The World Is A Class Room
Dr Rupali Dhamdhere Principal Trinity Junior College

Effective education is not adding a program or a set of programs to a school. Rather, it is a transformation of the culture and life of school.

-David Berkowitz

I agree that education and culture go hand in hand but Peter Di Witt has put across the concept of school culture in a very apt manner.

There are people that will say,” We don’t have time for school culture, because we have so much on our plate; and my philosophy is school climate is actually the plate that everything goes on.”

-Peter Di Witt

School reopens after a break and the teacher enters the class…… what do you think should happen or happens in the classroom. There are so many eager faces, so many stories that are waiting for attention and to be heard.

It is entirely up to the teacher as to how she gets the creative juices flowing.

If she just starts with her lesson then she is very clear of the kind of classroom and students she wants.

If she gives some time and lets the stories flow she is creating a bond with the students, she is building a bridge between her and the students and is very clear of the objectives she has thought of for her students.

All this leads to something called classroom culture.

As far as I feel there is no specific definition to classroom culture, but it is an environment where students feel safe and have a feeling of acceptance. Where they feel comfortable to share about their views and feelings without being judged and teaching and learning is a two way process.

Teaching is much more than just completion of syllabus, making of lesson plans, delivery of the lesson and assessment. The environment that the teacher is teaching in is equally very important as, if she focuses just on lesson plans she creates an environment where the students would have an impression that learning is just an instruction based process so the most important piece of the jigsaw puzzle that learning can be a two-way process will go missing somewhere. The child will always seek instruction to learn something.

When there is so much emphasis given on the teaching-learning process classroom culture is the most welcoming aspect for a better foundation because it empowers the child to be a part of the learning and also he learns to take responsibility due to sense of belongingness.

There are many questions that might pop up after we have spoken about education being a two-way process…….many may be of the opinion that on-ground reality all this may not be possible….there are many constraints like time, discipline, class control, completion of the syllabus, engagement of the students, etc.

Well, all these factors fall in place once your objectives are clear, having class culture nowhere means lack of discipline as the discipline itself is teaching as it teaches kids to become students. When it comes to class control a good classroom culture will enhance the ability of the students to choose to follow instructions given which involve a lot of care and a non-judgemental attitude.

A classroom should never exist without any rules and regulations…..but the students of the classroom should be a part of making those rules as only then they will understand its importance and will abide by them taking the load off the teacher.

It may also happen that there are problems or setbacks in the classroom…..but instead of making an issue of the problem it should be tackled as a learning lesson, for example, if a rule is broken it should be taken as an opportunity to develop problem-solving skills and teamwork where they will find out a step by step solution to the problem and solve it together which results in better understanding.

The look of the classroom also impacts in a big way to the classroom culture. The teacher should take the age, subject or topic they are learning if they are working in groups the arrangement should be such that each student feels a part of the group…..the space available to the teacher in the classroom should be used to its optimum capacity.

When the environment of the classroom is suitable to the students, it is very important for the teacher to have some one on one talk with each student of her class. It gives her more insight towards the kind of acceptance the students have towards the school or the class or a particular subject, which in turn helps her to plan better and it is a learning for the teacher to make her lessons and teaching more effective.

All this along with handing out responsibility will actually get the sense of belonging and get the students to follow the rules and regulations. Making them in charge of certain jobs gives them the confidence that they are trusted and the authorities depend on them to perform certain tasks.

As we all would agree that schools contribute towards building the community, I would like to mention a beautiful quote by Patricia Gandara, “There is no better place to create a caring community than our schools….the heart of our future.”

About the Author

Dr Rupali DhamdherePrincipal, Trinity Junior College is a dedicated educational professional with more than 18 years of teaching experience covering all aspects of school operations, including teaching, counseling and special program management. She has proven her ability to create and monitor policies and practices that promote a safe learning environment, ensure a school culture that encourages continuous improvements for teachers and students. She had been part of many prestigious institutions as coordinator and is currently the Principal at Trinity junior college. Among many achievements of her recognized as top 25 women leaders in Indian education sectors 2018 also 50 top most influential Principals, Best Principal national award for contribution to Swaccha Bharat movement.

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