In order for learning to take place in the classroom, students must feel safe. They must feel a sense of belonging. Research has shown that when students feel psychological safety, it has a positive impact on their learning and optimizes their interaction in the classroom. This is part of building classroom community. One way I do this is by taking the time out to let my students share positive “bucket fillers” to their classmates and recite positive affirmations. I am a firm believer that thinking positive thoughts will reap positive outcomes.
In a threatening, or unsafe environment, students are more focused on protecting themselves from humiliating situations than on actual learning. My goal is to optimize learning by building a safe environment for my students. I want to have deeper discussions and see more participation in the classroom. I want my students to feel confident in not only themselves, but also confident in the fact that they will not be ridiculed by their classmates. When we trust one another to be kind, we are more free to share out thoughts and take more risks.
For this reason, we express bucket fillers and give shout-outs or compliments to our friends. Then, we recite our affirmations to build inner confidence and start our day with a positive mind. Last, we finish off with a few minutes of mindful meditation to calm down and re-center before beginning our academic lessons.
Below are the affirmations we recite: