How to......create a positive classroom

12th January 2007 at 00:00
I'm so bored with my room.

You need a stimulating classroom environment.

Easier said than done...

Hold this clipboard while I inspect your classroom.

Furniture - firm chairs but tables are scarred and need a clean. Move them often for different groupings. No graffiti, ever.

Sound - soften noise with curtains and cork boards. Get extra speakers for your interactive whiteboard.

Light - these strip lights are horrible. Replace with warmer lights, replace the diffusers. Use blinds against summer dazzle and warm lights for dull winter afternoons.

Ventilation - open windows and let warm air out from time to time. Adjust heating with a thermostat for your own classroom; don't rely on the whole-school settings.

Sight lines: Can you see me, you at the back there?

Sorry, I nodded off...

Keep alert! Set a variety of tasks to encourage movement. And you move around too.

Tidiness - make pupils clear, clean, sort and arrange.

Walls - use as learning walls to inform, demonstrate, prompt, inspire and showcase. Move posters round - replace them before they fade. Appoint display monitors to keep things tidy and topical; show work in progress as well as best work; project a topical slide show or screensaver.

All this in addition to teaching?

No. It's an integral part of teaching. The right environment sets the right learning message. Inspect the next dentist's waiting room you're in - does it say "we drill and fill" or "we care"?

What does your classroom say about you?

Duncan Grey is a former teacher who writes on education. His latest book First Aid Teaching is due out in the spring

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today