No Series: Creating a "Comfortable" Classroom Environment

Creating a "Comfortable" Classroom Environment

Lesson Objective: Reinforce positive expectations with specific, intentional strategies
All Grades / All Subjects / Class Culture


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. How does Mr. Van Dyck use proximity and voice control to encourage desired behaviors?
  2. What evidence do you see of a positive classroom culture?
  3. In what ways is a sense of belonging encouraged in this classroom?


  • Private message to Maria Isabel Caballero

1. Mr Van Dyck uses proximity and caring, voice control to encourage, soft vocies, stands next to students and finds solutions to encourage wrong doings.

2. The evidence that is seen of a positive classroom culture is, all the students are engaged actively participating and most important learning.

3. Mr Van Dick transmits a sense of insperation to be comfortable when the students are learning. He encourages the students  by letting them  voice out their thoughts and  opininos.

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  • Private message to Vernell Webber

1) Mr. Van Dyck use proximity and voice control to foster a sense of calmness with his students. If he maintains calmness his students will respond in a positive manner. He stated that age group is sentivity to loud noise and if you are argumentative then the response will not be positive. 

2) What evidence do I see of a positive classroom culture? The students respects each other's opinion and allow for health discussion. The teacher is fostering and encouraging open dialogue even though some of the students are slightly unconfortable. There is no judgement the teacher is walking throughout the class to promote healthy discussions. He leans over and provides encouragement when it's necessary if he realize the student is off task/behavior issues. 

3) In what ways is a sense of belonging encouraged in this classroom? Mr. Van Dyck promotes, encourages, supports, and has consistent dialogue with his students. He's visible and interact with the students asking questions on the topic and not fearing judgement. He indicated middle schoolers differently want to belong and he's created that opportunity. 

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  • Private message to Valerie Anderson

Creating a comfortable classroom environment:

Mr. Van Dyck has created a positive classroom culture, by first observing the classroom behaviors of this age group.  He understands that they are teenagers and they are experiencing different changes, emotionally, mentally and also physically.  They are very sensitive, so as a teacher you must know how to effectively create a comfortable environment for the particular age group that you are teaching. I believe you should have high expectaions for your students. All teachers should expect for their students to do well and always encourage them let them know that you believe in them.  Make it your business to build positive realtionships with your students.  You should give them lots of attention, make sure that you earnestly listen to them, hear what they are saying.  More importantly he is modeling the behavior he wants to see from the students, using appropriate and respectful language.  He also corrects them with positive reinforcement so they can learn corrective criticism.  Mr. Van Dyck is using proximity and voice control which leads to better classroom management and student engagement which inevitably will lead to a comfortable classroom environment.

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  • Private message to Brittney Maness

Mr. Van Dyck used proximity to help his students feel comfortable in his classroom. His students in the video are middle school age. He wants them to feel cared for and to know that they can talk come to him if needed. It's crucial to encourage positive behavior at this age and not harp on the negative. He believes that not raising his voice at students is very important. He says, "learning should be fun for all students." In turn, this will help them feel comfortable and open to discussion when it comes to learning content. He wants his students to feel like they "belong" in his classroom. I like the examples he discussed and feel they are all essential when creating a positive classroom environment. 

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  • Private message to Dannon Garrett

Mr. Van Dyck demonstrated a closeness in proximity to students to encourage positive classroom behaviors.  Mr. Van Dyck finds that when students are faced with a loud, argumentative authority figure that they will tend to shut down.  Therefore, he used a softer quiter voice when students were not behaving accordingly in order to elicit more of those positive behaviors.  Additionally, Mr. Van Dyck makes a point to create conversations between his students and himself and freely allow different points of view to be discussed.  In doing so, Mr. Van Dyck is creating a positive classroom culture at which point students will be free to be themselves and be free of judgement.  When students are allowed to converse respectfully with peers and express differences in opionion with out fear of being judged, that in turn creates a sense of belonging to the students.

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School Details

Buchser Middle School
1111 Bellomy Street
Santa Clara CA 95050
Population: 1044

Data Provided By:



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