Best Practice

Creating a climate for learning: Five steps

Creating the perfect conditions in your classroom so that students are engaged and learning is not easy. Geoff Barton offers five secrets to an effective climate for learning

We didn’t used to talk about a “climate for learning”. I think we just called it behaviour, or discipline, or keeping control. But climate for learning isn’t a bad phrase, and perhaps it tells us a bit more than we realised.

Through the various incarnations of my teaching career, I have always been fascinated by those classroom elements that are most intangible – in particular, the sense of magic when watching great teachers at work.

When I trained in Leicester all those years ago, I remember my tutor, Bryan Palin, taking the class that, by common-room consent, was deemed the toughest group in year 8. I looked on from the sidelines as he coaxed and chivvied, encouraged and cajoled, and then, with apparently effortless self-belief, looked wordlessly at the pupils and brought them to hushed order.

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