers to create
safe and supportive learning environments. They are informed by the
belief that care and order are mutually supportive. When classrooms
are orderly, caring relationships between and among teachers and
students can flourish. At the same time, one of the most important
ways that teachers create orderly environments is through acts of
caring. Research indicates that integrating care and order is particularly
important for students who struggle academically and those who face "social
borders" due to race, language, class, gender, sexual orientation
or other types of social differences that are perceived as “non-mainstream”.
These students, particularly at the middle and secondary levels,
cooperate and achieve more with teachers who, they feel, care for their
well-being, believe in their abilities and work hard to help them
meet high expectations.
It is important to note that while classroom management issues are
often most pressing during the first year of a teacher's career,
the tools we have provided here can help teachers at all stages of
their career examine and improve their practice. Building safe and
supportive learning environments requires careful and continual attention
to changes in student behavior and attitude, classroom, school and
community dynamics, student interaction and social relationships
and student learning. It also requires that teachers create an environment
in which social and cultural differences are respected and cultivated
as resources for learning. Principals need to support veteran as
well as beginning teachers in this complex, challenging and essential
Helping beginning teachers form
positive relationships with students
Helping beginning teachers form positive relationships among students
Dealing with bullying
Sources of information on bullying