How to…create a happier classroom!

by | Nov 8, 2021

It’s a well-known fact that people are happy when they’re in a happy and comfortable environment. The same applies to students in a classroom, and the evidence shows that happier children work better, have less time off school, receive higher grades and are generally more successful! So, as a teacher, it’s not surprising that you strive to create a happy place for your student. If you’re looking for more ideas to make your students smile, this is the blog for you! Here are 6 ways to create a happier classroom.

1. A Sense of Belonging

Individuals who have a strong sense of belonging are happier, according to new research. So, why not try these ideas to make your students feel safe, secure and connected.
  • Welcome your students with a smile!
  • Invest time in knowing your students, and make time to have a chat with them individually.
  • Encourage discussion and ensure they know to come to you with any problem and that you will be actively involved in the resolution.
  • Hold open house discussions where your students can voice their opinion on anything.
  • Choose a classroom goal that everyone can work together to achieve. Collective goals help to build inclusivity and encourage teamwork to build a strong tribe.

2. Praise and Recognition

Studies have shown that encouraging learners through positive reinforcement increases their confidence, self-esteem and their happiness levels. When children receive positive feedback, their brain sends a message to their body to say, ‘Woo-hoo!’ and they feel great.

By paying attention to complimenting the behaviour, not the child, we can also support a growth mindset and a sense of self-efficacy. (Professor Carol Dweck of Stanford University) Studies have consistently shown that children with a strong sense of self-efficacy are more confident and have higher levels of intrinsic happiness. Smiles all around!

3. Three Good Things

The Three Good Things is a scientifically proven, powerful, and effective positive mindset exercise to increase our happiness levels. This happiness-boosting exercise comes from positive psychology and is a simple but fantastic way to rewire any negativity that your students might be feeling.

After all, it’s scientifically impossible to feel negative if you are feeling grateful. So, at the end of each day, get your students to write down three things that went well for them. Then, give them time to share with the rest of the class or the person sitting next to them. When repeated, this behaviour has a long-term effect on overall happiness.

4. Shared Gratitude

Gratitude makes you happier! Following on from ‘Three Good Things’ – why not encourage the students to complement each other or express gratitude for something someone else has done for them that day.

It’s great to give a few examples first and then ask the students to share any compliments or gratitude with the rest of the class. Then, create a gratitude wall to remind everyone how many things we can be grateful for!

5. Reset and Reboot

Research shows that students learn most effectively when they can rest their brains throughout the school day. Conversely, when a brain is stressed, it can lead to feelings of sadness and anxiety. To help create an environment where children can learn happily, include moments of stillness or reflection in the class.
Some ideas include:

  • Meditation
  • Time to socialise with their peers
  • Physical activities (stretching or moving their bodies)

6. Get Moving

One of the best things we can do to boost our mental health is to move our bodies! Studies show that when children engage in regular physical activity, this increases happiness and supports positive mental well-being.  So, now is the time to get their bums off the classroom chairs onto the playground!

Studies also show that exercise also boosts brainpower, giving kids what they need to thrive academically. What a win-win!

Ideas to get your classroom moving:

  • The Daily Mile encourages jogging or running a mile every day
  • Star jumps
  • Dancing to their favourite song
  • Running around the playground
  • LifeWise lessons include physical challenges to get their blood pumping!
We hope that we’ve given you a few new ideas to create or build on your existing classroom happiness! If you think we’ve missed any ideas, please let us know,  we’d love to expand our tips with other real-life case studies.
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