katyclouds

Your Career• 3 Min read

21st September 2021

7 Little Changes That’ll Make A Big Difference In Your Classroom

One of the first big jobs a teacher has is to create an inviting and inspiring classroom for their pupils to learn in. In Primary, this classroom will form the base for the majority of your pupil’s learning, so you’ll need to ensure that there’s a wide variety of seating options and areas to complete different activities. In Secondary, classrooms are used differently – you may have a dedicated classroom to teach your subject but in many schools, teachers move around during the timetable. Here are some ideas for small changes you can make to any teaching environment:


Focus On Mental Health

Mental Health is a huge issue in schools. From teachers struggling with the pandemic-induced workload to pupils craving social contact, the last 2 years had a serious impact on the mental health of everyone in the school community. Many schools are coming up with exciting ways to offer mental health support to their pupils and make talking about Mental Health an ongoing process.  Displays themed around a positive mindset and wellness strategies offer pupils a chance to take in information in their own time. Some s – these could be teachers or even schools have appointed ‘Wellness Warriors’ to liase with pupils on mental health issues – these could be teachers or older pupils!


Create Engaging Displays

Pupils spend most of their day looking at the same four walls, but those walls make excellent passive teaching aides that help students to remember important information. Creating displays of their own work is one way to keep topics and recent learning in their mind, or have interactive displays with areas to fill in or velcro tags to change for when activities are finishing. For more ideas, try our Beginner’s Guide To Classroom Decorating


Declutter

A tidy environment aids concentration and makes changing activities easier. When we asked teachers what their most treasured item in their teaching toolkit was, the top answer was a label maker (by a landslide!). Putting some time into labelling and sorting your classroom supplies will pay dividends – invest in cheap storage for stuff that you bring to the classroom and make a note of how many of each item you have.


Let In The Light

In UK schools, most classrooms have plenty of large windows, but many teachers leave blinds down and rely on electric lighting – to avoid distractions from outside the classroom or bright light casting strong shadows over desks. Make your classroom as bright and airy as possible – ensuing you open blinds (and windows, if its warm enough!) after tasks that need less light such as watching videos or working on computers.  Natural light boosts Vitamin D and serotonin production which makes for a happier environment overall.


Bring Life To Your Space

As well as purifying the air, plants can spark interest in your pupils and watching them grow can be an exciting learning process, especially for younger pupils or in Science lessons.  Ensure all plants are non-toxic and teach your pupils how to look after them – from creating a watering schedule to observing new growth, there are lots of potential learning opportunities on offer including cell division, biodiversity and reproduction. Find out more about the exciting benefits of plants in classrooms in this detailed piece on TES.


Rearrange Things

Now that teachers have full freedom to arrange their classrooms again, it’s a great time to experiment with a new seating arrangement. Breathe new life into your lessons by giving pupils variety in their view and deskmates. Varying your seating arrangements creates new opportunities for both collaborative work and social connections –  There’s a bunch of ideas here you can try

Regular changes to your classroom layout (if allowed – check your school’s policy or with your mentor before making major changes!) will keep things feeling fresh, for you and your pupils – and don’t forget, if something doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to try another way, different layouts will work for different age groups and classes.


Create Spaces

In even the smallest classroom it’s possible to create sectioned areas for different types of activities. Creating a quiet zone with a bookshelf and a beanbag is a low-cost way to provide pupils with a cosy reading spot. In Primary, pupils will appreciate a den which you can use as part of your reward system. There are lots of ideas for reading areas that won’t take long to set up on Pinterest. (Don’t forget to follow us there too!) and for older pupils a marked out Quiet Area can act as a safe haven for those who struggle with overstimulation or who need a time out.

We hope you like these easy ideas for making small, positive changes to your classroom. Your classroom is a work in progress, and over the course of your career, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t for your own teaching style and the pupils that you teach. We’d love to see your classrooms – come and share a pic with us on Twitter.

Ready To Make Some Changes?

Irish teachers are in high demand in the UK - find a role to expand your career:

EXPLORE VACANCIES

Recommended for you

Sign up to the Engage newsletter for education insights.
IrelandEnglishUSACanadaAustraliaUnited Arabic EmiratesSouth Africa