Why School Culture Starts In The Classroom

Building a positive school culture is important, and should be right at the top of your to-do list. A school’s culture can affect everyone, from students and teachers to other staff members – and even the wider community. Not only does it improve students’ learning, but it improves morale throughout the school. If you want to create a positive school culture, it starts in the classroom.

Why school culture matters

School culture is essential for any place of learning looking to create an environment in which students feel safe, respected and valued. This way, students develop a sense of belonging, and form better relationships with their peers as well as their teachers. If everyone works together to support each other’s growth and well-being, then this fosters a sense of community. Students who are valued are more likely to be engaged in their learning, and more motivated to succeed, which in turn leads to better academic outcomes, and improves students’ chances of success after graduating. Thanks to a positive school culture, students are often high-achievers, and have a much lower chance of dropping out of education.

This can also benefit teachers and staff – if they feel appreciated and supported, they’re more likely to be motivated and passionate about their work, which will lead to higher job satisfaction for staff and lower rates of burnout. Ultimately, it helps to create a more productive and fulfilling environment for everyone involved in the education process. However, you can’t just instantly create a positive school culture – it takes time and hard work, and the best place to start is in the classroom. By making it as safe and welcoming as possible for students in their classroom, teachers can lay the foundations for a positive culture elsewhere. If done right, a feeling of belonging will soon permeate the entire school.

How can teachers encourage this?

There are many ways in which teachers can establish a positive culture in their classroom, and these don’t just revolve around making students feel welcome. Teachers should also strive to promote learning, collaboration, and mutual respect among all of their students. A positive culture helps students to connect not just with their teacher and each other, but with their education, too. 

By encouraging collaboration and teamwork among their students, either through projects or other group activities, teachers foster a sense of community. If teachers celebrate their students’ successes, no matter if they’re big or small – this builds up confidence among their students. At the same time, though, they should promote a growth mindset, encouraging their students to see mistakes as opportunities for learning – this encourages students to be more resilient and willing to take risks. Simple techniques like asking students more questions enable teachers to build positive relationships with students, or having a weekly check-in with them creates a sense of structure. All of these techniques – and others implemented in every classroom help improve the experience for both students and teachers.

Our school culture

At all of the Aldenham Education Group’s schools, we aspire to create a safe and welcome atmosphere for every one of our students. As well as supporting our students in every way, we encourage a sense of community. It’s not just our students’ educational achievements that are important to us, but their sense of wellbeing, and the positive culture in our classrooms is how we achieve that. At Aldenham UK, an Independent Schools Inspectorate report stated that, ‘A very strong sense of community exists and pupils show kindness to each other.’

Outside of the classroom, we host concerts and drama performances – these, along with sports clubs and teams to create a sense of community at our schools. We even continued to foster this community spirit over the course of the pandemic. As well as ensuring our students kept on learning with online teaching, we ensured that tutor groups still had regular video conference meetings to catch up with their teachers and classmates. We also hosted online extracurricular activities for the students, including virtual trips and competitions. 

A positive school culture helps in all kinds of ways, from motivating children to improving their mental wellbeing, and giving them a strong sense of community. It allows schools to create a safe, supportive environment, and in the classroom, teachers are able to establish expectations for their students, build relationships, and encourage collaboration. At Aldenham, this culture exists both in and out of the classroom, and by doing this, we’ve worked to create a more productive and inclusive learning environment for all. Find out more about how we’ve expanded our culture to the wider community on our website – and don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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