Creating a Safe and Caring Classroom Environment

Classroom meetings are an avenue created by the classroom teacher to create a safe and respectful learning environment. Creating this environment of mutual respect between the teacher and the students is essential to developing a positive classroom community. Wood (1992) believes that developing this type of classroom community also affords the students the opportunity to live their lives as productive citizens in the outside world.

Classroom meetings help support and promote a warm atmosphere where ideas are shared and concerns are resolved (Olweus, 1993). In conjunction with supporting a warm, safe environment, classroom meetings build and enhance the following (Flerx, Limber, Mullin, Riese, Snyder, & Olweus, 2009):

1.) Creation of a positive classroom environment.

2.) Students’ ability to identify and appropriately articulate feelings.

3.) Development of positive peer relationships among students.

4.) Promotion and appreciation of differences among students.

5.) Students’ acquisition of active listening skills.

6.) Increased sense of community among teachers and students.

Graduate students will study the history of classroom meetings and their importance to school culture through class discussion, case studies, inquiry-based learning, primary source analysis, and scholarly research. We will examine classroom meetings as it applies to students, families, and educators. This course will require that students apply critical inquiry into classroom meetings. Case studies and practical application of program specifications will be utilized in the study of this course.