What is a positive classroom climate? 

The term 'classroom climate' refers to the way students feel in the classroom, and how they experience the atmosphere. It all comes down to the students' perceptions. One key aspect of a positive classroom climate is the sense of a strong rapport and good interpersonal relations between the instructor and students, and among students themselves. In addition, there is also a more didactic component, where the positive atmosphere is created through a strong learning environment with sound teaching methods. Research (Barr, 2016) has shown that the perception of the classroom climate influences students' motivation and degree of participation. In a positive classroom climate, students are more motivated and open to activation. This means that a positive climate has a positive impact on student learning.

How can you foster a positive classroom climate?

  • Social measures 

As an instructor, you have several opportunities to create good interpersonal relationships with your students, and among students. These are all about getting to know your students, making sure your students have a chance to get to know each other and allowing them to get to know you.

  • Didactic measures

A strong learning environment and good teaching can help create a positive atmosphere in the classroom. Some factors that can be part of a strong learning environment and thus contribute to a positive classroom climate are: encouraging activation, ensuring clarity in your learning environment and allowing students to participate in choices about the learning environment.

A positive classroom climate in online education

There's no way around it: online education involves several additional challenges. This means achieving a positive classroom climate will also be more challenging. Because of the specific nature of online education, you are less 'in touch' with your students, as there are fewer face-to-face session. That means you have fewer opportunities to pique students’ interest in your course, while students also lack a sense of community. Consequently, it's all the more important to work on a positive 'virtual classroom' climate as well. Getting to know each other and creating a group feeling is also important in online education. It also remains useful to activate students in online classes and thus contribute to a positive classroom climate.