Teacher for Learning
Climate of the Course
The social, emotional, and intellectual climate of the course and the classroom has an impact on learning. You can promote positive climate in your classroom by:
- Providing opportunities for small-group learning and interaction.
- Listening carefully.
- Offering opportunities to be heard.
- Providing an environment that makes uncertainty safe.
- Examining your assumptions.
- Being respectful and inclusive.
- Considering cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains.
These factors that promote a healthy classroom climate will vary depending on the people involved. It’s always best to establish ground rules for your class right from the outset so that the classroom climate standards are co-constructed and meaningful to the group as a whole.
What does a positive classroom climate look like online? As you will see in other modules, the Community of Inquiry is a helpful framework. Beyond just presentation of content, described as the “cognitive presence,” it is also important to balance and consider social and teaching presences.
Create an introductory activity connected to your discipline to get to know your learners. For example:
- In a human geography class you could ask every student to describe their favourite place.
- For earth science the question could be “What mineral would you be based on hardness? Why?”
- For English literature, each student could discuss what fictional character they would like to invite to dinner, and why.
- In history, ask what figure, living or dead, would be the most interesting to have at a cocktail party?
Can you think of some fun and interesting questions for your discipline?