Pérez, C., & Asensi, C. (2021). Cómo crear un clima de aula positivo. Actividades y técnicas de intervención. [How to create a positive classroom environment. Intervention activities and techniques] (Fran J. García-García).
Pérez, C., & Asensi, C. (2021).
Cómo crear un clima de aula positivo. Actividades y técnicas de intervención.
[How to create a positive classroom environment. Intervention activities and techniques].
Desclée de Brower. 211 pp.
From nursery and primary school to the highest levels of the education system, it is essential that students feel safe and comfortable. How students feel in the classroom determines the way in which they develop social bonds with their classmates and teachers. Teachers must therefore know how to organise the classroom, helping to create and maintain an environment which favours the school community and daily learning. In fact, research shows that the classroom environment has an influence on learning environments, therefore affecting the perception of students and teachers, their interactions, their emotions, the sense of belonging to the educational community of a school and other factors which are important for academic success.
Despite the benefits of having a positive classroom environment, there has been a growing concern in recent years to obtain a good school community. It is true that complicated situations at school are nothing new, but lately we have managed to draw more attention to bullying, disrespect for classmates and teachers, certain irresponsible behaviour or damage to equipment and facilities. These types of problems related to community have a negative effect on pupils, who end up having difficulties in establishing and developing interpersonal relationships. It is therefore necessary to know how to create and maintain a positive classroom environment. Not just that, but also how to make this environment reach the whole educational community of a school. The book Cómo crear un clima de aula positivo [How to create a positive classroom environment] reveals how this can be achieved based on a wide range of intervention activities and techniques.
Something that makes this book valu-able is that it was written at home during the months of lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This forced break, which suddenly appeared in the middle of the fast pace imposed on us by modern life, allowed a married couple who are teachers to stop and read, think, compile materials and take their time to write about the most relevant points of the experiences built up throughout their careers at all levels of compulsory education.
There are, of course, more books on the market about school community which deal with the classroom environment, but this one is special. It is not common to find material published by authors who share techniques that have continued to work for them for a long time, and even less so when this experience has often been reconsidered at home, beyond the professional environment. I believe that the best way to assess the book is to think about who wrote it and why they decided to do so.
Throughout his career of 40 years, Cruz Pérez Pérez has given classes at all levels of the education system, from nursery education right up to doctorates. The aforementioned has worked as a primary school teacher, secondary school teacher, in school psychopedagogy services and as a lecturer in the Educational Theory Department of the University of Valencia. Carolina Asensi Cros has worked for 37 years as a primary school teacher, always showing an interest in educational innovation and experimentation of new learning models in the classroom. The aforementioned has consequently received three prizes for educational innovation from the Generalitat Valenciana throughout her career.
The book begins by explaining the type of educational environments that help students to develop attitudes and behaviours which are positive for learning. Initially, it was considered that teachers were the only people responsible for generating and maintaining this classroom environment, but with the educational paradigm focused on learning, students also started playing their part. This involved teachers establishing ways for everyone to express themselves and get involved in building the community classroom environment. Chapter 3 is therefore devoted to the learning of democratic norms, which must be laid down by consensus and with guidance from the teacher.
From Chapter 4, the authors start to set out a range of techniques for various levels of education and even for different situations. The reader will find activities for nursery classrooms, where the youngest pupils set their own rules, and also for organising group communities in primary or secondary education. The material includes techniques to help teachers coordinate with each other and better control the learning environment of students, particularly from the stages when children start to depend less and less on their teacher.
When the community classroom rules are laid down clearly and precisely, children and adolescents have a reference which helps them to know how they must behave and students rarely have to be punished for seriously breaking these rules. However, sometimes there are groups in which the sense of community is a lot worse and this ends up making students feel less comfortable, therefore having a negative effect on their learning process. Chapter 9 is exclusively devoted to offering ways to deal with these situations in which it is more difficult to create a positive community environment. Here the authors propose a model which calls for strict control of the learning and community environment, at least as a starting point, until the situation improves.
There are also activities for the home environment, as well as for primary schools or high schools. Mums and dads will find material in Chapter 10 useful to develop a democratic parenting style, and teachers will be able to get interesting ideas in order to guide families in this respect. Afterwards, there are two chapters which are mainly devoted to conflict resolution in schools. One of these chapters looks for positive ways to solve problems in the classroom and the other provides school mediation techniques for any conflicts which have an effect on the community, even outside class.
The book ends with a final chapter on the assessment of the community environment. The aim of this chapter is to keep track of the classroom environment in order to ensure it remains positive. The section starts by clarifying how and why a diagnosis of the current situation of the classroom must be made, and it then sets out several assessment tools. Ultimately, what makes it possible to maintain a situation which is suitable for getting on and learning in class is the perspective that we end up reaching with appropriate tracking, which makes it possible to predict conflicts and prevent them in time.
This publication is part of the Learning to be collection of the prestigious Desclée De Brouwer publishing house, which aims for values to be learned. The publishing house has been running for more than seventy years and specialises in pedagogy and psychology books, as well as other social disciplines, and therefore provides consumers with certain quality guarantees. This volume in particular is a work specifically aimed at nursery and primary school teachers, and secondary and higher education teachers. It is therefore considerably valuable for vocational training and university students who are learning about subjects related to the world of education, particularly if they intend to work as primary or high school teachers, pedagogues, psychopedagogues or social educators.
Furthermore, families of children and adolescents enrolled in any level of compulsory education may get useful ideas which help them to bring up their children. School management teams will also find this book interesting, as one of their aims is to provide a positive and widespread environment in which everyone gets along in the educational community of their school. In short, it may be said that this book is very practical and useful for all education professionals, with verified ideas and material which have proven to be effective in various learning environments.
Fran J. García-García ■