Classroom Climate


Welcoming and Inclusive Environment

Classroom climate is fundamentally an interpersonal experience which regulates the learning experience and is established whether you are intentional about it or not. Students feel more invested in the class and their learning if they feel like they belong and are a member of a learning community that cares about them and their ideas. “In terms of college, sense of belonging refers to students’ perceived social support on campus, a feeling or sensation of connectedness, and the experience of mattering or feeling cared about, accepted, respected, valued by, and important to the campus community or others on campus such as faculty, staff, and peers (Strayhorn, 2019, p. 5)”. Social support and your actions (and the actions of students’ peers) should signal to students that they belong..

Welcoming Space inclusive pedagogy icon

The following suggestions will help you be intentional about creating the climate you desire – one that supports all students in their learning. Research indicates that students appreciate co-constructing the learning environment.

Strategies to Support Students inclusive pedagogy icon

The following are strategies you can use to support students’ sense of belonging in your course: 

  • Tell students outright that they belong.
  • Some students experience imposter syndrome. Your affirming comments and support for their learning lets them know they deserve to be in your class. Take their questions seriously. Consider if you are inadvertently sending signals that might be interpreted as a confirmation of their status as an imposter.
  • Incorporate activities that build a community of learners so that all students feel like they belong in your class.
  • Identify microaggressions and confront them. Refer to your class norms or the CSU Principles of Community as needed.
  • Be sure your content represents contributions from a wide range of backgrounds so that all students can see themselves as belonging to the discipline.
  • Do not ask individuals to speak for an entire group of people.
  • Make content accessible for all learners.

Additional Considerations for Teaching Online

While most of the information on teaching effectiveness pertains to both RI and online classrooms, following are a few key points for online courses.

Set up your online class to aid your students in being successful:

Students meet in a small group with professor to discuss final projects