Kind words make the world go round. In fact, it has been proven that an environment where safety, kindness and understanding is encouraged will enable the best learning.
Serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical is released when we carry out a kind act or do something that makes us feel good, like doing something selfless for someone, so really its a win win situation, plus it paves the way for better learning, better relationships between classmates and a better school experience.
Within a learning environment, surely anything that will create a safe place is a massive bonus.
Unsure about how to make kindness the main priority in your classroom? Have a look at these tips and tricks…
1. Make a challenge out of it
Come up with fun ways of promoting kindness daily, draw up a ‘Random Acts Of Kindness’ chart and have the children come up with ideas that will make others feel better about their day. Including them in the idea or making into a fun competition or challenge will help them associate themselves with the situation. It will help them learn for themselves that being kind is an important part of life.
Have fun with it and spend a few minutes each morning encouraging the thought process, make it anonymous or alternatively get those willing to share something nice they have done or plan to do that day.
It will set your class up for learning how to prioritise others in their own lives. You could ask for volunteers to suggest ideas if others are struggling or write ideas down on the board, make it colourful and appealing to the eye and just have fun with the idea. Maybe each child could have a box where they can put in a nice comment about another classmate. It will really boost the feel good attitude of your class and discourage unkindness.
2. Be a role model
One of the most vital ways to promote kindness in the classroom is to first be kind yourself. Take notice of each and every one of your students and make sure no one is left out in group activities. Ensure that you go out of your way to keep an eye out for any members of the class who may be struggling to fit in, school can be difficult enough without having to worry about bullying and less than pleasant classmates.
Of course not everyone can be friends and there will always be different friendship groups within the class as well as falling out, but making sure you quash out unnecessary unkindness as soon as you spot it will make sure everyone has a safe learning environment where they can feel at ease.
3. Discipline bad behaviour
This follows on from the last point, making sure you discipline bad behaviour and set a positive example will ensure that bullying will not become an all encompassing problem within your classroom.
If members of your class are not getting along and its affecting their mental health then invite them to sit down if possible and talk it out. Being the mediator and letting them both speak can often help quash misunderstandings and you can be there to make sure it doesn’t turn nasty for no reason.
Of course not everyone can get along all the time, especially in a school environment where there are all different beliefs and views, but being respectful of other people’s views is the most valuable step in being a kind person in life as well as in class. We should be celebrating the diversity of opinions, not silencing them.
4. Give a class or talk
Why not theme an assembly around being kind and nice to others. You could even link in to topics you are teaching in class. If you are teaching about a novel in English or a period in history, why not link and get your point across and make it educational as well! Use good examples of characters who are known for being kind and understanding, it will get your class to listen up and take on board what you are saying.
A little time taken out to really re-enforce the idea that being nice should be a part of life that shouldn’t even be thought about but rather done automatically, will really help your students.
Teaching them how to get their opinions across without hurling insults at each other will also set them up for growing into polite and respectful adults. Also stressing the idea that being kind does not mean to just agree with everything anyone else ever says, but instead means being mature and appropriate in a disagreement or confrontation.
At the end of the day, teaching your class to be kind is a valuable life lesson and learning it in school will make it easier for them to practice it whilst navigating through adolescence, jobs and difficult situations in the future.