Establishing a Learning Climate in Class

Vignette #10



I am a student teacher in Mathematics and I am in my final year (bachelor) before graduation. At the moment I am working as a student teacher in an internship. 

I teach mathematics and arithmetic in Dutch secondary education (ages 14-15). The school where I work has a special educational concept, in which pupils are supposed to be responsible for their own learning. In this concept, after a very short classical instruction, pupils are working independently on their tasks. 

In this specific group of pupils, I have the feeling that there is no positive learning atmosphere. After the classical instruction, the majority of the group show non-task related behaviour. Pupils are talking with their neighbours, they walk through the classroom to talk, they are very laid-back or they are doing other things on their mobile of their laptops. They do a lot of things, but NOT their arithmetic that they are supposed to be doing.

I hold the opinion that as a teacher, you are responsible for the learning of pupils in your class and for their development in the subject taught. This is the main purpose of education: pupils need to learn. When pupils are not working during the lesson, they can not learn. At the end of the year they all need to pass their arithmetic assessment. I feel it is my responsibility as a teacher to prepare my pupils for that in the best possible way. And that is why I think that it is my responsibility that pupils use their time in class sufficiently.


How can I establish a task-related atmosphere (learning climate) for the pupils in this class?


  • Literature search (tool 35)
  • Conversations and feedback from mentor teacher (tool 6, 9, 10)
  • Conversations/interviews with pupils (tool 13)
  • Experiment (tool 18)
  • Classroom leadership questionnaire (tool 3 and 3a)