Happiness should be promoted in every classroom. It is contagious and your students should feel happy to come to class every single day. You can teach your students to think optimistically in many ways.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Try having a compliment box in your class. Encourage the students to write something nice about someone on a piece of paper and put it in the box. The teacher can then read some out at the end of each day or the week.
It may be useful to survey the students at the beginning of the year or term to find out what makes them happy and what motivates them. Ask them what activities they would like to do and provide them with options, for example; computer time, class quiz at the end of the day and so on.
Encourage an ‘I Can’ attitude. Students often say things such as “I can’t do that”; when you hear an ‘I can’t’ attitude, turn it around. For example, “I don’t know fractions” can be changed into “I am learning about fractions.” This change of mindset transforms the impossible to possible and worth attempting which builds students’ confidence and self esteem.
Encourage gratitude by asking the students to write down three things they are grateful for at the end of the day. The students are then given a chance to reflect and be thankful to those that have brought something good to their lives or have acted kindly towards them. Students may write down family members, friends, teachers or a pet. They may also be thankful for their home, freedom, food, shelter and games.
Encouraging the students to be grateful, promotes the relieving of stress, fear and frustration. It is also a highly regarded quality that can be beneficial to any individuals’ life.
Put down behaviour needs to be eliminated from the classroom. Teachers need to ensure students are not putting down other students and that the teacher, intentionally or unintentionally, is also not putting down students. Put downs negatively affect self esteem and have no place in the classroom.
Relaxation techniques may help students who are feeling anxious, frustrated, angry or simply need time to settle. Asking students to close their eyes and slowly breathe in and out through their nose while listening to meditation music creates a sense of stillness and inner calm which can then lead to a positive environment, happiness and a great learning environment and mind set. Relaxation techniques should be incorporated into the daily routine in order to encourage motivation and positive attitudes.
A positive attitude is highly beneficial to students and adults alike. Negative thoughts affect students and may lead to low self esteem or even depression. Positive thinking has been linked to success in students and encourages them to perform to the best of their ability.
Students should always be encouraged to try their best and to have a go. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard teachers talk about a lesson or a test and (unintentionally) terrify the students. I believe that before giving students a test, teachers need to remind students about all the work they have completed and remind them that it is okay if they don’t know an answer, as long as they try their best.
Teachers also need to remember their attitude has an enormous impact on the atmosphere of a classroom. While everyone has their bad days, it is important that the teacher brings a positive attitude into the classroom all day, every day in order to get the best out of their students.
These simple techniques not only foster a positive learning environment, happy students and teacher, but help the students in becoming successful and happy adults.
How do you promote happiness in your classroom?
Long, J. (2000). Lecture 9: Preventing Misbehaviour [PowerPoint]. Retrieved from http://blackboard.acu.edu.au/webct/cobaltMainFrame.dowebct
Thobhani, S. (2011). Boosting Emotional Intelligence in your Classroom. Retrieved from http://www.creativeeducation.co.uk/blog/index.php/2011/05/boosting-emotional-intelligence-in-your-classroom/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Twitter&utm_campaign=Jobs