Working to improve classroom climate using a ten point scale and focusing on the development of the classroom management skills of individual teachers

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The working atmosphere in the classroom is an important variable in the process of education, with several studies suggesting that classroom climate has a significant impact on student attainment.
Recent international studies have suggested that deficits in classroom climate are prevalent in many countries, pointing out that these deficits are more serious and prevalent in some systems compared to others. Attention has also been drawn to the phenomenon of ‘in-school variation’, with levels of classroom control varying not just between schools, but also, within them.
The paper describes the use of a 10 point scale for conceptualising the working atmosphere in the classroom as a continuum; between a climate which is ideally conducive to learning (level 10), to a level where learning is severely constrained by the poor behaviour of some pupils (level 1). The scale encourages teachers, student teachers, school managers and school governors to reflect on the factors influencing the working atmosphere in the classroom.
In England, there has been a tendency to see school leaders as the key to levels of classroom control (Ofsted, 2014, Wilshaw, 2014). However, this does not explain the phenomenon of ‘in-school variation’ in classroom climate. The research outlined in this paper supports Elliott’s view (2009) that the classroom management skills of individual teachers are one of the key determinants of classroom climate and good pupil behaviour, and therefore more time and effort need to go into developing this dimension of teacher authority. Working with teachers and student teachers, using the 10 point scale to develop their understanding of factors influencing classroom climate offers one way of developing teachers’ skills in this area.
Given that deficits in classroom climate and pupil behaviour are not limited to the UK, the scale may be of use and interest to those involved in teaching and teacher education in other countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2351-2360
Number of pages10
JournalCreative Education
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • behaviour
  • classroom climate
  • discipline in schools
  • action research
  • professional voice
  • teacher professional development

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