Creating a supportive learning environment

Teacher and students with hands raised

Teachers need to provide students with a safe and supportive classroom environment that facilitates active participation and engagement of all students. Here are some key ideas for making this happen.

How to create a supportive learning environment

Creating a supportive and understanding learning environment is particularly important when discussion activities deal with sensitive issues about mental health and wellbeing. To provide a safe and engaging learning environment for students, it's important for teachers to:

  • collaborate with students to develop a group agreement that sets the parameters for class discussions

  • reflect on their own role in discussions - acting as a facilitator of the conversation to help to generate many viewpoints

  • value all student contributions and make this known

  • use a range of questioning techniques which open up discussion rather than trying to get to a quick right answer

  • recognise that some students may not feel comfortable sharing

  • explore ways of dealing with this such as using think, pair, share activities

  • explore ways to ensure that all students get an opportunity to speak, such as using talk tickets.

A quick reflection

  • How can these tips be translated to your staffroom?

  • How will you share this information with your colleagues?