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Tips of the trade: 22. Classroom environment, part 2

Pupils like to feel valued and are sensitive to their classroom environment. If your classroom looks like an airport lounge or sterile doctor's waiting room, this will affect the quality of learning and the esteem in which your pupils hold your subject.

Try to get pupils to put together displays to decorate the walls , and use these as teaching aids to enhance their status. Encourage pupils by putting positive messages on the walls. Use all available surfaces: hang mobiles from the ceiling, post a welcoming message on your door.

Put pupil work above and below the board as well as attaching some to the front of your desk. Involve the classroom furniture in lessons. Make a peaceful corner or top of a filing cabinet by introducing plants and wildlife pictures.

Displays should be replaced regularly to give them status as a dynamic learning tool. Aim to build up reference books for the pupils to use independently, and make and laminate word mats to stick on desks or around the room. This will help pupils feel comfortable in the learning space, as fear of looking foolish will sometimes stop them asking questions (it may also be seen as uncool); if they can access resources privately it can help discipline as well as learning.

Look at how other teachers' rooms are decorated. Classrooms should be dynamic and colourful places that pupils engage with.

Roy Watson-Davis is an advanced skills teacher in the London borough of Bexley.Have you any useful tips to pass on? We pay pound;50 for all tips published. Send yours to:

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